Leonard Peltier: ‘Everyone is Feeling Colonized’
Once again, the organizers of the National Day of Mourning dedicated the day to Native political prisoner Leonard Peltier. Peltier was framed up by the FBI and has been wrongfully imprisoned since 1976.
Tiokasin Ghosthorse spoke and read an update from the Leonard Peltier Defense Offense Committee:
In September, as you know, Leonard was transferred to USP Coleman in central Florida. His conditions initially appeared to be an improvement over the penitentiary in Lewisburg, but now it seems his living conditions may indeed be much worse. For example, Leonard still isn’t being allowed visitors. Family members have to reapply to be put on Leonard’s visitors list. Even the attorneys, for the first time, have to be put on his visitors list. The attorneys have another level of approval to navigate, as well, but are finding it difficult to contact prison officials to make all the necessary arrangements. It took one attorney over one month to gain access to his client. Leonard is being isolated as never before.
In addition, Leonard isn’t being allowed to monitor his blood sugar even though he has diabetes. He has told us the chaplain won’t allow supplies needed for Native ceremonies to enter the prison. Leonard also isn’t being allowed to paint.
Leonard should be placed in a unit with other older prisoners, but 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.
Leonard currently doesn’t have access to a phone or e-mail. He has to pay for those services, but he doesn’t have access to his commissary account (a disciplinary measure taken by USP Lewisburg that has carried over to Coleman).
Message from Leonard Peltier
The crowd of several hundred listened quietly as elder Bert Waters read a message from Leonard Peltier to those attending NDOM:
Greetings to all my friends,
relations and supporters.
Well, it’s that time of year again, the time when America celebrates its fantasy about Indians and pilgrims. This is truly a day of mourning. So many paid so dear a price so that the People may live.
As an Indian man, this national “day of giving thanks” leaves so much to be desired. Like many of you, I think a seasonal recounting of the truth is in order. Perhaps we can call these truths the seven deadly Indian sins.
Fact — The first documented Thanksgiving was the celebration of an Indian massacre. Ask any Pequot.
Fact — Even the feast that is celebrated was followed by genocide, with those Indian participants and their descendants being virtually wiped out within a generation. Ask any Wampanoag.
Fact — Ninety-eight percent of American Indians, perhaps 150 million of our relations, were killed by the onset of reservation times. This is the largest holocaust in the history of the world.
Fact — Once on the reservation, our children were stolen and sent to boarding schools or adopted out. Many of them were abused. Some were never heard from again.
Fact — Reservation-bound Indian women were commonly sterilized without their knowledge or consent.
Fact — The life span for American Indians continues to be much shorter than for other Americans.
Fact — We continue to live with substandard housing, education and health care.
For this, we’re supposed to celebrate? I don’t think so.
If Indians can be so marginalized, it can happen to anyone. We’ve said this for generations. Now, it seems most everyone is feeling colonized.
In a time when corporate greed is so evident and 99 percent are falling behind, and in the Indian tradition of sacrifice, I ask all of you to observe a day of “(Un)thanksgiving.” Fast. Donate your meal to a person in need instead. In this America, there are forgotten people everywhere who could use a good, hot meal. Helping others in need is the noblest practice of a truly thankful nation.
If the occupiers of America’s cities could do this, instead of participating in the overindulgence so common to the 1 percent, how much good might be done?
Fasting and praying is a powerful way for all of us to become centered, too.
I remain an Indigenous political prisoner. My sacrifice is for my People. If between the football games and turkey and dressing, you can remember me and those like me, I will be thankful as well.
May Wakan Tanka bless and keep you. Mitakuye Oyasin
(all my relations).
In the Spirit of Crazy Horse,
Posted on December 2, 2011, in Imperialism & Colonialism, Indigenous Struggles, Prisons & Prisoner Struggles and tagged Leonard Peltier, Thankstaking. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Leonard Peltier: ‘Everyone is Feeling Colonized’.