|January 23, 2004|
Hau Kola, Hello my friends, my relatives:
You can never imagine the heartfelt comfort it brings to know you're not forgotten in prison. This is my 28th year, and I've seen others come and go and return again. I can't help but feel a great sorrow for many of these young men who keep coming back for one reason or another; most of which are alcohol related offenses. So much has changed since I came here and yet, in many ways, it's still the same.
The government, under the pretext of security and progress, liberated us from our land, resources, culture, dignity and future. They violated every treaty they ever made with us. I use the word "liberated" loosely and sarcastically, in the same vein that I view their use of the words "collateral damage" when they kill innocent men, women, and children.
They describe people defending their homeland as terrorists, savages and hostiles, and accuse us of being aggressors. We have never fought a battle or war that was not on our own land; we never fired the first shot ... ever. My words reach out to the non-Indian: Look now before it's far too late - see what is being done to others in your name and see what destruction you sanction when you say nothing. Your own treaty, the one between yourselves and the government, is being violated daily; this treaty is commonly known as the Constitution.
With us, they started a little at a time, encroaching on our rights until we had none at all. It will be the same for the Constitution; this is not conjecture, but fact. We are not embattled with the color of man, but with the weakness of man, a mindset that lusts for power and wealth at the expense of life.
Men of all colors, cultures and religions must stand together to oppose the genocidal policies that face us all as the corporate world seeks to enslave all, and pit one nation against another.
If you avoid breaking laws and do what you're told and ignore the poor, the oppressed and the downtrodden - you probably won't be bothered. If you try to right what is wrong, however, you will surely meet great opposition and run the risk of imprisonment or death.
I am a Sun Dancer. I took a vow for my people. I chose to seek the Creator's will and to follow it to the best of my ability. I WILL NOT STAND DOWN FROM THAT VOW. I will continue to speak, write and organize until Grandfather himself quiets my life. If I can do this in prison, I have no doubt you can do much better from where you stand.
I encourage you to do your best, be kind to one another, seek harmony and balance with all natural life, enjoy what freedom you have left, and most of all, never, never give up.
|In the Spirit of
Leonard Peltier Mitakuye Oyasin
Leonard Peltier Defense Committee
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