28 February 2005

11.April 2005, 15:00 EST, Be There!

For those of you interested in participating in the April 11th, 3pm National Walkout, be sure to wear a red, black and blue ribbon on your shirt (the colors of this movement).

Hokahey! --ryan

It Is Time!

I am a college student and Native American (Choctaw) trying to petition
for people to stand behind me while I attempt to get a Federal holiday
for the appreciation of Native Americans.  As you know we have days
dedicated to other things important to the identity and development of
America, but none for ours, this is because we have not pushed for it
enough to actually have it passed.  I am seeking people to stand behind me while I attempt a very big system that will take more than just one voice.

Also, I am trying to organize a National Walkout on April 11th, 2005 at
3 p.m. eastern time.  The following has been a letter that I have sent
out to many people:

Take 15 minutes of your day to pay tribute to the ones you owe your
home country to: all Native American tribes alike.  Join your fellow
citizens to line the sidewalks of your cities in hopes to bring
recognition to the entire nation about the forgotten indigenous peoples of America. 

Take 15 minutes to reflect on the state of the world and
hope for healing.  Healing starts from within.  Let us unite in
remembrance of the Natives and all other people who have died
innocently in wars present and past.  It is time we started paying
attention and tribute to whom we it most.  Also, wear a red, black, and
blue ribbon, pinned on your shirt, these will be the colors of a new
movement.  Post the event on your websites, send out mass emails, email your local news stations.   I would look pretty silly standing on the sidewalk alone; I need your help to spread the word.  We owe it to
ourselves and our ancestors.

You are welcome to copy and paste this entire email, grammar errors and all, or use it and reword it to strengthen the statement, and mail it
out! OR make up your own flyers and post them at your work or school oranywhere else, hand them out to people on the streets (especially the street where you will be standing on April 11th, that way you aren't alone either).  Unfortunately I can't make it to every city to act as an ambassador, but you can take the initiative!  Natives everywhere
need your help to rally people together and make an impact!

You can read more about me and this movement in the Spring issue of
"Winds of Change" (for more info about obtaining a copy visit the
magazine website at www.wocmag.org/)

Please reply if you'd like to join and support this endeavor, have
questions or suggestions, or would like to interview me for your tribal

Most sincerely,
Danielle Willmott
www.ItIsTime.us (website is still in the development stages, but take a
gander anyway and bookmark it)

27 February 2005

Go Native...

Endless Conversation: Go native
Commentary by Tony Evans


In the Age of Empire the vanquished tend to disappear. History, after all, is told by the victors. And "to the victor go the spoils of war." I overheard this simple formula in a Ketchum locker room recently and considered how it leaves out the possibility of ideas, stories and myths, which are carried on the wind from generation to generation and have a power all their own.

Art can reflect the sensibility of a society even as the society is driven from existence. Think of the way school children and their parents are drawn again and again to the feathers and quill work of Native American dress, to the idea of natural beauty as a way of life, which once flourished on Turtle Island, and is now considered extinct.

Of course, Indians are no more extinct since Columbus than Italians are extinct after the fall of Rome. There are more Native Americans today than at any time in history. And some of them, like Ward Churchill of the University of Colorado, have something to say. Perhaps the national news media's attempt to demonize him, and those who think like him, will backfire, due to the sacred cow aspect of being Native American. I'd like to hope that he rests on his work as an academic.

Churchill and others know it is pretty easy to take the moral high ground with respect to the U.S. Cavalry. Even the noble adversary Chief Joseph of the Idaho Nez Perce, who evaded the U.S. military for months on end, had elders and children in tow. Hardly fair game.

Churchill's more prolific fellow CU professor, Vine Deloria Jr., a Standing Rock Sioux, recently turned down an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from the university based on the scandalous conduct of regents there. Deloria wrote dozens of books, including "Custer Died for Your Sins," and was named by Time magazine as one of the 11 most influential thinkers of the 20th Century.

It would no doubt ease the conscience of empire to vilify Churchill, Deloria, Dee Brown, Sherman Alexie and others as enemies of the state. But I wouldn't count on them tucking tail and running. They know that the same Colorado Legislature, which recently castigated Churchill for his views, authorized, in 1865, a drunken orgy of horror carried out by U.S. troops at Sand Creek among Cheyenne Chief Black Kettle's band of mostly women and children. Thanks to the Internet, the entire court proceedings of the Sand Creek Massacre are floating forever in Cyberspace.

Indians as an idea lend themselves well to interpretation by others, filling a gap in the Euro-psyche somewhere between Hiawatha and Heart of Darkness. This shifting pattern of stereotypes serves the non-Indian desire to explain away the darkest legacy in American history. Ward Churchill and others remind us of the unsettling fact that a considerable population of Americans can relate as easily to the Kurds gassed by Saddam Hussein as to the U.S. troops working to stabilize Iraq. That despite our fascination with Indian artifacts and culture, Americans remain largely ignorant and ambivalent towards the people from this great country of ours who long ago survived a host of modern assaults such as prolonged internment, biological warfare, and genocidal policies.

If you want to get over it all, take a short drive this summer to the annual 4th of July Pow Wow and bareback horse race at Fort Hall Reservation in eastern Idaho. It's open to anyone. This drug-and-alcohol-free cultural experience begins with a veteran's honor dance and parade of elders who have fought on the side of the U.S. in many battles over the years. Fort Hall is home to the descendents of Sacajawea, the famous Lemhi Shoshone tour guide for Lewis and Clark. The Lemhi of Salmon, Idaho, were finally marched, in about 1930, 200 miles south to the arid Fort Hall Indian reservation an hour's drive from Ketchum. Fort Hall's Pow Wow is a celebration of native culture and a fine example of art and ritual that transcends politics. The people of Fort Hall are more interesting than anything that you'll ever hang on your wall.

"Welcome to Leavenworth..."

Please distribute widely. With YOUR help we CAN reach the whole world!


Excerpt by HARVEY ARDEN from
(this describes Harvey’s first meeting with Leonard in
1997, at a Native American ‘pow-wow’ held
in the gymnasium at Leavenworth Penitentiary)
…THE NEXT DAY I WAS driven to Leavenworth by two Peltier supporters who would be attending the prison powwow with me. I can tell you, I
physically feared going into Leavenworth, even if only as a visitor. My
stomach tied itself in knots at the prospect as the time for my visit
approached. It was our first in-person meeting to speak about me editing a book of Leonard’s writings—a book that eventually became PRISON WRITINGS: MY LIFE IS MY SUN DANCE (St. Martins Press, 1999).

