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Free Leonard Peltier | By lilz | January 11, 2020 - 20:45 | Posted in Art | No Comments

Leonard Peltier (of the Anishinabe, Dakota, and Lakota Nations) traces the roots of his political activism to the rank racism and brutal poverty he experienced every day as an Indian child growing up on the Turtle Mountain Chippewa and Fort Totten Sioux reservations in North Dakota. Peltier lived his life for the People, doing what he could to help. He protested for fishing rights in the Northwest, for example. But his first real experience with confronting the might of the U.S. government was the 1970 peaceful takeover of abandoned Fort Lawton, outside Seattle, Washington, which was on “surplus” federal land to which the Indians had first right under the law.

Faced with government machine guns and flamethrowers, the protestors were taken into custody. Peltier and the other Natives were beaten by the police at the time of arrest and beaten again when taken to their cells. When finally released, Peltier refused to leave the Army stockade until all the other protestors had been freed.

Ultimately, the Indian’s challenge was successful. Today, Fort Lawton is an Indian cultural center. After Fort Lawton, Peltier traveled the country where, in Colorado, he joined the American Indian Movement (AIM). “AIM was born out of [the] turmoil [of “termination”]… The attempt to destroy us had only made us stronger, more aware, more dedicated. Every single one of us was willing to lay down our life for our cause, which was the very survival of Indian peoples…The growth of the Indian movement and the history of AIM are intertwined with my personal history… We found our inspiration and our strategy in the example and message of AIM leaders such as Dennis Banks, John Trudell, Russell Means, Eddie Benton-Banai, and Clyde and Vernon Bellecourt—all imperfect men, no doubt, yet men whose vision and bravery and fiery, even incendiary, words gave voice to a whole generation of Indian activists, myself included.”

After the Trail of Broken Treaties, AIM was classified “an extremist organization” by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and on January 8, 1973, the leaders on the Trail were added to the FBI’s list of “key extremists.” From that point, the focus of the FBI’s secret COINTELPRO was turned to AIM, and an organized “neutralizing” of AIM leaders was begun. On January 11, the White House in effect rejected the Trail of Broken Treaties grievances.

A few weeks after his return from Washington, DC, in November 1972, Peltier was falsely accused of the attempted murder of a Milwaukee, Wisconsin police officer. Leonard’s claim that he had been set up by the police was eventually supported by several witnesses, including the police officer’s girl friend who said the officer had waved around one of Peltier’s pictures, sent to the local police from FBI headquarters, announcing his intention of “catching a big one for the FBI.” More About Leonard and how you can help…

WARRIOR: The Life of Leonard Peltier
Runtime: 1 hour, 25 minutes

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Whoever you are, we are ungovernable! Whoever lays his hand on us to govern us, is a usurper and tyrant, and we declare you our enemy.