Gina Boltz, Director, Native Village Publications
For the last few years, I've been
printing and sending Native Village news
articles to Leonard Peltier. I hoped to help Leonard and
his Native brothers stay connected to Indian Country. A few months ago,
I invited Mr. Peltier to share messages for Native youth on the Native Village
website. What an honor when he agreed! He suggested we
work with the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee because his communication
with them is most consistent. Luckily, Toni Ziedan came along and
joined as the communication source between Leonard and me. She is a
We all agreed Leonard's messages to youth would be words of inspiration,
encouragement, and wisdom only. Leonard Peltier, the political
prisoner, will not speaking. You'll only hear Leonard Peltier, Native
Elder. Let me repeat that: these messages aren't from Leonard
Peltier, the political prisoner, but from Leonard Peltier, Native Elder.
We welcome our youth and all readers to Mr. Peltier's Native Village home. This is an area of
peace and understanding, a circle meant for setting aside
"labels" and judgments, a place for simply listening to a man speak.
Thank you for joining us.
Leonard Peltier -- a great-grandfather, artist, writer, & indigenous
rights activist -- is a citizen of the Anishinabe and Dakota/Lakota
A participant in the American Indian Movement, he assisted the Oglala
Lakota people on the Pine Ridge Reservation in the mid-70s. During a
tragic shoot-out on June 26, 1975, two agents from the Federal Bureau of
Investigation were killed. Leonard was accused of the murder and fled to
Canada believing he would never receive a fair trial in the United States.
According to the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee, that's exactly what
happened: on February 6, 1976, Peltier was apprehended. The LPDC says the
FBI knowingly gave the Canadian court false affidavits. Peltier was
returned to the U.S.
During Leonard's trial, the LPDC claims key witnesses were banned from
testifying. Important evidence was ruled inadmissible. The U.S.
Prosecutor could not find a single witness naming Peltier as the shooter.
The only evidence was a bullet-casing found near the two agents that the
government connected to the alleged murder weapon. Prosecutors argued the
gun was the only one of its kind used during the shootout, and it belonged
Later, FBI documents were found saying more than one
weapon of its type had been at the scene. Also, the FBI may have a
ballistics report showing the shell casing did not come from the alleged
murder weapon. Other troubling information emerged.
At the time, however, the jury was unaware of these facts. Peltier was
convicted and sentenced to two consecutive life terms. He is currently
imprisoned at the U.S. Penitentiary in Lewisburg, PA. The Leonard
Peltier Defense Committee is currently working for Leonard's release or,
at the very least, a fair trial.