Leonard Peltier è un attivista statunitense per i diritti dei nativi americani. Nato nel 1944a Grand Forks, venne arrestato nel 1977 e condannato a due ergastoli per l’omicidio di due agenti dell’FBI. L’arresto fa riferimento ad una sparatoria avvenuta tra nativi americani ed FBI nella Riserva Indiana di Pine Ridge nel 1975.
Nel primo processo svoltosi a Cedar Rapids, gli altri due indiani accusati insieme a Peltier furono scagionati, in quanto i loro avvocati riuscirono a dimostrare che per loro fu legittima difesa. Nel secondo processo, invece, presso la corte distrettuale degli Stati Uniti a Fargo (città storicamente anti-indiana), nel Nord Dakota, una giuria di soli bianchi (e un giudice noto per il suo razzismo) ritenne colpevole Peltier degli omicidi dei due agenti. Nonostante le irregolarità del processo e svariate prove a favore di un processo d’appello, questo gli verrà sistematicamente negato. Nel 2002 gli avvocati di Peltier denunciano l’ex direttore dell’FBI Louis Freeh e una lunga lista di ex agenti federali per aver violato i suoi diritti costituzionali e aver sistematicamente e ufficialmente orchestrato una campagna di disinformazione per impedirgli la grazia.
Qui, a seguire, la lettera che Peltier ha scritto dal carcere, riguardo la lotta condotta a Standing Rock dai nativi americani.
Leonard Peltier is an American activist for the rights of Native Americans. He was born in 1944 in Grand Forks, and he was arrested in 1977 and sentenced to two consecutive terms of life imprisonment for first degree murder of two FBI agents. The arrest regards a shootout occurred between Native Americans and FBI in the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in 1975.
In the first trial held in Cedar Rapids, the other two Indians, accused with Peltier, were acquitted because their lawyers were able to prove that for them it was self-defense. In the second trial, however, at the US District Court in Fargo (historically anti-Indian city), in North Dakota, an all-white jury (and a judge well-known for its racism) considered Peltier guilty of the murders of the two agents . Despite the irregularities of the process and various trials in favor of an appeal process, this has been systematically denied. In 2002, Peltier lawyers denounce former FBI Director Louis Freeh and a long list of former federal agents for violating his constitutional rights and have systematically and officially orchestrated a campaign of disinformation to prevent him grace.
Below, a letter that Peltier wrote from the prison, regarding the struggle of Standing Rock by Native Americans.
Day of Mourning: Statement by Leonard Peltier
Day of Mourning
November 24, 2016
Greetings my relatives,
Here we are again. This time the year is 2016. It has been more than 41 years since I last walked free and was able to see the sun rise and sit and feel the earth beneath my feet. I know there have been more changes then I can even imagine out there.
But I do know that there is a struggle taking place as to whether this country will move on to a more sustainable way of life. This is something we wanted to have happen back in the seventies.
I watch the events at Standing Rock with both pride and sorrow. Pride that our people and their allies are standing up and putting their lives on the line for the coming generations, not because they want to but because they have to. They are right to stand up in a peaceful way. It is the greatest gathering of our people in history and has made us more connected than ever before. We need to support each other as we make our way in these times.
Water IS life and we cannot leave this issue for our children and grandchildren to deal with when things are far worse for the natural world then they are now.
And Mother Earth is already in struggle.
And I feel sorrow for the water protectors at Standing Rock because these last few days have brought a much harsher response from the law enforcement agencies there and our people are suffering.
At least they are finally getting attention of the national media.
My home is in North Dakota. The Standing Rock people are my people. Sitting Bull lies in his grave there at Fort Yates. My home at Turtle Mountain is just a few hours north of Standing Rock, just south of Manitoba, Canada.
I have not seen my home since I was a boy, but I still hold out hope of returning there for whatever time I may have left. It is the land of my father and I would like to be able to live there again. And to die there.
I have a different feeling this year. The last time I felt this way was 16 years ago, when I last had a real chance for freedom. It is an uneasy feeling. An unsettling one. It is a hard thing to allow hope to creep into my heart and my spirit here in these cold buildings of stone and steel.
On one hand, to have hope is a joyful and wonderful feeling, but the downside of it for me can be cruel and bitter.
But today I will choose hope.
I pray that you will all enjoy good health and good feelings and I thank all of you from the bottom of my heart for all you have done and continue to do for me and for our Mother Earth.
Please keep me in your prayers and thoughts as these last days of 2016 slip away.
I send you my love and my respect for all of you who have gathered in the name of mother earth and our unborn generations. I stand with you there in spirit.
In the Spirit of Crazy Horse,