Monday, September 14, 2009

I Am Barack Obam's Political Prisoner Now by Leonard Peltier
September 11-13, 2009

If Only the Government Had Respected Its Own Laws...
I Am Barack Obama's Political Prisoner Now

T he United States Department of Justice has once again made a mockery of its lofty and pretentious title.

After releasing an original and continuing disciple of death cult leader Charles Manson (sic - Lynette Squeaky Fromme) who attempted to shoot President Gerald Ford, an admitted Croatian terrorist, and another attempted assassin of President Ford under the mandatory 30-year parole law, the U.S. Parole Commission deemed that my release would "promote disrespect for the law."

If only the federal government would have respected its own laws, not to mention the treaties that are, under the U.S. Constitution, the supreme law of the land, I would never have been convicted nor forced to spend more than half my life in captivity. Not to mention the fact that every law in this country was created without the consent of Native peoples and is applied unequally at our expense. If nothing else, my experience should raise serious questions about the FBI's supposed jurisdiction in Indian Country.

The parole commission's phrase was lifted from soon-to-be former U.S. Attorney Drew Wrigley, who apparently hopes to ride with the FBI cavalry into the office of North Dakota governor. In this Wrigley is following in the footsteps of William Janklow, who built his political career on his reputation as an Indian fighter, moving on up from tribal attorney (and alleged rapist of a Native minor) to state attorney general, South Dakota governor, and U.S. Congressman. Some might recall that Janklow claimed responsibility for dissuading President Clinton from pardoning me before he was convicted of manslaughter. Janklow's historical predecessor, George Armstrong Custer, similarly hoped that a glorious massacre of the Sioux would propel him to the White House, and we all know what happened to him.

Unlike the barbarians that bay for my blood in the corridors of power, however, Native people are true humanitarians who pray for our enemies. Yet we must be realistic enough to organize for our own freedom and equality as nations. We constitute 5% of the population of North Dakota and 10% of South Dakota and we could utilize that influence to promote our own power on the reservations, where our focus should be. If we organized as a voting bloc, we could defeat the entire premise of the competition between the Dakotas as to which is the most racist. In the 1970s we were forced to take up arms to affirm our right to survival and self-defense, but today the war is one of ideas. We must now stand up to armed oppression and colonization with our bodies and our minds. International law is on our side.

Given the complexion of the three recent federal parolees, it might seem that my greatest crime was being Indian. But the truth is that my gravest offense is my innocence. In Iran, political prisoners are occasionally released if they confess to the ridiculous charges on which they are dragged into court, in order to discredit and intimidate them and other like-minded citizens. The FBI and its mouthpieces have suggested the same, as did the parole commission in 1993, when it ruled that my refusal to confess was grounds for denial of parole.

To claim innocence is to suggest that the government is wrong, if not guilty itself. The American judicial system is set up so that the defendant is not punished for the crime itself, but for refusing to accept whatever plea arrangement is offered and for daring to compel the judicial system to grant the accused the right to right to rebut the charges leveled by the state in an actual trial. Such insolence is punished invariably with prosecution requests for the steepest possible sentence, if not an upward departure from sentencing guidelines that are being gradually discarded, along with the possibility of parole.

As much as non-Natives might hate Indians, we are all in the same boat. To attempt to emulate this system in tribal government is pitiful, to say the least.

It was only this year, in the Troy Davis, case, that the U.S. Supreme Court recognized innocence as a legitimate legal defense. Like the witnesses that were coerced into testifying against me, those that testified against Davis renounced their statements, yet Davis was very nearly put to death. I might have been executed myself by now, had not the government of Canada required a waiver of the death penalty as a condition of extradition.

The old order is aptly represented by Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who stated in his dissenting opinion in the Davis case, "This Court has never held that the Constitution forbids the execution of a convicted defendant who has had a full and fair trial but is later able to convince a habeas court that he is 'actually' innocent. Quite to the contrary, we have repeatedly left that question unresolved, while expressing considerable doubt that any claim based on alleged 'actual innocence' is constitutionally cognizable."

The esteemed Senator from North Dakota, Byron Dorgan, who is now the chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, used much the same reasoning in writing that "our legal system has found Leonard Peltier guilty of the crime for which he was charged. I have reviewed the material from the trial, and I believe the verdict was fair and just."

It is a bizarre and incomprehensible statement to Natives, as well it should be, that innocence and guilt is a mere legal status, not necessarily rooted in material fact. It is a truism that all political prisoners were convicted of the crimes for which they were charged.

The truth is the government wants me to falsely confess in order to validate a rather sloppy frame-up operation, one whose exposure would open the door to an investigation of the United States' role in training and equipping goon squads to suppress a grassroots movement on Pine Ridge against a puppet dictatorship.

In America, there can by definition be no political prisoners, only those duly judged guilty in a court of law. It is deemed too controversial to even publicly contemplate that the federal government might fabricate and suppress evidence to defeat those deemed political enemies. But it is a demonstrable fact at every stage of my case.

