American Indian activist and political prisoner Leonard Peltier has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for the sixth consecutive year. Peltier has been an inmate in the United States federal prison system since 1976, so the fact that he has earned the distinction of a Nobel nomination every year since 2004 is especially remarkable.
Peltier’s unlawful conviction in the deaths of two FBI agents in South Dakota has long been internationally
Lynn Crooks, Assistant Special Prosecutor in Peltier’s trial, admitted to a federal judge that “the government does not know who killed its agents, nor do we know what participation Leonard Peltier may have had in it.”
And yet, Leonard Peltier has remained a prisoner for more than 33 years. Fifty five United States Senators and Congressional Representatives
Amnesty International has repeatedly called for Peltier’s immediate release from prison, governments from all over the world have passed resolutions insisting that Peltier be released, and a large contingent of distinguished human rights advocates have been very outspoken in their strong support for Peltier - including six people who have already received the Nobel Peace Prize: Nelson Mandela (1993); Rigoberta Menchú Tum (1992); Mikhail Gorbachev (1990); the 14th Dalai Lama (1989); Archbishop Desmond Tutu (1984); and Mother Teresa (1979).
Peltier is, of course, not financially wealthy - but he is an accomplished painter. Often expending his meager prison commissary account funds on art supplies such as paints, brushes, and canvas, he produces works of art which are subsequently donated and auctioned. Peltier has also worked to establish assistance programs for many underprivileged
It is difficult to determine precisely the sum total of donations and contributions that Peltier has helped to facilitate, Peltier refuses to boast about his humanitarian work and many of his projects have not been made public. It is estimated, however, that the total contributions resulting from Peltier’s work during his 33 year imprisonment extend into the millions of dollars.
Peltier’s long record of human rights advocacy involves more than raising money. He has written a great deal while in prison, consistently taking advantage of every opportunity to encourage people not to harbor resentments, to take care of the environment, and to treat each other with love and respect. It is no small irony that a person treated in such an inhumane way should so strongly advocate the humane treatment of others, that a person so financially impoverished should help raise such extraordinary amounts of money for others, that a person with such just cause for bitterness and resentment should encourage forgiveness, and that a person imprisoned should be one of America’s strongest advocates for freedom. Peltier’s 1999 book Prison Writings: My Life is My Sundance (Saint Martin’s Press) continues to be a best seller on many lists.
It is fitting that Leonard Peltier’s own words (from his book) should conclude this official press release: “We are in this together - the rich, the poor, the red, the white, the black, the brown, and the yellow. We are all one family of humankind. We share responsibility for our Mother Earth and for all those who live and breathe upon her. I believe our work will be unfinished until not one human being is hungry or battered, not a single person is forced to die in war, not one innocent languishes imprisoned, and no one is persecuted for his or her beliefs. I believe in the good in humankind. I believe that the good can prevail, but only with great effort. And that effort is ours, each of ours, yours and mine…. Never cease in the fight for peace, justice, and equality for all people. Be persistent in all that you do and don’t allow anyone to sway you from your conscience. ”
Please join the LP-DOC is congratulating Leonard on this monumental achievement!
For more information about Leonard Peltier’s case, about his humanitarian work, or about his works of art, please contact his defense committee at this address:
Leonard Peltier Defense Offense Committee, P.O. Box 7488 Fargo, North Dakota 58106 http:
Live your values. Love your country.
And, remember: TOGETHER, We can make a DIFFERENCE!