I ADMIT TO HAVING BEEN properly intimidated by my first sight of
Leavenworth—with its 18-foot-high stone walls topped with glinting rolls of razor wire and its silvered dome almost mockingly reminiscent of the U.S. Capitol's. Two blind lions appropriately guard the main entrance at the top of a long marbled staircase, beneath the gaze of unseen eyes in a three-storey-high dark-windowed guard-tower placed directly in front of the main entranceway.

Something about the place brings to mind a grade B-movie-type prison
escape from some old 1930’s Jimmy Cagney or John Garfield flick, with
those high walls and the well-tailored, park-like greenswards and the
phallic guard tower and the long driveway, beyond which lay “the open
Road”—that shining phantasm of every prisoner dreaming of escape.
Passing through a sequence of separately-opening gates and doors, I was scrutinized and photographed in an admitting room, then passed through a series of metal detectors and sliding steel doors, all under the endlessly scrutinizing eyes of a deadpan gallery of guards. My pockets were empty except for my driver’s license and a pencil stub in my shirt pocket; no one seemed to mind the latter, so I could thankfully jot down a few of Leonard’s word if I needed to. Next, with the other visitors, I was guided up a long tunnel that finally opened out into the prison gymnasium—closely resembling the typical high-school gymnasium, though more bleak and stark somehow, maybe because it was entirely windowless. Windows, I was learning, are a rare luxury here, where the preferred view for residents is a blank wall of steel or cinderblock, painted a pallid tan.

AND THERE, ABRUPTLY, was Leonard himself, unmistakable, a big burly man with long black hair, lightly silvered, standing there in a sweatshirt and tan pants and gym shoes on the basketball court, part of a crowd of seventy or eighty similarly dressed Native American inmates who were just then undergoing a methodical head count. Leonard eyed me and I eyed him the moment I entered. There was instant recognition both ways. When the head count ended, he came right over to me.


We locked eyes like two long-lost brothers. Then Leonard threw
his arms around me in a great bear hug and breathed into my ear, ’One mind, Bro’. One Mind!”

So, yes, he liked what I’d done to the manuscript. We were eye to eye and soul to soul on that. “I love what you’re doing with the book, Bro,” he said. Turns out he had known Mathew King—Chief Noble Red Man—personally; in fact, it had been Mathew, along with ceremonial Lakota Chief Frank Fools Crow and other Lakota Elders, who had asked members of the American Indian Movement to send warriors to Pine Ridge during the Wounded Knee confrontation in 1973, as they did once again at the time of the ‘Incident At Oglala’ in 1975. Back in 1994 I had sent Leonard a copy of the book I had produced of Mathew’s wondrous words: NOBLE RED MAN: LAKOTA WISDOMKEEPER MATHEW KING (Beyond Words Publishers, 1994). When Leonard told me so passionately that he liked how I’d edited his words, that we were ‘One mind, Bro’—my self-confidence momentarily surged. I asked him no more. If he approved what I’d done so far, then there was no problem. I’d simply continue doing it in the same fashion, plus work with Leonard himself—as best I could, given our limited personal contact—on new materials he would write specifically for the book. I felt immense relief at Leonard’s response, of course, but also a sudden sense of awe. What had I gotten myself into?

MEANWHILE, the prison powwow began with two large drum groups beating out those ancient deep rhythms in this unholy place. Circles of dancers, a few in their Indian regalia, took the floor, stomping and swirling. Sage was lit as preliminary prayers were recited in the Lakota language, and we were each ‘smudged’ with the sacred smoke. The unholy was, for these few hours, at least, made Holy here in the Leavenworth gymnasium. If you learn anything from Indian People, it’s that the Holy and the Sacred are with us here and now, and that every moment and every place is potentially—even essentially—Holy, or capable of being made so.

As the prison gathering drew to a close toward midafternoon, the
inmates bestowed gifts of their own crafts and artwork on the visitors. On the floor was a pile of fist-sized rocks that had been used in the inipi—the prison sweat lodge. Leonard picked two of these up and set them in my hands.

“Here, Harvey, take these…they’re not just ordinary rocks, they’re
holy beings—the ‘Rock People,’ we call them. We talk to them in the
inipi…and, would you believe, they talk back to us. Just like Mat King
says in Noble Red Man! When the water’s poured on the rocks, they
actually start to speak! These rocks are volcanic, filled with holes and
fissures, and the water hisses and sizzles when it hits the red-hot
rocks; you can actually make out voices! You can hear them! Yes, it
happens! It’s true! The rocks are alive. And they have thousands of
prayers in them, Harvey. My prayers and the prayers of the brothers in
our sweat lodge. Take good care of them, Bro. They’re holy things.”
[Leonard has a wonderful chapter about the Leavenworth inipi in

Even as I stood there directly in front of him with the two ‘Rock
People’ in my hands, Leonard reached out to me with his own two hands and gently gripped my shoulders; his eyes caught and captured mine.

“Harvey…,” he said softly, his eyes locked intensely on mine, “You
need to know this from me personally. I did NOT kill those agents… It’s
important you believe that if we’re to work together.”

I nodded my head, returned his intense gaze, and squeezed the two
prayer-soaked ‘Rock People’ in my hands. Like two witnesses to a sacred bargain, they all but resonated between my fingers. For a time I would keep them on my bookshelf directly above my desk, between two memorial cards for the fallen FBI Special Agents Jack Coler and Ron Williams. Later I would give one of the rocks to an inipi leader who had befriended me. The other I gave to Piscataway Chief, or Sagamore, Billy Tayac (his People’s aboriginal land are on the site where both the White House and the Capitol now stand) during a ceremony at the sacred Piscataway Moyoane burial grounds, just across the Potomac River from George Washington’s Mount Vernon. Billy, an avid supporter of Leonard for decades, placed the sacred ‘Rock Person’ from the Leavenworth inipi on the grave of his revered father Turkey Tayac beneath a 300-year-old sacred red cedar tree near the Potomac’s edge at Moyoane.

“This is sacred ground,” Billy told me. “It’s always a ceremony
here. That rock will be in good company.”

NOW, AS I LEFT the Leavenworth gymnasium, guards accompanied me and the other visitors back up the tunnel, and I experienced that strange sense of irreality I get every time I attend these prison powwows and the moment comes to leave at 3 P.M.—how uncanny it seems that I and the other visitors can be so easily and politely escorted out—while the inmates in their tan trousers (visitors are prohibited from wearing tan or khaki pants) stand there below, rooted on the gymnasium floor, calling out sad farewells at us, arms waving, necks craning… ‘Hey, Harvey, next time…’ a voice calls out and I don’t even know who’s voice it is; no doubt, one of the guys I’d sat around talking to for most of the powwow, between my few brief chats with Leonard. Moments later I’m back through the series of checkpoints and out the final plate-grass and forged-steel door, walking back down between the two unblinking blind lions toward our parked car and
freedom! I feel almost as if I’d escaped!

