Clinton and Peltier

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Sun Jan 21 08:06:17 MST 2001

Star Tribune (Minneapolis, MN), July 9, 1998, Metro Edition

'Tough stuff'; Clinton winds up yearlong dialogue on race relations

The format was more controlled, the talk more sober. But as President
Clinton conducted the third and final forum of his yearlong dialogue on
race Wednesday, he found that the end was much like the beginning - plenty
of consensus about the challenges facing a multi-ethnic America of the 21st
century, but few solutions.

"This," Clinton said, "is tough stuff."

The panel urged Clinton to use his high office to remind Americans that
integration is still an admirable goal. Clinton called for "a vocabulary
that embraces America's future" while acknowledging the nation's past
errors on race - starting with the first ones against American Indians.

"We need to know when we are making distinctions," Clinton said. "And then
we need to 'fess up to the fact that at least, when it comes to Native
Americans, that if we don't do something fairly dramatic, the future is
going to be like the past for too many people."

Included on the panel was Sherman Alexie, an American Indian poet and
author who compared the plight of indigent Indians with Third World
conditions. "I didn't have running water until I was seven years old," he
said. "I still remember when the toilet came. There are no models of
success in any field for Indians. . . . An Indian has not sat on this kind
of panel before."

Clinton told him that his grandmother was one-quarter Cherokee and agreed
that the "paternalistic" U.S. policy toward Indians was "pathetic and

But Alexie referred to Clinton's self-identification later in the hour,
when discussing how people "are always talking about race," though in
"coded language."

"Nobody talks about Indians. What they will do is come up to me and tell me
they're Cherokee," he said provoking laughter from Clinton.



American Indian activist denied pardon

MARK WIEBE; The Kansas City Star

The court system has rejected his appeals for a new trial. The  U.S. Parole
Commission has rejected his requests for freedom.

Now American Indian activist Leonard Peltier - serving two life  sentences
at Leavenworth for the 1975 killings of two FBI agents -  can add President
Clinton to that list.

On Saturday, in the last two hours of Clinton's presidency,  Peltier
learned that he would not get the clemency he had sought. His  name was not
on the list of 140 Americans who received executive  pardons or
commutations. . .

Louis Proyect
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