I am Barack Obama's political prisoner now, and I hope and pray that he will adhere to the ideals that impelled him to run for president. But as Obama himself would acknowledge, if we are expecting him to solve our problems, we missed the point of his campaign. Only by organizing in our own communities and pressuring our supposed leaders can we bring about the changes that we all so desperately need. Please support the Leonard Peltier Defense Offense Committee in our effort to hold the United States government to its own words.

I thank you all who have stood by me all these years, but to name anyone would be to exclude many more. We must never lose hope in our struggle for freedom.

In the Spirit of Crazy Horse,

Leonard Peltier
Leonard Peltier #89637-132
US Penitentiary
PO Box 1000
Lewisburg, PA 17837

Time to set him free... Because it is the RIGHT thing to do.

Friends of Peltier

LaFountains! (Watch out for us)

From "Jen's New Mexico Blog"

Only in New Mexico: 88th Annual Indian Market kicked off by first-ever Indian Arts and Culture Week
August 19th, 2009

Happy summer!

Yesterday Southwestern Association of Indian Arts Executive Director Bruce Bernstein announced the memorialization of a new and special week for NM: Indian Arts and Culture Week–which will culiminate in the world renown Indian Market, August 22 and 23 here in Santa Fe. This is an event that showcases the finest in Native Art from around the state, giving visitors a chance to shake hands with the artisans responsible for both contemporary and tradition productions in everything from clothing and jewerly to painting and pottery.

Read Inez Russell’s article on the ribbon cutting here:

For general information on Indian Market, visit

Let me now introduce Ken Lingad, who has personally represented some of the Southwest’s best Native artists. Ken tells us some of his tips for this year’s artists.

I was honored to wear a Fritz Casuse's contemporary take on the squash blossom necklace.

I was honored to wear Fritz Casuse's contemporary take on the squash blossom necklace.

Ken Lingad’s Best Bets for Indian Market

Jennifer Hobson: You’re known as a specialist in American Indian art of the Southwest. As we head into what promises to be another spectacular Indian Market season, are there specific artists you have your sights on?

Ken Lingad: I always keep a finger on the pulse of new and established talents, alike. There are some stellar standouts every few years, and this year will see a select few, in my opinion. For example, I stated last year in Santa Fean magazine that Picuris Jeweler Tol-pi-yine Simbola was on my radar – this year he was honored by SWAIA with a Youth Fellowship Award. If you haven’t planned on making it to his booth, get there.

JH: Are you following other jewelry artists?

KL: Absolutely. Samuel LaFountain, Melanie Kirk-Lente, Steve LaRance, Pat Pruitt, Cody Sanderson, and Kathy Whitman-Elk Woman. I’m looking forward to being significantly impressed by Fritz Casuse – he raises the bar for all of his peers and juniors.

JH: Who’s on your pottery list?

KL: I will be checking out Marvis Aragon’s pottery works, in addition to Goldenrod, Dominique Toya, and Ed Kabotie. I expect Santa Clara Pueblo artist Autumn Borts-Medlock to keep reaching even newer heights of near-perfection with skillful precision and clarity of thematic development.

JH: You’ve personally managed some of the biggest names in Contemporary Native Art, specifically painters. Who impresses you?

KL: I would have to say – hands down – C.J. Wells. If you can get anything of hers, do it now. Unlike many other artists, the sheer depth and quality of C.J.’s masterpieces justify the consistent rise in market value. While other artists have come and gone in Santa Fe, C.J. remains a force that cannot be reckoned with – only honored. I can stare at her pieces for hours. I do stare at her pieces for hours.

Mateo Romero continues to blow my mind, while other talents on my radar (not relegated to a specific medium) include Sheridan McKnight, Ryan Singer, Eve LaFountain, Wanesia Spry-Misquadace, Dyani Reynolds-White Hawk, and the legendary Ed NoiseCat.

JH: Great information Ken; I hope I can pick your brain again at some point regarding the art scene.

KL: Definitely! I am particularly excited about the energy a handful of new galleries are bringing to the table.

About Ken Lingad:

Ken Lingad (Isleta Pueblo) is a recognized authority on Southwest American Indian Art and Culture. He works frequently with organizations such as the SWAIA Santa Fe Indian Market, Museum of Indian Arts & Culture (MIAC), Museum of Fine Arts (MoFA), and other scholarly institutions. Working behind the scenes on some of Santa Fe’s most successful large-scale exhibition premieres, Lingad remains a significant figure on the city’s fine art scene.

As you peruse the wonder of New Mexico’s Native Art this weekend, enjoy some of the summer’s best weather too–we have been loving the hot, clear days and cool high desert nights.


Saturday, September 5, 2009

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

not sure about this...

The Adventures of One eskimO could be a giant leap for Native people into a mainstream eye or it could just be another story of the past (looks more likely based on the trailer) where a little Indian goes in search of his love Little Feather and has a mystical connection with animals. It looks like Disney's Pocahontas all over again but with a boy character and an indie band sound track.

Check out this article for more info.