FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 8, 2023
Nizhoni Begay email@example.com
Last year, we participated in “Leonard Peltier’s Walk To Justice” held by the American Indian Movement Grand Governing Council (AIMGGC). Hear from Steven Donziger, Natali Segovia, and Michael “Rattler” Markus on why it’s important to support Leonard’s case.
On September 12, 2023, political prisoner Leonard Peltier is turning 79 years old. Leonard Peltier is the longest-serving political prisoner in United States history. Join us in taking collective action for our Elder’s release.
Leonard Peltier was one of the original leaders of the American Indian Movement (AIM). AIM is a prominent Indigenous civil rights organization founded in 1968. AIM played a pivotal role in raising awareness about issues like land rights, cultural preservation, and social justice.
In 1973, they occupied the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. During the time that AIM occupied Pine Ridge, over 60 Indigenous people were murdered or went missing, and presumed dead at the hands of the authorities. Most of these cases went overlooked. In 1975, a 71-day stand-off between the FBI and AIM members ended in a shootout. Two FBI agents and two Indigenous people were killed. Leonard Peltier and two other AIM members were indicted for the agents’ death. Leonard’s co-defendants were allowed to introduce evidence of FBI activities on Pine Ridge and argued self-defense; they were acquitted of the killing of the FBI agents. Mr. Peltier, on the other hand, was not allowed to introduce contextual evidence or argue self-defense, and witnesses were coerced by the FBI into testifying against Leonard Peltier. Exculpatory evidence, which could have acquitted Mr. Peltier, was not allowed to be considered in his trial.
The FBI targeted the American Indian Movement following Mr. Peltier’s arrest. The FBI used “improper tactics” in extraditing Leonard Peltier from Canada largely on the basis of fabricated evidence, a false affidavit. The person who signed this affidavit has since recanted and explained how she was pressured and terrorized by the FBI.
Despite these injustices, in 1977, Leonard Peltier was convicted of killing the two FBI agents during the shootout on Pine Ridge. Leonard Peltier has now spent nearly five decades in prison. Despite his innocence, Leonard Peltier is still serving time in a maximum security prison 48 years later.
Last year former U.S. attorney James Reynolds who helped put Leonard in prison wrote to President Biden: “I have realized that the prosecution and continued incarceration of Mr. Peltier was and is unjust.”
For nearly 50 years, Indigenous activists, organizers, and allies have spoken out against his incarceration. WPLC, alongside these supporters and allies, calls on the need for Mr. Peltier’s clemency. On his 79th birthday, September 12, 2023, we call on relatives and friends to support Mr. Peltier and participate in the #FreeLeonardPeltier: 79th Birthday Action in Washington, D.C.
Leonard Peltier's 79th Birthday Action
Tuesday, September 12, 2023 | 12 PM - 2 PM ET
1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC
WPLC Legal Director, Natali Segovia, reflected: “Leonard Peltier’s continued incarceration remains heavy in the hearts and minds of Indigenous Peoples of the world, who too often fail to find justice in the law. Our relative has spent nearly five decades behind bars. We will continue to support him until he is free. The time for freedom is now.”
Take action from anywhere:
📲 Call the White House at (202) 456-1111
💻 Email the White House at whitehouse.gov/contact
✉️ Write to Leonard Peltier:
Leonard Peltier #89637-132 USP Coleman I P.O. Box 1033 Coleman, FL 33521
✍ Sign and share this petition from the Native Organizers Alliance
For more information about the background of Mr. Peltier’s case and incarceration please visit:
“I am everyone who ever died without a voice, or a prayer, or a hope, or a chance.” Leonard Peltier