Be aware of the facts: Leonard Peltier is not Crazy Horse... he is not Nelson Mandela - but is he a murderer? The country he´s living is not the People´s Republic of China nor is it South Africa - it is the USA, the country of the goodhearted american people, men and women who had come from all parts of the world to find their freedom from oppression and persecution in order to live together in peace and mutual tollerance - and first of all it is the country of the native peoples of America... (or is Dee wrong, and everything has changed - or perhaps it never was true, it´s been only a dream, Dee´s dream... the dream of America...)
Modern Judge Dee is not very experienced with american law, but he is well experienced with sending criminals to jail for many years - and it is his every day´s task and duty to discriminate weather a defendant is a criminal or not, and if he has done wrong, what is the measure of his guilt and what is his danger toward society...
Since long Judge Dee is studying the history of native americans, the sad way of the Lakota people and so many others, forced into white ´civilized´ culture. Until now he is still hesitating to decide what were the reasons for all that misery coming upon them. Often it seems to have been evil will on the part of the white authorities. But so many times it also appeared having been mutual fear and misunderstanding...
Judge Dee is wondering, why Leonard Peltier was sent into jail - could it be that because he is an indian (pardon: a native american citizen). Maybe he really has killed those two men - anyway, but still being imprisoned after so many years seems to be based on the fact that he is an indian - a bad indian, not a good indian like so many others. Has Lieutenant Bull Head been a good or a bad indian, giving his life in his service - killing famous old Sitting Bull before dying himself from the winchester bullet of one of his Lakota brethren? Leonard Peltier infact doesn´t seem to be a good indian, an indian as good as e.g. former tribe president Richard Wilson, who was supported by the government and armed to garantee security and order within the reservation...
America is not former South Africa, the People´s Republic of China or Drittes Reich: Its people - the goodhearted people of America - is responsable for the policies of their own government, their agents... their judges and juries and the results of their judgments...
So - please - keep watching them and -
do not forget men like
...now after all these years* being urged to beg for something they call 'clemency'...
* This had been stated in 1997 - now the year 2007 is coming to its end with Leonard Peltier still imprisoned for more than 30 years !
Harvey Arden reads from Leonard Peltier's autobiography, describing the shoot-out
(This text taken from the original site has not been altered)
In the early 1970´s, and to this day, traditional Lakota Peoples have opposed leasing and selling Reservation lands for mining operations. The U.S. government backed and supported Tribal Government, headed by Richard Wilson, favored uranium mining and it´s short term benefits and vehemently responded to any one of an opposing view. It was quite clear that violence would be applied against any opposition. There were over 60 reported violent deaths to American Indian Movement (AIM) members and/or supporters between the years 1972 and 1975. AIM was summoned to the Pine Ridge Reservation for the protection of the traditional Lakota Peoples, the sacred ground and traditional lifeways, then all severely threatened. The FBI was supporting the tribal police with weapons and training. Leonard Peltier was among those who responded to the call for help. They came knowing that Richard Wilson´s police were backed with superior assault weapons, tactical support and FBI supplied intelligence regarding AIM and its´ supporters. The degree of fear and tension was near the boiling point on Pine Ridge at this time.
It was within this explosive atmosphere, that on June 26th, 1975, two young FBI agents (unknown to anyone at Pine Ridge), drove off the main highway in cars that no one could identify, and came directly into an AIM encampment known as Tent City on the Jumping Bull property on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. Their own 302 radio transmissions acknowledged that they thought they were in pursuit of Native American, Jimmy Eagle, who was suspected to have stolen a pair of used cowboy boots. With high tension present, a firefight ensued. The two agents and one Native were killed.
There has been no government investigation of the Native, Joe Stuntz Killsright´s death to this day. However, when FBI agents are killed, the government feels compelled to resolve their deaths, and it appears, at any cost.
The government chose 4 individuals out of over 20 participants to choose from, charged them with the murders, set out to apprehend them and take them to trial. Those named were Dino Butler, Bob Robideau, Jimmy Eagle and Leonard Peltier.
Robideau and Butler were apprehended, and with two in hand, the government decided to go to trial without Eagle or Peltier. The government was confident of gaining convictions having: two dead agents, two Indians with smoking guns, with 12 white jurors in a Cedar Rapids, Iowa courtroom.
Almost as quickly as the case was presented, acquittals were rendered by the jurors. Robideau and Butler were both found not guilty by reason of self defense. The jury saw it as an invasion by a hostile, armed paramilitary force on sovereign Pine Ridge Reservation land on which the FBI had no jurisdiction or business being on in the first place. The deaths were unfortunate but predictable in light of the tension that existed. This clearly was not murder in the mind of the jury.
The government then dropped the charges against Jimmy Eagle, and set about applying its´ full prosecutive weight towards Leonard Peltier. They were given the task to develop evidence that would lock Peltier into the case. Leonard had traveled to Canada just prior to the Robideau/Butler trial.
This complicated the process for the government as it now had to obtain extradition before Peltier could be brought to trial. U.S. officials then presented Canadian officials with falsified and coerced affidavits for extradition. U.S. prosecutors admitted that the documents were fabricated in1985, however they accomplished their goal at the time and Leonard was now back in the U.S. to stand trial. The trial site was changed at the last minute from Cedar Rapids (site of the acquittals), to Fargo, North Dakota.
The Judge was also changed at the last minute from Judge McManus (who presided over the acquittals), to Judge Benson, known for Indian convictions. Everything was now in place for a conviction. Evidence that was admissible in the Cedar Rapids trial was not admissible in the North Dakota court. The government even fabricated a murder weapon to gain a conviction. It was later proven and admitted that exculpatory evidence showing that the shell casings used by the government, did not match the weapon that was attributed to Leonard and to the deaths of the agents. None the less, Leonard was convicted on two counts of up close 1st degree murder, one each for the two agents. He was incarcerated in 1977.
Peter Matthiessen, In The Spirit Of Crazy Horse (NY; Viking, 1983)
Jim Messerschmidt, The Trial of Leonard Peltier (Boston; South End Press, 1983)
Incident at Oglala, a film producted by Robert Redford, 1992
Freedom, music video by _Rage Against The Machine_
The Leonard Peltier Defence Committee
P.O. Box 583
Lawrence, Kansas 66044
The Artist Leonard Peltier
Leonard Peltier is working in jail as an artist creating highly appreciated paintings with motives of his indian people: You can support him and his familiy by visiting the online gallery and - if you like - purchasing some of his pleasant artefacts.
Have a look at Leonard Peltier´s paintings in the gallery Get information about his art - and maybe more...
Several Interesting Indian Sitesto learn more about their languages, ancient & modern culture