Yes, freedom! It seems truly magical, almost incandescent, when
you’ve just been immersed in its opposite. I never appreciate it so much as when I walk back down those marble steps of Leavenworth. And I was in there for only six hours! Imagine decades! With each step back out into the open world my heart aches palpably for Leonard back there…he, an innocent man, unable to leave…or even to know if he will ever be able to leave. And this heavy sadness resolves into dedication: I will do everything in my personal power to see this man, Leonard Peltier, walk free again.

Yes, that much I can do, and will continue doing.

* * *

Excerpt by LEONARD PELTIER from
…I’M STILL HERE. I am all at once saddened, exhilarated, angry, proud,
defiant, and puzzled by that fact. Here in prison, after 28 years of
unjust incarceration, I am a living example of the injustice, racism,
fear, and inequity that still exists in some parts of the United States of
America. This is particularly true when it comes to America's views and
actions towards Indian people. Residing in the best hopes of all of us is
the dream that America has moved away from the days of hostility towards the Indigenous people of this land. And yet, we are shown with daily regularity, a reality that defies this dream. A reality that American Indians are incarcerated at a disproportionately high rate. A reality that American Indians are denied decent health care, housing, and education. A reality so dire, that recently the United States Civil Rights Commission has had to address it, calling it "A Quiet Crisis".

I’M STILL HERE. Events surrounding my case over the last few years have been so fascinating, as to have created an excellent mystery thriller novel. Replete with intrigue, suspicion, manipulation, falsehoods, secret meetings, intimidation, implications, sexual innuendo, and higher aspirations--all in the name of justice, I cannot help but think of what a great movie this would also have made. Maybe one day it still will, time will tell. Suffice to say, my case and all it constitutes will continue to impact the history of this country, and its relations with Native Americans, for generations to come. So far, my story continues to be one of an innocent man, railroaded in a rage of fear and vengeance disguised as justice.

I’M STILL HERE. And for as long as I am, my friends and associates at the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee continue to raise awareness, fund-raise, and coordinate campaigns on my behalf, so that America and the world does not forget about me and my case. Where would I be without friends like Harvey Arden, Arthur Miller, Peter Mattheissen, Andrea Hornbein, David Hill, and so many others I do not have the time or room to name, but have been so crucial in continuing this crusade for Justice? I cannot say for sure, but I imagine I would be much closer to being another faceless person denied of justice, whose identity was forgotten as time went by. It has been a series of small miracles created by a synergy of outstanding individuals. I am so thankful, and you all should be so proud of what you have accomplished.

I’M STILL HERE. And yet, I like to dream or focus on what I would do if
and when I win my release. It goes without saying that being with family and loved ones would be a central part of my life for some period of time. And having been away from the daily experiences of this country, perhaps traveling and seeing the developments 28 years can bring would be something I would enjoy. Once acclimated, I do have plans for the future, particularly concerning the ongoing role of the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee. Some might think that upon my release, the LPDC's job would be finished. This is not so. In fact, it will merely be a new starting point. There is no doubt a need for an organization that focuses on the incarceration of American Indians, especially those in jail for political reasons. Surely you didn't think I was the only American Indian political prisoner, did you? This country and the world needs to be made more aware of Indians defying the American government, in accordance with treaty and other laws, and being locked away for it. We need to raise awareness, and secure the release of these brothers and sisters. Further, we would become a bona fide Human Rights organization, linking with other like-minded organizations and individuals, networking and strategizing to create coordinated campaigns on a national and international level. Perhaps we could even help to create world-wide Indigenous initiatives to address colonization, globalization, and the terror they inflict on tribal people around the world.

I’M STILL HERE. I would hope this would resonate in the minds and hearts of every peace-loving person with an abiding sense of justice in their consciousness, throughout the world. It has been said by greater men than me, that as long as any man or woman is in bondage, none of us are free. I have come to understand those words with a clarity I cannot describe. As long as Indian people are held captive to a colonizing and exploiting foreign power, none of us are free. As long as corporate entities have all the rights and privileges of a human being, without the responsibilities and accountability of a human being, none of us are free. As long as anyone is in prison for political reasons, none of us are free. As long as people cannot speak, assemble, or worship freely, none of us are free. As long as injustice and inequity exists, none of us are free.

My name is Leonard Peltier, but I draw breath as the living embodiment of a greater cause than just one man's freedom. Every nation must include as a part of its very fiber and rationalization, a constant demand and vigilance for justice. More than anything, I desire this. I pray for peace and justice. One cannot truly exist without the other.

I’M STILL HERE. Now what are we going to do about it?

Leonard Peltier

* * *
are available at www.haveyouthought.com …
* * *

A Living Memoir with Artifacts
by Harvey Arden, Edited & Compiled by George Bowe Blitch
with companion website www.haveyouthought.com
& 8 full-color pages of recent paintings by Leonard Peltier
with Special Contributions by

Leonard Peltier
George Blitch
Barry Bachrach
Standing Deer
Arthur J. Miller
Lawrence Sampson
Carter Camp
Stephanie M. Schwartz
Keith Rabin

Please Order copies NOW for yourself & your friends at:


or send a check for $23+$5=$28 per copy ($5 s/h on one copy; $2 s/h each add'l copy) made out to 'Have You Thought' & mail to:

Have You Thought
1410 Blalock Road, #420
Houston, TX 77055

Booksellers, Libraries, Stores, Distributors, Pow-Wow Vendors,
Prof'l Book Reviewers please contact george@haveyouthought.com
For those who may have an interest, there's a new interview with author Harvey Arden about the Wisdomkeepers, Leonard Peltier, Australian Aboriginals & the state of the world...now archived at:



Tatanka Returns!

I'm headed to the bank on Monday morning!


A Buffalo Returns to the Nickel

By Knight Ridder Newspapers

WASHINGTON — A new nickel, dominated as never before by Thomas Jefferson's face and bringing back the bison on its flip side, starts trickling into circulation Monday, with the U.S. Mint planning to pour 600 million to 650 million of the coins into the change supply over six months.

The new design, featuring an up-close profile of the right side of Jefferson's face, is the third of four nickels that will commemorate the bicentennials of the Jefferson-initiated Louisiana Purchase and the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

The fourth coin — the "Ocean in View" nickel, depicting the Oregon coast where Meriwether Lewis and William Clark first saw the Pacific Ocean in 1805 — will be released this summer.

The newest coin, called the American Bison nickel, brings back the behemoth that dominated the flip side of so-called Indian head nickels from 1913 to 1938.

