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It was proven that Leonard was a scapegoat for FBI failures more than a convicted criminal.

Then came the Clinton administration and we in Indian Country were hopeful that a Democrat

in the White House would at last listen to reason and finally free Leonard Peltier.

 

 

Books by Leonard Peltier

Prison Writings: My Life Is My Sun Dance / Have You Thought Of Leonard Peltier Lately?

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Native Americans say NO to Hilary Clinton

By Carter Camp, Ponca Nation

 

During the Clinton administration I worked for the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee (LPDC) trying to get Leonard a pardon for his aiding and abetting conviction in the tragic deaths which occurred during an altercation between  the FBI and the AIM [American Indian Movement] on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in 1975. For many years before and during the Clinton administration millions of Americans, and even more millions of people from other countries, signed petitions demanding simple justice for Leonard.

Over fifty Senators and Congressmen and women signed on, President Nelson Mandela made a personal appeal on his behalf, Bishop Desmond Tutu did likewise. Every Indian Tribe and Native organization from Alaska to Argentina rose to his defense, Amnesty International called him Americas only political prisoner. Mass marches and rallies were held in cities across the U.S. and an intense lobbying effort was begun on his behalf. Despite all these efforts our pleadings fell on deaf ears and Leonard languished in prison, writing books and doing what all political prisoners do... wait until the truth frees them.

During the first Bush administration it was a hopeless task seeking any justice from the executive branch so we concentrated on legal proceedings and appeals. It became so clear that a miscarriage of justice had occurred that even an Federal Appeals Court Judge asked for clemency. Robert Redford made a documentary about him called Incident at Oglala and Peter Matthieson wrote a book called In the Spirit of Crazy Horse both of which proved Peltiers innocence and documented the prosecutions misdeeds in convicting him.

It was proven that Leonard was a scapegoat for FBI failures more than a convicted criminal. Then came the Clinton administration and we in Indian Country were hopeful that a Democrat in the White House would at last listen to reason and finally free Leonard Peltier. So for eight years we patiently presented our evidence and over ten million signatures from around the world. We were  wrong, President Clinton left office without signing his pardon and Leonard was left to spend another decade unjustly confined to a jail cell. He has now been there for over thirty years, long past the parole date for the crime he was convicted of aiding and abetting.

However it isn't only that Clinton refused to pardon Peltier it was the way it was done that has angered Indian Country. After an immense and intense lobbying effort by Native American people and our organizations the Clintons led us to believe that a pardon would be forthcoming at the end of their administration. I spent the final days of the Clinton administration helping the LPDC so I know first hand that contacts within the administration made reassuring backchannel statements to the LPDC and I also  know that those statements came from the Office of the First Lady, Hillary Clinton.

Any release of the specific White House people involved would have to come from the LPDC but we were led to believe what we did by Hillary Clinton's office and we all assumed, because of who those contacts were, with her direct knowledge. They deliberately lied to keep us quiet as long as needed and Indian Country has a long memory.

At first we were at a loss to explain what had happened but then the far right, anti-Indian Ex-Governor of South Dakota, Bill Janklow, began bragging about how he and his rightwing allies had stopped Clinton from issuing a pardon.

He said he had a "personal meeting" with Clinton in which he "convinced" the President not to pardon Peltier or else face dire consequences from "law enforcement" and their allies. Of course as soon as Gore was cheated out of  the election, Hillary Clinton began claiming her right to the nomination and the reason why Peltier was denied a pardon became very clear . . . the Clinton machine was afraid a pardon, no matter how deserved, would impede their march back to power! Plain and simply they were intimidated by the far right and cowardly gave in to their threats.

Bill Clinton came to some Indian reservations when he was President and that has left some lingering good will for him among some Indian people. But he, like every politician before him, flat out lied when he promised to do something about the conditions on our homelands. Our people still suffer the highest poverty numbers in the nation. On Pine Ridge where Clinton visited the unemployed are over 75% of the population!! Where else on earth are 75% of the people without work, much less in America? Bill Clinton came to South Dakota and exploited the horrible poverty of our people for his own  political gain.

Then he left to forget what he saw and disrespect us on Leonard Peltier's pardon. Our poor people deserve better than another Clinton presidency and we must remember that electing another Clinton means that our brother will continue to remain unjustly imprisoned. Here in the west, in states where our votes count, we must reject Hillary Clinton and send her back to D.C. where lies are normal. Native America and all of Indian Country must say NO! to Hillary Clinton.

Feel free to help by circulating this letter and visiting the LPDC webite; LeonardPeltier.net we have until June 3rd to organize against the Clinton re-election.

Letter about Peltier from Harvey Wasserman, “Bringing Leonard Peltier to Iowa and New Hampshire December 30, 2007, Freepress.

The campaign to free Leonard Peltier 

posted 11 May 2008 

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AALBC.com's 25 Best Selling Books


 

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#19 - John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard

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Life on Mars

By Tracy K. Smith

Tracy K. Smith, author of Life on Mars has been selected as the winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. In its review of the book, Publishers Weekly noted the collection's "lyric brilliance" and "political impulses [that] never falter." A New York Times review stated, "Smith is quick to suggest that the important thing is not to discover whether or not we're alone in the universe; it's to accept—or at least endure—the universe's mystery. . . . Religion, science, art: we turn to them for answers, but the questions persist, especially in times of grief. Smith's pairing of the philosophically minded poems in the book’s first section with the long elegy for her father in the second is brilliant." Life on Mars follows Smith's 2007 collection, Duende, which won the James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets, the only award for poetry in the United States given to support a poet's second book, and the first Essence Literary Award for poetry, which recognizes the literary achievements of African Americans. The Body’s Question (2003) was her first published collection. Smith said Life on Mars, published by small Minnesota press Graywolf, was inspired in part by her father, who was an engineer on the Hubble space telescope and died in 2008.

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The Last Holiday: A Memoir

By Gil Scott Heron

Shortly after we republished The Vulture and The Nigger Factory, Gil started to tell me about The Last Holiday, an account he was writing of a multi-city tour that he ended up doing with Stevie Wonder in late 1980 and early 1981. Originally Bob Marley was meant to be playing the tour that Stevie Wonder had conceived as a way of trying to force legislation to make Martin Luther King's birthday a national holiday. At the time, Marley was dying of cancer, so Gil was asked to do the first six dates. He ended up doing all 41. And Dr King's birthday ended up becoming a national holiday ("The Last Holiday because America can't afford to have another national holiday"), but Gil always felt that Stevie never got the recognition he deserved and that his story needed to be told. The first chapters of this book were given to me in New York when Gil was living in the Chelsea Hotel. Among the pages was a chapter called Deadline that recounts the night they played Oakland, California, 8 December; it was also the night that John Lennon was murdered. Gil uses Lennon's violent end as a brilliant parallel to Dr King's assassination and as a biting commentary on the constraints that sometimes lead to newspapers getting things wrong. —Jamie Byng, Guardian / Gil_reads_"Deadline" (audio)  / Gil Scott-Heron & His Music  Gil Scott Heron Blue Collar  Remember Gil Scott- Heron

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery / George Jackson  / Hurricane Carter

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

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update 21 April 2012

 

 

 

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