June 26 will mark the 40th year since the ‘Incident at Oglala’, and 39 years of Leonard Peltier’s wrongful imprisonment for the shooting death of two FBI agents at Pine Ridge Reservation in 1975. This is dated, but offers a very brief narrative of the story. ‘Incident at Oglala’, a 1992 documentary by Michael Apted, narrated by Robert Redford is available for viewing here (about 90 minutes, and full screen can be toggled).
The Free Peltier Now website.
Note: Much of the information contained on this site is derived from “In the Spirit of Crazy Horse” by the renowned author Peter Matthiessen. The book is the definitive work on the American Indian Movement (AIM) and the Peltier case. The author successfully defended against lawsuits brought by former Governor and Congressman William Janklow from South Dakota (convicted of manslaughter in 2003, jailed, and forced to resign his congressional seat in disgrace) and FBI Special Agent David Price in three different states, surviving an eight-year litigation. As acknowledged by the courts, Matthiessen’s “reputation for not being sensationalistic or scandalous is well known. He is a highly respected author and his works have received wide acclaim.”
CBCnews had carried the 2014 story of Robert Redford and many others trying in vain to get Barack Obama to pardon him, and it gives some telling details about the evolution of the case such as this:
“There has been a decades-long dispute about whether Peltier killed the two FBI agents. Before he died, Bob Robideau, one of the men acquitted in the shooting, admitted he killed both men.
He will be 70 next year. Redford’s hope is that President Barack Obama will grant Peltier a pardon or commute his sentences. Redford had tried earlier to get then president Bill Clinton to pardon Peltier, but Clinton wouldn’t do it.
However, Obama has granted fewer pardons than any other president including the two Bushes.”
UNM professor David Correia recently published ‘Indian Killers: Police Violence Against Native People’. It was good to see that Counterpunch had picked it up.
He narrates some of the hideous history of ‘Indian rolling’ (lynchings) in towns that border Indian Reservations, with his focus on New Mexico. In addition, he adds these ‘blood sport’ murders in Albuquerque last summer:
“Just this past summer, in the early morning hours of July 19, 2014, three Albuquerque teenagers wandered the back alleys of their neighborhood looking for homeless men to beat up. For months, in gangs of three and sometimes more, they hunted Native homeless men in a blood sport of violent beatings.
On that morning, they found three Navajo men sleeping on mattresses in the weeds of a vacant Westside lot. They gathered up broken cinder blocks and bashed in the heads of two of the men, Allison Gorman and Kee Thompson. A third man escaped. The boys finished Gorman and Thompson with metal poles. The survivor told police the boys had done this before and the boys—the oldest was 18 and the youngest 15-years old—admitted to police that they sought out Native, homeless men to victimize.”
Correia cites the facts that 13% of Native American in ABQ are homeless, and that in Gallup alone, more than 170 Diné died of unnatural deaths since July of 2013. Before giving the figures on the APD having shot more people than almost any police department, and have killed 28 since 2010, he wrote:
“According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Native Americans make up 0.8 percent of the population, but comprise nearly two percent of the victims of police violence, a rate greater than any other racial group. And while police kill young black men more than any other group, they kill Native Americans at a higher rate.”
When #NativeLivesMatter was first birthed as a hashtag, I’d begun seeing that report used ubiquitously, as in this case. Try as i might, and have done, I haven’t yet found the study at the CDCP, including the data sources they’re using. I suck at arithmetic, but the math in various reports seem to be all over the map, or at least the interpretations of the numbers.
But in any event, Indianz.com has links to hate crimes and violence to First Americans that show clear patterns, and they are ugly indeed.
This summer has seen a lot of First Americans and their allies pushing back against corporate mineral extraction, sovereign land thefts, pollution, pipelines and tribal corruption. Censored News is a good place to catch up. For instance, these hearty Diné are walking from their homeland to Dibé Nitsaa, one of the four sacred mountains that define their lands and history to protest the tribal council’s expansion of coal mining for the Navajo Generating Station. (We call it Mt. Hesperus, just north of us, and Mr. wd will try to find a way to offer sustenance as they travel through.)
But back to the #NativeLivesMatter hashtag. I’d like to bring a few Tweets and videos featured, although over the past week or so, most have concerned their efforts to block the Rainbow Family from having their yearly get-together in the Black Hills. The irony is that the Family like to live and dress as Indians, but they are freaking the socks off the Lakota. ‘The Rainbow Family’s Little Big Horn’, etc. ;-)
Of course there are some who object to the appropriation of the #BalckLivesMatter brand….
Minnestota, the birthplace of AIM
Including: “We are a prayerful people, a soulful people. Spirituality is key to our identity as Oceti Sakowin, and the same can be said for many Natives who practice their traditional ways. We are spirits inhabiting bodies and there’s no defeating the spirit of a Native who is the living embodiment of his or her ancestors. This is something the Western Empire never fully understood, although they realized it was powerful. That’s why the government outlawed our sacred ceremonies for decades. We should all be thankful to those who kept them safe so we could pass them onto future generations.
Each of us is fighting a difficult battle- be it personal one, or for your family or community. Some fight addiction or trauma, others fight poverty, oppression, environmental destruction, or societal ignorance. Some of us are simply born to rage. Yet no matter your battle remember this: do as your ancestors did and consult the spirits. Let them help. Sitting Bull did. Purify yourself with sage and cedar. Pray. Sometimes that’s all you have, but it may be all you need. Arm yourself with the pipe, the canupa. This is the missing piece of our current puzzle, folks. Returning to the ways will bring healing and mend the sacred hoop.
Please remember all those in ceremony, sundancing and sacrificing throughout the summer. Happy Victory Day.”
Via fifthcolumnnews.com:‘Native Tribes Declare Sovereignty from Maine After Failed Social Experiment’
Very, very cool, and not a minute too soon:
‘150 Years Later, Two Universities Answer for Their Founder’s Role in the Sand Creek Massacre; Under pressure from students and community members, Northwestern University and University of Denver take the first steps towards righting historic wrongs’, by Ned Blackhawk
…in closing: Yes!