The Mint released the first two nickels in the series — the Louisiana Purchase and Lewis and Clark Keelboat coins — last year. Both have the old, smaller Jefferson bust on their "heads" side.

The nickel will return to a version of the Jefferson and Monticello nickel in 2006.

Bison Range Must Decide...

Missoulian: Bison Range Workers Get More Time To Decide

February 25, 2005 - JOHN STROMNES, The Missoulian

MOIESE - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has temporarily extended a
deadline imposed on six National Bison Range workers who would work under tribal supervision if a shared management agreement takes effect next month.

Steve Kallin, Bison Range project manager, said Wednesday the
employees are unwilling to choose one of three options for keeping
their jobs at the Bison Range because they lack important information
about how the change would affect them.

Employees were given three options for staying in their current
positions at the Bison Range: They could become employees of the
Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes with tribal benefits; become
tribal employees with federal benefits; or continue as Fish and
Wildlife Service workers, but be supervised by the tribes. They could
also quit, or seek a transfer elsewhere.
"Some are interested in knowing who their tribal supervisor would be.
At this point the selection hasn't been made. The (Fish and Wildlife
Service) understands that's important information. We're letting the
deadline extend for a while," Kallin said.

Another unknown is the details of the intergovernmental personnel
agreement that each employee would have to sign in order to maintain
their status as career Fish and Wildlife Service employees.

"The IPA has been drafted, but it is going to the tribes for review,"
before it will be available in its final form, Kallin said.

Under the IPA, the worker's position is paid for by the federal
government but supervised and controlled by the tribes.

He said the agency has imposed no new deadline, but workers must
certainly choose an option for future employment by March 15, if not

Meanwhile, tribal administrators and political leaders, including
Tribal Chairman Fred Matt, met with several of the affected workers
Feb. 11 to discuss the upcoming transfer and to respond to their concerns.

"We provided them with a letter of invitation and specific tribal
personnel rules and regulations," said Clayton Matt, head of the
tribes' Natural Resources Department.

He said general concerns of the employees were discussed, but the IPA
and the hiring of the tribal coordinator who will supervise the tribal
employees, did not come up for discussion.

"We'll do the best we can in filling that position, and as soon as we
have it filled, we'll notify the Bison Range. Our goal is to have it
done right at the time of transfer, or even before then," Matt said.

On a related matter, Matt Kales, a Fish and Wildlife Service spokesman
in Denver, confirmed he's heard "rumors" that a congressional hearing
might be held to review the annual funding agreement request that
turns over about half of the Bison Range Complex management and budget
to the tribes.

He said he is not aware of any such hearing scheduled as yet, and he
almost certainly would have heard of one, since officials at the
office would be asked to participate.

"There's a pretty specific process for such a hearing. This office has
not heard anything concrete about any hearings regarding the Bison
Range AFA," he said Wednesday.

Reporter John Stromnes can be reached at 1-800-366-7186 or

26 February 2005

Leonard Peltier: The Facts

Just in case you didn't know...


The Case of Leonard Peltier: "Quick Facts"

Leonard Peltier is an imprisoned Native American considered by Amnesty International, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, National Congress of American Indians, the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Center for Human Rights, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Rev. Jesse Jackson, amongst many others, to be a political prisoner who should be immediately released.

Leonard Peltier was convicted for the deaths of two FBI agents who died during a 1975 shoot-out on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Mr. Peltier has been in prison for 27 years.

The Wounded Knee occupation of 1973 marked the beginning of a three-year period of heightened political violence on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. The tribal chairman hired vigilantes, self titled as "GOONS," to rid the reservation of American Indian Movement (AIM) activity and sentiment. More than 60 traditional tribal members and AIM members were murdered and scores more were assaulted. Evidence indicated GOON responsibility in the majority of crimes but despite a large FBI presence, nothing was done to stop the violence. The FBI supplied the GOONS with intelligence on AIM members and looked away as GOONS committed crimes. One former GOON member reported that the FBI supplied him with armor piercing ammunition.

Leonard Peltier was a talented AIM organizer in the Northwest and was asked by traditional people at Pine Ridge, South Dakota to go to Pine Ridge to support and protect the people being targeted for violence. Mr. Peltier and a small group of young AIM members set up camp on a ranch owned by the traditional Jumping Bull family.

On June 26, 1975 two FBI agents in unmarked cars followed a pickup onto the Jumping Bull ranch. The families immediately became alarmed and feared an attack. Shots were heard and a shoot-out erupted. More than 150 agents, GOON's, and law enforcement surrounded the ranch.

When the shoot-out ended the two FBI agents and one Native American lay dead. The agents were injured in the shoot-out and were then shot at close range. The Native American, Joseph Stuntz, was shot in the head by a sniper bullet. Mr. Stuntz's death has never been investigated.

According to FBI documents, more than 40 Native Americans participated in the gunfight, but only AIM members Bob Robideau, Darrell Butler, and Leonard Peltier were brought to trial.

Mr. Robideau and Mr. Butler were arrested first and went to trial. A federal jury in Iowa acquitted them on grounds of self-defense, finding that their participation in the shoot-out was justified given the climate of fear that existed. Further, they could not be tied to the close range shootings.

Leonard Peltier was arrested in Canada. The U.S. presented the Canadian court with affidavits signed by Myrtle Poor Bear who said she was Mr. Peltier's girlfriend and she saw him shoot the agents. In fact Ms. Poor Bear had never met Mr. Peltier and was not present during the shoot-out. Soon after, Ms. Poor Bear recanted her statements and said the FBI terrorized her and coerced her into signing the affidavits.

Mr. Peltier was returned to the U.S. where his case was mysteriously transferred from the judge who tried his co-defendants to a more conservative federal judge in North Dakota. Key witnesses like Myrtle Poor Bear were not allowed to testify and unlike the Robideau/Butler trial in Iowa, evidence regarding violence on Pine Ridge was severely restricted.

An FBI agent who had previously testified that the agents followed a pickup truck onto the scene, a vehicle that could not be tied to Mr. Peltier, changed his account, stating that the agents had followed a red and white van onto the scene, a vehicle which Mr. Peltier drove on occasion.

Three teenaged Native witnesses testified against Mr. Peltier, all admitting later that the FBI terrorized them and forced them to testify. Still, not one witness identified Mr. Peltier as the shooter.

The U.S. Attorney prosecuting the case emphatically stated that they had given the defense all FBI documents. To the contrary, more than 18,000 had been withheld in their entirety.

An FBI ballistics expert testified that a casing found near the agents' bodies matched the gun tied to Mr. Peltier. However, a ballistic test proving that the casing did not come from the gun tied to Mr. Peltier was intentionally concealed.

