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Leonard Peltier – The Spirit Lives On

How old were you 37 years ago? If you were alive, think about what you’ve done and where you’ve been in that time. Now think about how it would have been if those 37 years had been lived in prison; within the walls of a cell, or a dining hall, association room, the corridors between each, a walled and razor wired yard. Each day, all week, and the next and the next and the next…

indian-defence-portrait-1Leonard Peltier, 68, has spent more than half his life behind bars. Throughout those years his supporters have included Mother Teresa, the Dalai Lama,  and Bishop Desmond Tutu. In 2011, an international human rights award was given to him by the human rights organisation The Mario Benedetti Foundation.

“Leonard Peltier has spent more than half his life in prison. He is a symbol of resistance to repressive state policies by the United States, where there are people in jail for ethnic, racial, ideological and religious reasons,” a foundation statement said.

I’ve tried to put myself in Leonard Peltier’s shoes, knowing that no matter how intense the feelings produced, they’re nothing to what Leonard must have felt/still does feel. Peltier is the Native American activist and former member of the American Indian Movement who was convicted of aiding in the killing of two FBI agents during a shootout on South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in 1975. The incident occurred two years after the American Indian Movement occupied the village of Wounded Knee for 71 days. During that time, some 64 local Native Americans were murdered; most of them had ties to AIM. Their deaths went uninvestigated by the FBI. Leonard Peltier has long maintained his innocence. Amnesty International considers him a political prisoner who was not granted a fair trial.

The full story can be found at the Leoanard Peltier Defense Offense Committee website (link below).

In December 2012 a host of well-known media personalities, including Michael Moore who read out a heartfelt poem to President Obama, hosted a ‘Bring Leonard Peltier Home’ event to raise awareness about the case and the plea for executive clemency.

I will never give up dreaming of his release, but the reasons why Peltier has never been granted a fair trial are obvious when one knows the full story. Back then was an era of innocent American citizens being murdered by the State, with criminal and anti-constitutional behaviour practised as standard by the FBI COunter INTELligence PROgram (COINTELPRO) when dealing with the revolutionary groups and individuals active at the time.

Again, imagine yourself in prison. How do you think getting an unexpected letter from someone you don’t know would feel? The politicians that people petition can easily ignore their voice. Those voices, delivered to the address below, can reach in and lift a man momentarily out of the darkness.

Let him know you know he’s there, write to him, write him a poem even (he’ll appreciate it more than the President).

The injustice continues…but the spirit lives on!

(Respect to Skrillex and crew for the reminder)

No messing around, get clued up on the case and then ask yourself, are you or are you not going to write to him? If the answer’s yes, do it.

P.O. BOX 1033

(Check here for  information about what Leonard is allowed to receive by mail)

Leoanard Peltier Defense Offense Committee.

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