12/17/11 Statement from Leonard Peltier: From Behind
the Iron DoorHau Kola

Greetings my friends, relatives, relations, supporters

I wrote a statement the other day sitting here in my cell and I know that
no one really cares to read something that is 6 pages long.
So this is my effort to shorten it a little bit.

The first subject I want to touch on is being in prison for 36 years is
hell. There are some folks who are planning to walk across America
starting in California going to Washington D.C. to bring attention to the
injustice that faces Indian people in the judicial system of America and
of which I am some of the evidence of that. But first of all what I
really want to say is I really appreciate and love the people that do
things like this for those of us who are imprisoned. And if walking
across America sounds like a lot try standing in an 8 by 6 cell for 36
years. But I want you to know as terrible and painful as this is in
a strange way I am honored that the most powerful government has
considered me a challenge that they would violate all their own laws to
keep me imprisoned. In my standing I have stood for what’s right. I
have stood for the right of a people invaded by emissaries of the
corporations they ultimately represent; the right of a people to defend
themselves in whatever way necessary to defend their women and children
and elders and life itself when attacked with deadly force by this

For some of you who may recently come in contact with my case, my case is
one where an Indian community that had been continually terrorized by FBI
and a goon squad funded by them on the reservation, had opposed the sale
of 1/8th of the tribe’s mineral resources and land. On June the
26th 1975, they attacked the village of Oglala on the Pine Ridge
Reservation. It started with two FBI agents in unmarked cars and
unmarked clothing, firing into an enclave of dwellings. The two
agents numbers soon swelled to 250. In the ensuing battle the two
initial agents were killed and one young Indian man, Joe Stuntz, was
murdered by the FBI, shot between the eyes. Ultimately some 30 of
us escaped. Two men, Bob Robideau and Dino Butler that were
captured before I was, were put on trial and all the evidence of that day
was allowed to be presented in their defense. And they were acquitted by
reason of self-defense; the jury said they had the right to defend
themselves with deadly force. I had escaped to Canada and was later
apprehended there, the government perjured testimony, and they got
someone to lie to bring me back from there. I was put on trial and
all the evidence used to convict me was later proven false in court, as
well as the lie to extradite me. And the same evidence used by the
defense in the first trial was not allowed. They ultimately got a
conviction saying I was guilty of murder which was later amended to
aiding and abetting.

Then later an individual whom some called Mr. X, on tape admitted he was
the shooter. Bob Robideau one of the original two men acquitted by
reason of self-defense later told retired FBI Agent Ed Wood he was Mr. X
and that he had shot the agents. Bob feared for his life. Bob
didn’t make his statement for many years. Bob did all that he could
do to help me over the years and later started living in Spain. And
then he made a statement to a few people that he was going to come back
and speak more about being the shooter and being acquitted of the
offense. And within about a month’s time he was found dead in his
apartment in Spain. He supposedly fell out of bed and hit his head
and died. Having said that, my main point is that where all the evidence
was allowed to be presented Indian people were found not guilty
rightfully defended themselves by reason of self-defense.

There has not been a violation of human rights by America that wasn’t
first practiced on Native Americans. America’s first biological
warfare was against Indian people with small pox and measles infected
blankets, the first concentration camps were against Indian people where
they took their land and rounded them up. And Lincoln known for being
against slavery, had 38 Indian men hung in unison in Mankato Minnesota
for rebelling in the starving concentration camp they were confined to
and there were camps all across this nation for American Indian

The first atomic bomb was dropped on Indian land polluting it and
destroying the water tables. To this day the result of their
digging for uranium still pollutes parts of the Navajo reservation.
They practiced sterilization of our women up until the late 1950s and
even into the 60’s. Up in Alaska they experimented with various
forms of hepatitis on the native people there. The list goes on and
on. Our people to this day suffer generational trauma as a result
of the concentration camps and invasions and starvation and boarding
schools that tried to destroy our culture. The death rate in the
boarding schools was 50%.

To this day the unemployment rate for American Indians is 35%. What
America calls “depression” has become a way of life for us.
Bureaucrats scream and jump up and down about the Israelis right to claim
their homeland, yet at the same time America still takes our land against
our will, our homeland. The black hills of South Dakota was leased for 99
years the lease has been up for some 20 something years, but they will
not return it. They have offered to pay some 3 billion dollars for
the Black Hills. Why don’t they take that money and relocate the
non-Indians from there? There have been people complaining of a
mosque in the proximity of the former World Trade Towers yet our sacred
hills have Abraham Lincoln’s face carved in the side of our sacred area,
and George Washington who practiced a scorched earth campaign against our
people in the East is there along with others.

I’m sorry if I’m getting carried away, I want America to be a great
nation, but I want it to be fair to all people. We don’t ask for
anything that wasn’t agreed to by this government,. There’s three hundred
and seventy something treaties that cover most of our concerns. I
apologize if in reading this in some way it hurts your celebration of the
holidays. Its very difficult to not be negative when you are
unjustly imprisoned for this long and every day you look through an iron
door when the true enemies and terrorists are free to terrorize the poor
and the oppressed of America. When the resources of America and the
labor of its people is used to enhance the lavish lifestyle of some 2 to
3 % of the population that owns 96% of America’s wealth or I should say
owns and controls 96% of America’s wealth then people like you and the
people occupying Wall Street and walking across America are needed more
than you would ever know.

I said I wouldn’t make this too long and it seems I have gone back on my
work. However in closing I would like to thank the National
Congress of American Indians for passing a resolution supporting me in my
bid for freedom. And I would especially like to thank Lenny Foster
who has served as a spiritual leader in prisons throughout America who
presented the resolution to the National Congress of American
Indians. I would also like to thank all the others, too numerous to
mention, who has supported me for so many years. I guess in some
off handed way I have learned to live and exist by my contact with them
over the years. This struggle has been long and difficult and I
know at times I have offended people and hurt their feelings and for that
I am deeply regretful. But rest assured I appreciate all of you in
the deepest sense of the word. And I pray that this Holiday season
brings joy to you and your families. And there is no greater gift
that we can give our children and our children’s children than freedom
and a healthy earth.

I will close for now but unless they shut me up like they did Bob, you
will hear from me again rest assured.

In the Spirit of Crazy Horse and all the others that have died for their


Leonard Peltier

Freedom Archives

522 Valencia Street

San Francisco, CA 94110

415 863-9977