leonard peltier

Free Leonard Peltier

Leonard Peltier is a Lakhota warrior who was falsely charged and imprisoned for the killing of two FBI agents on the Pine Ridge Reservation in 1975.  Many have charged that the FBI was complicit  in the reign of terror that followed the American Indian Movement’s occupation of Wounded Knee in 1973 that resulted in the murders of some 60 traditional Lakhota and AIM activists during that time.  Those murders, perpetrated by the Goon Squads led former tribal chairman Dickie Wilson and paid for with Federal money that should have been used to aid the desperately poor traditional Lakhota on Pine Ridge, have never been investigated.  Last year, NPR reported that the case has been re-opened http://www.npr.org/2012/08/18/159058219/near-wounded-knee-years-of-alleged-injustice which may lead to the indictment and prosecution of those responsible for the violence against AIM and its traditionalist supporters.

Leonard Peltier has been named as a political prisoner by Amnesty International.  You can read the entire compelling story in Peter Matthiesen’s compelling “In the Spirit of Crazy Horse,” reviewed by Harvard law professor and noted civil libertarian Alan Dershowitz, here: http://www.nytimes.com/books/97/11/23/home/matthiessen-crazyhorse.html.  There is also a documentary about these events, “Incident at Oglala,” directed by Michael Apted and produced and narrated by Robert Redford.  You can watch the entire movie for free on YouTube here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4izazh10qbs.

It is long past time to free Leonard Peltier and lock up the real criminals.

Hoka Hey!

[The original illustration is by Shepherd Fairey and is copyrighted to Obey Giant, Inc. I claim a fair use exemption under the Copyright Act.]


Leonard Peltier on the passing of Nelson Mandela: Apartheid still exists in America
December 7, 2013

Leonard Peltier, Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians, who has been imprisoned for the past 37 years, issued statement on the passing of former South Africa President Nelson Mandela.

Peltier is serving a life sentence in the U.S. Penitentiary in Coleman, Florida. He was accused of the 1975 murders of two FBI agents on the Pine Ridge Reservation. He was convicted in 1977.

Many people consider Leonard Peltier a political prisoner of war, as was Mr. Mandela, who was imprisoned for 27 years.

Here is Peltier’s statement released shortly after Mr. Mandela’s death was announced:

Greeting my relatives, friends, and supporters:

It saddens me to hear that a great man like Nelson Mandela has departed from this lifetime. He was a man who was truly inspirational and showed us the possibilities of how a continued struggle by indigenous people could manifest itself in levels of freedom that have been marred by centuries of oppression. 

Our Native people suffered the same types of oppression many times. It is not as overt and as easily distinguished as in some places; however, if you are dead because a policeman shot you, or dead because you could not stand the racial and cultural genocide, so you committed suicide– you are just as dead either away.

Nelson Mandela is known for leading the struggle against apartheid in South Africa. America talked about ending apartheid and put sanctions on South Africa. Not being all that adept at the English language, it is my understanding that (apartheid) means to keep someone apart from something; my people have been kept apart purposely from the sacred Black Hills of South Dakota. There was, and still are, measures that keep us apart from our true history, perpetrated by an education system that limits the truth of our being.

Right now in Canada Native people are struggling to protect their aboriginal lands from fracking which destroys the water tables and disturbs the natural balance of the Earth. Right now with an apartheid mentality, they seek to build pipelines across Native lands that have the potential of great ecological destruction. Right now there is an apartheid that seeks to separate us from the protection of the constitution of the United States which says treaty law is the supreme law of the land; which also says you have a right to an unbiased fair trial; which also says you have a right to a jury of your peers. Right now our young Native people are tried as adults THREE times more than other groups and kept apartheid from their families and kept apartheid from competent legal representation. 

I could go on and on, but you can see where I am heading with this. The struggle from apartheid, I am sure, is not over in South Africa, nor is the struggle against apartheid and slavery over in America.

We have lost a lot of our people in their last years, and again I remember my brother Russell Means who was also tireless in his efforts in trying to bring about an end to this American version of apartheid that faces Native people. We must all consider Nelson Mandela an inspiration, but I am also inspired by the least of our people who stand up for what is right, like the young man or young woman who peacefully mans a roadblock against developers or fracking companies or some factory that hurts our air. While I am at it, in all this chaos, I also want to remember a brother by the name of Wanbli Tate who tirelessly championed the rights of indigenous people through radio programs, writings, and the internet, to bring attention to the wrongdoers represented in government and corporations. 

In the spirit of all those who have gone before us in this struggle, I would like to say stay strong and NEVER, NEVER give up. 

