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.