*From current issue of Spirit of Crazy Horse, the official newsletter of the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee. To help support the LPDC, and keep current on news, subscriptions are $12.00; $7.00 for seniors; $5.00 for prisoners; $22.00 internationally. It is published 6 times a year. Send your request and a check or money order to: LPDC; P.O. Box 583; Lawrence, Kansas; 66044. There is always a letter/statement from Leonard on the front page. Thanks! -FHR-
*Statement of Leonard Peltier:
Greetings my friends and supporters: Over 500 years have passed since the first Europeans landed on the shores of this continent, and let the beating, torturing, and killing of Native peoples continue. On Thanksgiving day 1997, we saw how Native men, women and children were beaten by the police in the U.S. state of Massachusetts. While attending a mass in a Catholic Church on December 22, 1997 in the Mexican state of Chiapas, 45 Native people were massacred, while dozens more were seriously injured. Innocent men women and children were murdered, one just a baby of 9 months.
As I sit here in my prison cell, I wonder just what crimes a 9 month old infant could have committed to justify execution in cold blood. It is a known fact that many crimes against humanity have been directly connected to the Mexican government. I am certain you remember a couple of years ago when the Mexican government's economy fell. The U.S. government poured billions of tax-payers dollars to bail them out. Well, it has long since been revealed the great majority of these billions went into Mexico's military to purchase new arms, create intelligence services, intensify paramilitary training and of course, "death squads." All of these crimes of torture, beatings and murder are being committed under the umbrella of democracy, "American Style Democracy." Under the new world order this is the way to rule the world in the next century.
Stop for a moment and think. Can you just see what this means to all the world's indigenous people? Recently Senator Daniel Inouye made a statement before a Native American audience during which he stated, "If you Indians do not unite and prepare yourselves for what is coming, you are going to lose everything you now have and what little gains you have made in the last 20-30 years." There are some powerful politicians in Washington, D.C., who are right now planning and strategizing to take everything away, including reservations, gaming, hunting & fishing rights and what little sovereignty we might believe we control. This means a whole race of people, tribal governments and sovereign nations, will no longer exist. All will be gone for ever, terminated, extinct. The vanishing American Indian will become a reality. And it will not stop here in America. Foreign governments will see it as a green light for them to do the same with their indigenous peoples; if anyone protests this genocide they can rightfully claim they were only dealing with their indigenous peoples as did American democracy.
I do not know if I have any answers on how to combat this terrible predicament. Hell, I have never claimed to be a great scholar having answers on how to fix everything. All I know is what a Warrior is supposed to know, and as my age advances there are going to be fewer and fewer battles in which I can participate. However, I do know I will never give up and abandon my people's struggle for freedom and justice. We can do as the Senator said, unite and walk forward in solidarity. Unite with all races of people. Uniting with one another is not a crime. The government cannot make us criminals.
On a more personal note, we at the LPDC and LPFC network have made some good progress in my struggle for freedom. I am hoping Senate oversight hearings will be held on my case this year. Senators have said verbally that there is a chance hearings will be held in 1998, but no date has been set. Keep your letters, faxes and phone calls going to them. As you know, there has been a great tendency toward forgetfulness at promises. There is also interest in filming a movie based on my life story. This will hopefully bring a lot of new awareness to my case. My visions of a school to treat abused children is also becoming more and more a reality as Shannon Collins works hard on making this all happen. A book of my personal writings over the years of my imprisonment is a possibility. All of this is sounding and looking very favourable.
We are still looking for good experienced organizers to come and work at the LPDC. We have some commitments from a few good candidates. And of course, funds are always needed to keep the Committee going. I hope we can get some pledges from several thousand people of just a few dollars a month this year.
Let's continue working in the direction that we're going. I can't receive any justice in the courts, so the only thing we have to deal with is the political; we can only go back into the political arena. We can win by building a powerful block of the people who are willing to organize for the rights of indigenous people. We must demand that the government quit obstructing justice and start obeying their own laws. There are still current Indian issues that haven't been resolved. Just because of a few casinos exist, most Indians are still poor. (note: I know what he means, as I'm sure you do...perhaps there was a typo in the original printing of that last sentence, because this is exactly what it says.) This struggle continues, and the people need to become more active.
(notation mine -- Freedom Heart Rising)
March 31, 1998
Leonard's next parole hearing will be May 4th. We are encouraging people to write letters to the US Parole Commission. The letters should stress the importance of Leonard being with his family and the Native American community who he has continued to reach out to despite his years of incarceration.
It looks unlikely that the Senate will schedule the Pine Ridge Hearings as they have decided to give themselves a short session which ends in May.
Meanwhile the "Justice" Department is busy investigating the charges against themselves. They are also bringing in the reservation Criminal Investigators who are instructed to answer Robert Ecoffey who was directly involved with the "Justice" Department and the Pine Ridge shoot-out in the 1970s. Being that the "Justice" Department provides the funding for Reservation Law Enforcement, they obviously control the program.
Letters regarding parole can be sent to:
5550 Friendship Blvd.
Chevy Chase, MD 20815
Fax (301) 492-6694
Note: Letters must state at the top -
Letters regarding senate hearings should be sent to:
SD-224 1st and C Streets, NE
Washington DC 20510
US Senator Benn Nighthorse Campbell
Chairman Select Cmtee on Indian Affairs
SH-838 1st and C Streets, NE
Washington DC 20510