The jury, unaware of the aforementioned facts, sentenced Mr. Peltier to two consecutive life terms.

Following the discovery of new evidence obtained through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, Mr. Peltier demanded a new trial. The Eighth Circuit ruled, "There is a possibility that the jury would have acquitted Leonard Peltier had the records and data improperly withheld from the defense been available to him in order to better exploit and reinforce the inconsistencies casting strong doubts upon the government's case." Yet, the court denied Mr. Peltier a new trial.

During oral arguments, the U.S. Prosecutor conceded that the government does not know who shot the agents, stating that Mr. Peltier is equally guilty whether he shot the agents at point blank range, or participated in the shoot-out from a distance. Mr. Peltier's co-defendants participated in the shoot-out from a distance, but were acquitted.

Judge Heaney, who authored the decision denying a new trial, has since voiced firm support for Mr. Peltier's release, stating that the FBI used improper tactics to convict Mr. Peltier, the FBI was equally responsible for the shoot-out, and that Mr. Peltier's release would promote healing with Native Americans.

Mr. Peltier has served 29 years in prison and is long overdue for parole. He has received several human rights awards for his good deeds from behind bars which include annual gift drives for the children of Pine Ridge, fund raisers for battered women's shelters and donations of his paintings to Native American recovery programs. However, the parole commission will not release him unless he admits to a crime he did not commit.

Recently, Mr. Peltier's attorneys filed a new round of Freedom of Information Act requests with FBI Headquarters and various FBI field offices in an attempt to secure the release of additional documents concerning Mr. Peltier. Although the FBI has engaged in a number of dilatory tactics in order to avoid the processing of these requests, 30,000 additional FOIA documents were released in June 2002. Previously, according to the FBI, more than 6,000 full documents remain undisclosed. The 30,000 documents released in 2002 reveal the FBI's prior estimate to be a significant undercount of actual documents still withheld. Currently, FOIA requests submitted to 30 FBI field offices around the country are pending. Similar FOIA requests have been submitted to the CIA. More dilatory responses following the recent requests have resulted in FOIA Complaints filed by Peltier's attorneys against the FBI, CIA and the Executive Office of United States Attorneys.

The FBI has disseminated false and inflammatory statements to members of the U.S. Congress, the Department of Justice, the White House, and the public, thus denying Mr. Peltier his right to fair clemency and parole reviews and Congressional oversight. Despite repeated calls for Congressional hearings by the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, Amnesty International, and individual members of Congress, no Congressional committee has yet had the courage to provide a forum by which to air the truth and bring closure to this case.

Mr. Peltier suffers from diabetes, high blood pressure, and a heart condition. Time for justice is short.

America Worse Off Than Iraq?

Something to think about, enit?


Friends and like minded people should be deeply concerned about the
values reflected in the federal budget.  It is truly a dismal state of
affairs when some of the first Americans live in physical circumstances
comparable to front line conditions in Iraq.  On February 16th, several
Native American veterans argued against housing cuts in the budget for
fiscal year 2006.

Former Army Specialist Gerald Dupris, 22, described his mother's
neighborhood inside the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation in Eagle Butte,
S.D., as "a lot worse than what I left in the military in Iraq." Navajo
and former Staff Sgt. Julius Tulley added, "The U.S. has been restoring
electricity to Baghdad and other Iraqi towns, yet in Blue Gap, where my
mother and aunties live now, only 15 percent of the people have
utilities - I mean water and electricity"  A greater percentage of
American Indians have served in the military than any other ethnic
group.  Does the government honor their service by providing public
services to reservations?  Does the government care about elderly people
coping with such living conditions?

If Congress ignores people in want, systematically year in and year out,
it perpetuates human suffering and creates structural economic violence.
Battlefields are not the only place where people die and are scarred.
People can be scarred and can die-indirectly and sometimes
invisibly-from societal and governmental neglect at home.

Ask your representative and senators to stand up for the poorest of our
citizens.  As they consider budget cuts, urge your members of Congress
to remember the past and present contributions of Native Americans.
Budget amounts should be increased, not cut, for basics in Indian
Country. Go to our website to write your congressional members an email
or send a fax,http://capwiz.com/fconl/issues/alert/?alertid=7105906&type=CO,
its easy!

Just enter your zip code in the "Take Action Now" box and click "Go" 
Background:  There are documented disparities in health, housing,
plumbing, telephones, and schools between what many in Indian Country
have compared to the general public. Yet, the President proposes a
budget that would cut rather than enhance basic programs that address
such compelling needs.

* This budget cuts funds for Indian housing and community development

* This budget cuts funds for construction of health facilities

* This budget cuts funds for tribal colleges.

The President's budget includes cuts of $107 million in funding for
Indian housing and community development. Yet Native Americans are three
times more likely to live in overcrowded housing, according to the 2000
U.S. Census, and nearly 12 percent of Native Americans lack complete
plumbing, compared with 1.2 percent of the general population.
In testimony to the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, the chairman of
the primary Indian Housing advocacy group Chester Carl stated, "I
believe I speak for all members of the National American Indian Housing
Council when I express my frustration and anger that a national priority
shift and aid to a people in need thousands of miles away is being paid
for by those in America who can least afford it. While assistance in the
Middle East is admirable, America seems to have never understood the
urgency of the need to lift people from poverty and ignorance and
despair here at home in order to strengthen this country. The poverty
rate for Native Americans, which continues to hover at about 26 percent,
is more than double the poverty rate for the general American

See Chester Carl's full testimony at

Read Senator McCain's opening statement on the effect of the budget
request on Indian country, http://indian.senate.gov/2005hrgs/021605hrg/McCain.pdf

Read FCNL's article on structural economic violence (registration
required), http://www.fcnl.org/now/htm_final/jan05_economic-violence.php

1st Native American Indian Assoc. Powwow & Veteran's Homecoming

First Native American Indian Association Powwow and Veteran's Homecoming Set
The first Native American Indian Association of Tennessee (NAIA) Spring Powwow and Veteran's Homecoming will be held May 6, 7, and 8 at the Southern Middle Tennessee Pavilion in Winchester.

The event is sponsored by the NAIA and is supported by the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce. The event will feature a celebration of music, dance and the arts. It will also offer an educational opportunity for the public to discover and learn more about the diversity of American Indian traditions, songs, dance, basket-weaving, carving, games and other cultural events.
The guest speaker for the event will be World War II veteran, Navajo Code Talker Thomas Begay. NAIA is extremely proud of its 23 years of service to the Native American Indian residents of Tennessee. NAIA is an intertribal non-profit organization that provides social and educational services and opportunities, including cultural revitalization, case management, job placement and education training opportunities to the more than 15,000 American Indians living throughout Tennessee. NAIA is governed by an all-Indian Board of Directors.
Everyone is strongly urged to support this cultural event in Tennessee. The festival will bring in revenue to Franklin and surrounding counties through hotels and restaurants and many area stores and shops where vendors and visitors from all over the USA and Canada will stay and patronize.