Your friend always,

In the spirit of Crazy Horse,

Leonard Peltier
Mitakuye Oyasin 


“I don’t know how to save the world. I don’t have the answers or The Answer. I hold no secret knowledge as to how to fix the mistakes of generations past and present. I only know that without compassion and respect for all of Earth’s inhabitants, none of us will survive—nor will we deserve to.” - Leonard Peltier, American Indian Movement political prisoner, Prison Writings: My Life is My Sun Dance


(via https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gpPjEO19AwI)

In Solidarity with the Apache Stronghold: Save Oak Flat by Leonard Peltier

 Greetings my friends and relatives,

Most history classes will teach that the United States’ policy of Indian Termination was officially abandoned in the late 1960’s.  Native peoples know all too well that many of the policies and goals of “termination” persist to this day. The beliefs that Indigenous people should abandon our traditional lives and culture, surrender even more of our ancestral homelands, and become “civilized,” assimilated people are enacted through the continued desecration of our sacred sites, the use of our image as mascots, and in the environmental racism that has devastating effects on Native lives.

One of the few things I am able to do in this prison is follow the news from the outside. It is good to see the Apache Stronghold Caravan to stop the desecration of Oak Flat, and supporters, organized and successful at getting the attention of the American media and the US government. Your spirit and strength helps lift my own spirit and gives me hope. The Apache people should know they are not alone in this struggle for survival, and the organization that works on my behalf offers you our support and solidarity.

Native people see all around us the continued disregard of our sovereignty, and of our human rights and treaty rights — at Oak Flat; the desecration of the sacred San Francisco peaks; for sport; in the continued occupation of the Black Hills; in the taking and poisoning of Mother Earth by extractive mining for uranium, coal and other minerals; and in the practices of fracking and drilling for oil and natural gas – all of which leave long legacies of poisoned water and air that sickens and kills our people.

If all nations would begin to respect and follow the principles and guidelines defined in the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the tide could be turned from the direction of termination of tribes towards the survival and flourishing of all our relatives, our languages, our spirituality and also towards the healing of Mother Earth.

Mitakuye Oyasin.

In the Spirit of Crazy Horse,

Leonard Peltier


The FBI will fabricate and suppress evidence in order to tie [radical political] leaders up in the courts and in prison. The FBI also encourages agents to lie; one FBI memo stated that “it is immaterial whether facts exist to substantiate the charge. If facts are present, it aids in the success of the proposal [to "neutralize individuals” through the courts]… but disruption [of legitimate political organizations] can be accomplished without facts to back it up.
—  Jim Messerschmidt | The Trial of Leonard Peltier (1999)
Mr. President: Honor Nelson Mandela’s Wishes and Free Leonard Peltier

By Ruth Hopkins

Leonard Peltier, now an elder, has already spent nearly 40 years behind bars. His next parole hearing is set for July 2024, over a decade from today. Without parole or Presidential clemency, Peltier won’t be released until 2040. He maintains his innocence.

Madiba is Nelson Mandela’s clan name, so taken from an 18th century Thembu chief. Mandela understood the complex Indigenous and colonial dynamics at play in the Peltier case. He knew that Leonard should be freed, and said so.

President Obama, photo ops and handshaking at the White House Tribal Nations Conference is a nice gesture of solidarity, but for true healing and reconciliation to begin, we must acknowledge our painful history and set about fixing those injustices.

Like Malcolm X said, “You don’t stick a knife in a man’s back nine inches and then pull it out six inches and say you’re making progress…”

Honor Nelson Mandela’s legacy by doing what your Presidential predecessors failed to do and free Native activist Leonard Peltier. Please, let our Mandela come home.

Remember Mr. Peltier during the holiday season.


P.O. BOX 1033

Mr. Peltier should be placed in a unit with other older prisoners, but USP Coleman has Leonard listed as being 57 years of age when, in fact, he is 67 years old. All of Leonard’s prison records over these many years clearly indicate his correct date of birth. Write to the warden at USP Coleman to demand that he correct this “clerical error”.

Warden Jorge L. Pastrana
United States Penitentiary-1
PO Bo 1023
Coleman, FL 33521

Overall, the conditions at USP Coleman are inhumane. The prisoners recently remained in lockdown for over 30 days. Peltier supporters, please write to demand that Leonard be moved to the medium security facility in Oxford, Wisconsin, in deference to his age, health, and current inability to maintain ties with family members and members of his Nation, the Turtle Moutain Band of Chippewa Indians.


Dr. Thomas Kane, Acting Director
Federal Bureau of Prisons
320 1st Street, NW
Washington, DC 20534
E-Mail: info@bop.gov
Phone: (202) 307-3250 (Director); (202) 307-3198 (Switchboard)
Fax: (202) 514-6620


10 December 2011 issue of the Leonard Peltier Defense Offense Committee newsletter (link)

this issue also includes details on the December 2 White House Tribal Conference and the upcoming Leonard Peltier Walk for Human Rights, which “will begin on Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay on the morning of December 18, 2011.”

EDIT: some online free faxing places: