~ from Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, by Leonard Peltier

(From the Nuclear Resister #152, February 24, 2009)

February 6, 2009

Greetings my relatives,

First of all, before anything else I want to thank all for the work that you’ve been doing because what you do for me, you do it for my people and all those that come after us.

The enemy that we face has many faces; the FBI is only one of them. The greatest enemy that we face is the lack of knowledge that people have about us as Indian people and themselves and the true history of this nation. Some people say we have too many rights, but they don’t understand the difference between obtained and retained rights. In educating our opposition we must also educate ourselves as to the laws and policies that are considered to be the laws of the land at this time. We must be able to remind them of the law or policies that they themselves have been guilty of violating and if need be we need to challenge the validity of those laws and policies where they are detrimental to the natural environment and overall well being of the people.

We have the right to defend ourselves, defend our people and defend our nation, our way of life and the way we worship. These are not rights that were given to us by anyone other than the creator himself. We will not give those rights up to anyone – We retain those rights from the beginning of time and we will cherish and protect them until
the end of time. We are a fair, loving, kind and respectful people. We have a right to be on this portion of mother earth. We were told by our elders that it is our duty to defend ourselves, our families from wild beasts, by whatever measures necessary, even if that wild beast be in the form of a man or men. We have done this in the past and it is our responsibility to do it in the future. Sometimes the tools of defense are harsh and sometimes it is merely the educating of an enemy.

In the circles of spirituality being a warrior means defending things that are right, by taking a proactive approach to opposition. As I have said sometimes in the past, we aren’t bothered very often when we do everything that is right, but when we start righting what is wrong, then we become targets of those who would wrong others. Chief Leonard Crow Dog, who has served as a spiritual advisor for the American Indian Movement and myself, has consented to serve as spiritual advisor for this effort to bring about my freedom.

The FBI has recently put out another letter trying to stop your efforts and undermine the accomplishments that have taken place in the last few months. We must be ever vigilant and responsive, to whatever action they take. And we must never forget that what we do is not for ourselves but for our people and those that come after us. Again, I want to thank you from the very bottom of my heart for remembering me in your prayers and on this observance of my thirty-third year of imprisonment.

In the spirit of Crazy Horse and all those who gave their lives trying to right what was wrong.
Leonard Peltier

[Leonard Peltier is serving two life sentences, convicted unjustly for the deaths of two FBI agents during the 1975 government siege on traditional elders at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. On the day of their deaths, the corrupt Pine Ridge tribal chairman was secretly signing away tribal mineral rights, including those for uranium mining.]