It is the goal of organizers of the event to be one of the largest tourist events in the state and an annual event at the Southern Middle Tennessee Pavilion in Winchester. All monies raised go directly to the NAIA Education/Scholarship Fund and the NAIA Emergency Relief Assistance Fund. No board member or any volunteer personnel are paid - this is truly a volunteer organization.

Please contact Barbara Burch, Festival Coordinator, at 931-461-2843 to discuss your support opportunity. For information visit their website at naia.spring.powwow.gem-of-r.com or e-mail tuhaniesa@charter.net.

Federal Judge Orders Interior Dept to Fix Trust

How many times will they have to be told?


Judge Again Orders Indian Trust Fund Action
Seeing no progress in the long-running case, the jurist tells the Interior Department to account for billions in royalties tribes say they are owed.

By Henry Weinstein
Times Staff Writer
February 24, 2005

WASHINGTON — For the second time, a federal judge has ordered the Interior Department to account for billions of dollars in royalties that Indian tribes contend the government owes them.

The ruling Wednesday by U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth came in the long-running case of the Indian trust fund, which was established more than a century ago to hold and distribute fees from oil, grazing, drilling and logging leases on 11 million acres of land west of the Mississippi River.

Lamberth told the department to return within 60 days with a detailed plan for a historical accounting of the trust.

He also ordered the department to issue subpoenas for records held by third parties to make sure those records would be preserved. The subpoenas would go to oil companies, timber firms and other companies that have done business on Indian land.

According to government reports, the trust fund has been plagued with problems since at least 1915. When the fund was set up in 1887, the government — saying it feared that the Indians would squander the money — took control of the royalty payments.

The fund is believed to generate about $500 million a year on behalf of more than 300,000 individuals, though lost or mismanaged records over the decades have made a complete accounting almost impossible.
Wednesday's ruling is the latest of many in which Lamberth has blasted the conduct of government officials, Democrat and Republican, for the way they have treated the Indians and responded to the lawsuit. It was filed by a group of Indians in 1996, two years after Congress ordered the Interior Department to account for the way the fund had been managed.

Lamberth has held several government officials in contempt for failing to turn over documents, including Bruce Babbitt, secretary of the Interior during the Clinton administration. In September 2002, Lamberth held Interior Secretary Gale A. Norton in contempt for failing to follow court orders, but that ruling was overturned on appeal 10 months later.

In his order Wednesday, Lamberth noted that elderly potential beneficiaries of the trust were dying "as the government fights — and refights — every legal battle."

"In this case, the government has not only set the gold standard for mismanagement, it is on the verge of setting the gold standard for arrogance in litigation strategy and tactics," he wrote.

Lamberth initially ordered a historical accounting in September 2003, giving the department four years to comply. The accounting, he said, would be used in a future trial to ascertain how much the federal government owes hundreds of thousands of Indians.

Government officials balked, saying it would cost about $335 million and take five years to complete even a rough accounting. Interior Department officials said it could cost up to $12 billion to do the comprehensive accounting Lamberth sought.

Members of Congress were unwilling to foot the bill for even the abbreviated accounting. In November 2003, hoping to buy time to develop a solution, lawmakers gave the department a moratorium on the work until Dec. 31, 2004.

On Dec. 10, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia vacated part of Lamberth's 2003 decision, saying it had no "legal basis'' while the moratorium legislation remained in effect.

The appeals court said Lamberth "may not micromanage court-ordered reform efforts and then subject defendants to findings of contempt for failure to implement such reforms.''

On Wednesday, Lamberth emphasized that "Dec. 31, 2004, has come and gone, and no legislative solution to the issues in this litigation is available or in the offing."

Consequently, he said, he was bound by the findings he made earlier and reissued the "historical accounting provisions" of his initial order. He emphasized that the appeals court had not contested the findings of fact and conclusions of law upon which his September 2003 ruling had been based.

Wednesday's ruling requires that the first phase of the accounting be completed by January and that the entire project be finished by January 2009. The Interior Department must "account for all assets held by the trust" since 1887, he said.

Dennis M. Gingold, the lead lawyer for the plaintiffs in the case, called Lamberth's action significant. "The judge has taken a bold step to resolve the case on the merits," he said.

"The judge is trying to get the case back on track," said Gingold's co-counsel, Keith Harper of the Native American Rights Fund. When Congress halted the accounting work in 2003, "it just put off the inevitable," Harper said.

In addition, Lamberth called a status conference for next week to discuss several outstanding issues in the case, including possible contempt charges against several government officials.

Further complicating the situation, the government's lead lawyer, Sandra Spooner of the Justice Department, formally withdrew from the case on Wednesday, as did two of her colleagues.

Interior spokesman Dan DuBray said the department was reviewing the ruling with Justice Department lawyers, but declined further comment.

Last week, James E. Cason, associate deputy secretary of the Interior Department, told the House Resources Committee that the department had spent nearly $3 billion on trust management reform during the last decade but did not have a plan to resolve the thorny issue.
Harper of the Native American Rights Fund told the committee that so many records had been lost that he doubted that an accurate accounting could be completed.

At that hearing, Rep. Richard W. Pombo (R-Tracy) expressed dismay at the prospect of the case dragging on. An aide said Wednesday that Pombo would introduce legislation this spring in an effort to resolve the problem.

Fairchild Takeover

Thirty years ago in Navajoland...


Former Activist Reflects On Fairchild Takeover

By Bill Donovan
Special to the Times

WINDOW ROCK - It began in the early morning hours on a Sunday morning 30 years ago this month and although it would last less than a week, its aftereffects would linger on the Navajo Reservation for decades.

The takeover of the Fairchild Semiconductor plant in Shiprock by members of the American Indian Movement was something that would affect hundreds of Navajo families for years. Approximately 400 Navajos worked there.

Larry Anderson Sr., now a member of the Navajo Nation Council representing Fort Defiance, was there from the beginning until the end of the siege.

The incident began about a month before AIM members occupied the building, he said.

He was called to a meeting of plant workers who complained about low pay, sexual harassment, and the Maine-based company's refusal to promote Navajos into the higher-paying management positions.

Violations of human rights (sub)

"They were talking about violations of human rights and not being happy about the way they were being treated," said Anderson, who at that time was a treasurer for the national AIM organization.

