OCTOBER 12

Brothers, Sisters, Friends, and Supporters,

Today marks 509 years since Columbus arrived on the shores of Turtle Island, where he first staked claim to the cherished lands of our ancestors. Although Columbus is long dead, the legacy of injustice that he began continues. Whether it be relocation of the Dine at Big Mountain, the persecution of Indigenous Peoples throughout Latin America, the fishing struggles in Canada, or the dumping of toxic waste on reservations, the dehumanization of Indigenous Peoples remains pervasive throughout the Americas. As we see in the spirits of the grandmothers of Big Mountain, the Mi'Kmaqs of Burnt Church, or the Zapatistas of Chiapas, Indigenous resistance also remains alive. It is in this spirit of resistance that I am inspired to continue fighting for my own freedom after 25 years of unjust imprisonment.

I want to thank you all for your concern and continued support. I know that these are very difficult and unpredictable times for us all. Although the LPDC has expressed condolences and sympathy on my behalf, I would like a chance to personally say how sorry I am to any of you who lost loved ones on September 11. Please know that I have been praying for you and for peace ever since.

Despite the difficult times we are faced with, and despite this year's clemency defeat, I am feeling blessed. I have to admit that I feared being forgotten after I did not receive clemency. But instead of finding myself alone, I have been surrounded by more compassionate and talented people than ever before - and they have all expressed their determination to continue the struggle for my release. People who I greatly respect like Dr. Michael Yellow Bird, Nilak Butler, Thom White Wolf Fassett, Debra Peebles and Debra White Plume, to name only a small few, have joined the LPDC. I want to thank Jennifer Harbury, Pat Benabe, Gina Chiala, Jean Day, and Sylvain Duez-Alesandrini for bringing our new team together and sticking with me. I also want to thank all of you - I received hundreds of birthday cards last month and my spirits were greatly lifted knowing that you are still with us. Without you, I could have no hope.

I am also very encouraged by the new strategies the LPDC plans to pursue on my behalf. We have three new, very important cases to file and the lawyers in charge of them are very dedicated and talented. But I must say that without your active participation, these cases will mean very little. Public pressure is the key to fairness and justice.

In closing, I would like to wish you all a happy "Indigenous Day" and encourage you to continue advocating for the rights of Indigenous Peoples. Although prison life becomes more and more difficult with age, my spirit remains unbroken, and I still dream of rejoining my people in freedom and continuing our work for human rights and justice.

In the Spirit of Crazy Horse,

Leonard Peltier