The employees had been talking to the Navajo government for months and not getting anywhere so they decided to call in AIM to see what they could do.

Fairchild made electronic assembly parts and employed hundreds of Navajos under a federal program that paid half of their salaries during the training period.

But many of the workers claimed the company was exploiting them and the federal government. They said once their training period was over and they went on the Fairchild payroll, the company would fire people for the slightest infraction and replace them with a new trainee whose salary was 50 percent paid by the federal subsidy.

Anderson contacted AIM leaders like John Trudell and the group decided to take over the plant.

About 15 mostly non-Navajo activists crept into the plant around 3 a.m. on a Sunday morning.

When asked why more Navajos didn't participate in the actual takeover, Anderson said many were afraid to lose their jobs and maybe their lives. So they relied on non-Navajos, many of whom had been involved in takeovers like this in other areas of the country.

Guards lay down weapons (sub)

The siege began peacefully, Anderson said.

Plant guards laid down their weapons and asked for permission to leave, which was granted. Anderson and the others took over the building.

By daybreak hundreds of Navajos congregated outside the plant looking at the AIM members, armed with rifles, patrolling the roof and outskirts of the plant.

It was an impressive show, but Anderson said many of those holding rifles weren't used to weapons so AIM leaders had them keep their rifles unloaded. Ammunition was kept at hand, however, in case the National Guard or law enforcement officials made an attempt to take back the plant by force.

That never happened. The takeover would remain peaceful and no one was injured.

By Tuesday, Trudell was on the scene and Navajo workers as well as residents of Shiprock were still camped outside the plant in a show of support.

Throughout the six-day protest, plant management as well as top-ranking officials for Fairchild stayed away.

Moving overseas (sub)

What Anderson and AIM didn't know was that Fairchild officials already were discussing plans to close the Shiprock plant and move the operation overseas where they could pay workers as little as a couple of dollars a day.

Fairchild couldn't implement the plan directly because it had a lease with the tribe, and a breach-of-contract lawsuit could have cost the company big bucks. The AIM takeover, however, provided an excuse to say the lease was broken.

While Fairchild officials waited quietly for events to play into their hands, then-tribal chairman Peter MacDonald Sr. tried to mediate the dispute.

On Wednesday, the fourth day of the siege, Samuel Pete, MacDonald's chief of staff, phoned the plant and asked Anderson if he would meet with MacDonald. Anderson agreed so early Thursday morning a tribal vehicle came to the Fairchild gates and picked up Anderson and a couple of the other AIM leaders.

Back in Window Rock, MacDonald was trying to figure out a way to end the takeover for fear it would escalate into violence.

In meetings with the press earlier in the week, he had agreed that the workers had valid concerns but said taking over the plant was not the way to go.

By Thursday, MacDonald's legal advisers had told him of the possibility that Fairchild would not reopen the plant. He was also told that the takeover would put a major damper on future tribal efforts to get other companies to set up plants on the reservation.

So MacDonald wanted a way to end the standoff without coming down hard on the workers.

Anderson said he and MacDonald met and he talked to MacDonald about the workers' concerns, MacDonald told Anderson he needed to talk to members of the council's Advisory Committee who were meeting that day across the street.

Workers end standoff (sub)

Anderson told committee members why the takeover had taken place and the concerns of the workers. The committee asked him to leave the plant.

"I told them that it was the workers who asked us to get involved and we would be there until the workers asked us to leave," Anderson said.

He went back to the plant and tribal officials met with plant workers to urge them to allow the tribal government a chance to get their concerns addressed.

Finally, early Saturday the workers agreed with the tribe and asked AIM to end its occupation of the plant. Anderson and the others left later in the day without incident, turning the plant over to law enforcement authorities.

"When we walked out, we had a big pep rally," Anderson said.

Everyone waited to see what would happen next.

Fairchild, as feared, used the pretext to declare the lease broken, abandoned the building, and moved the jobs overseas.

MacDonald deployed tribal labor officials to Shiprock to help Fairchild employees file for unemployment benefits and to encourage the ex-workers to get training so they could find other jobs.

But there were no other jobs to be had. And although tribal officials said they were trying to find someone else to use the plant and create jobs, almost 25 years passed before someone moved into the plant on a permanent basis.

For decades, Navajo officials used the Fairchild takeover to explain why no major employers have set up operations on the reservation but Anderson said he feels this was just the tribe trying to lay the blame on AIM for its own inability to address economic development concerns.

"There was no real economic development going on before the takeover so how can you blame the takeover for the fact that there was none afterwards?" Anderson said.

Today, the effects of the long-ago incident are over.

Pat Sandoval, chief of staff for President Joe Shirley Jr., said the Fairchild takeover has no effect today on companies coming to the reservation.

The problem now is the red tape that is required for a new business to open on the Navajo Reservation, he said.

Quote of the Day

"Cherokee blood, if not destroyed, will win its course in beings of fair complexions, who will read that their ancestors became civilized under the frowns of misfortunes, and the causes of their enemies..."

~~John Ridge "Skah-tle-loh-skee", Cherokee (1804-1839)

A Nation Rocked To Sleep...

Please visit Gold Star Families for Peace


A Nation Rocked to sleep

by Carly Sheehan
Brother Casey KIA 04/04/04
Sadr City Baghdad

Have you ever heard the sound of a mother screaming for her son?
The torrential rains of a mother's weeping will never be done
They call him a hero, you should be glad that he's one, but
Have you ever heard the sound of a mother screaming for her son?

Have you ever heard the sound of a father holding back his cries?
He must be brave because his boy died for another man's lies
The only grief he allows himself are long, deep sighs
Have you ever heard the sound of a father holding back his cries?

Have you ever heard the sound of taps played at your brother's grave?
They say that he died so that the flag will continue to wave
But I believe he died because they had oil to save
Have you ever heard the sound of taps played at your brother's grave?

Have you ever heard the sound of a nation being rocked to sleep?
The leaders want to keep you numb so the pain won't be so deep
But if we the people let them continue another mother will weep
Have you ever heard the sound of a nation being rocked to sleep?

Media Manipulation




Beginning in January 1975, the Senate Select Committee to Study
Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities, known as the "Church Committee" (named after its chairman Frank Church), took public and private testimony from hundreds of people, collected huge volumes of files from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and many other federal agencies, and issued 14 reports.

Since the passage of the JFK Assassination Records Collection Act in
1992, over 50,000 pages of Church Committee records have been declassified and made available to the public. These files contain testimony and information on the FBI's counter- intelligence programs and related topics.

As discovered by the Church Committee and reported in 1976,
the goals of the COounterINTELligence PROgrams of the period from 1956 to the mid-1970s were to "expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit, or
otherwise neutralize" those persons or organizations that the FBI decided were "enemies of the State."

The COINTELPROs were designed to "disrupt" groups and "neutralize"
individuals deemed to be threats to domestic security. The law - in
particular, the U.S. Constitution - was simply ignored. There was a
general attitude that intelligence needs were responsive to a higher law. According to the Church Committee: "Whatever opinion one holds about the policies of the targeted groups, many of the tactics employed by the FBI were indisputably degrading to a free society."

One of the most effective tactics used, as documented by the Church
Committee, was the use by the Bureau of the media to not only impact on the public image of the FBI, but also to disrupt the public communication channels of targeted individuals and dissident groups, as well as spread mis- information about them so as to adversely affect public perceptions and attitudes.


+ Planting a series of derogatory articles about Martin Luther
King, Jr., and the Poor People's Campaign. In anticipation of the 1968
"Poor People's March on Washington, DC," Bureau Headquarters granted authority to furnish "cooperative news media sources" an article "designed to curtail success of Martin Luther King's fund raising." Another memorandum illustrated how "photographs of demonstrators" could be used in discrediting the civil rights movement. Six photographs of participants in the poor people's campaign in Cleveland accompanied the memorandum with the following note attached: "These [photographs] show the militant aggressive appearance of the participants and might be of interest to a cooperative news source." Information on the Poor People's Campaign was provided by the
FBI to friendly reporters on the condition that "the Bureau must not be
revealed as the source."

+ Soliciting information from Field Offices "on a continuing basis" for "prompt... dissemination to the news media... to discredit the New Left movement and its adherents." The Headquarters directive requested,
among other things, that specific data should be furnished depicting
"the scurrilous and depraved nature, of many of the characters, activities, habits, and living conditions representative of New Left adherents... Every avenue of possible embarrassment must be vigorously and enthusiastically explored."

+ Ordering Field Offices to gather information which would disprove allegations by the "liberal press, the bleeding hearts, and the forces on the left" that the Chicago police used undue force in dealing with demonstrators at the 1968 Democratic Convention.

+ Taking advantage of a close relationship with the Chairman of
the Board - described in an FBI memorandum as "our good
friend" - of a magazine with national circulation to influence articles
that related to the FBI. For example, through this relationship, the
Bureau: "squelched" an "unfavorable article against the Bureau" written by a freelance writer about an FBI investigation; "postponed publication" of an article on another FBI case; "forestalled publication" of an article by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.; and received information about proposed editing of King's articles.

As these instances demonstrate, the FBI has covertly influenced the
public's perception of persons and organizations by disseminating derogatory information to the press, either anonymously or through "friendly" news contacts. The impact of those articles is generally difficult to measure, although in some cases there are fairly direct connections to injury to the target. Beginning immediately after the shoot-out at Oglala, in force during his trial, and continuing into recent history, this is particularly true in the case of Leonard Peltier. Yes, this tactic continues to be used against Peltier today.

Executive Clemency

In 1993, Leonard Peltier requested Executive Clemency from
then President Clinton. Peltier's petition was not seriously
investigated or considered until the year 2000.

In 1999-2000, an intensive campaign was launched - supported
by Native and human rights organizations, members of Congress, community and church groups, labor organizations, luminaries,
and celebrities. The Peltier case became a national issue.

On November 7, 2000, during a live radio interview, Clinton stated that
he would seriously consider Peltier's request for clemency and make a
decision before leaving office on January 20, 2001.

In response, the FBI launched a major "disinformation" campaign in the
media, and among key government officials and members of Congress.

Many citizens were highly disturbed by a number of public statements
and actions by various FBI officers in 1999-2000. These officials, by the
way, publicly announced that their one and only goal was to block the
release of Mr. Peltier, whether through parole or clemency.

At the outset, the propriety of members of the Department of Justice
(DOJ) engaging in such a public campaign was questionable. Parole and clemency decisions are largely determined at various branches of the Justice Department and neutrality and fairness in the handling of such matters must be above reproach. Having members of one branch of the Department engaged in vigorous lobbying on these matters (to Congress and the American people) certainly raised serious questions.

Many of the statements made by DOJ officials during the Peltier clemency campaign (and since) were false, intentionally misleading,
or omitted highly relevant information with the intent of deceiving the
public. Still other statements were highly emotional and dramatic, if
not near hysterical, in nature. These constant declarations were clearly
intended to misinform the public and create an atmosphere of fear and
confusion, all with the goal of depriving Mr. Peltier of a fair and
reasoned consideration of his legal requests for parole and clemency.

Most notable, in November 1999, during efforts by a number of Mr.
Peltier's supporters to disseminate information and increase public awareness about his case, the Federal Bureau of Investigation Agents Association placed a large paid advertisement in the Washington Post. This ad intended to mislead the public and obstruct full and fair consideration of Peltier's parole and clemency requests with statements that were inappropriate, inaccurate, deceptive, and inflammatory.

Similar public statements were made by individual FBI agents, as well
as theorganizers of a Web site dedicated to denying a fair consideration of Mr. Peltier's requests for parole.

But nothing was more bizarre than the event of December 15, 2000. In an unprecedented event, over 500 FBI agents marched in front of the White House to oppose clemency for Leonard Peltier. The agents claimed to be exercising their First Amendment rights and argued they were acting as private citizens on their own time despite the fact that this march took place during standard business hours. FBI agents are law enforcement officers, it should be remembered. As such, they are generally considered to be always on duty. They also are officers of the court and on ethical grounds should have refrained from out-of-court communication, verbal or otherwise.

The marchers risked disciplinary action (which never materialized,
despite the concerns of then Attorney General Janet Reno) for one purpose, we believe, i.e., to garner media attention. Indeed, the media paid special attention to the staged event, with segments airing on evening news programs of all the major television networks. There appeared to have been a news blackout, however, with regard to the event five days earlier when THOUSANDS of people marched in support of Leonard Peltier in front of the United Nations building in New York City.

All of the above tactics proved successful. Despite indications from
the White House that clemency was imminent, on January 20, 2001, the list of clemencies granted by Clinton was released to the media. Without explanation, Peltier's name had been excluded.

Continuing Media Manipulation

State ethics rules prohibit prejudicial statements by attorneys in a
case. These rules apply in both state and federal court, and to prosecutors and defense attorneys alike. The Supreme Court in Gentile v. State Bar of Nevada noted that "[f]ew interests under the Constitution are more fundamental than the right to a fair trial by impartial jurors," and such ethics rules are necessary to uphold that right.

The American Bar Association's Model Rule 3.6, on Trial Publicity, sets
the standard. It prohibits an attorney who is participating in a case
investigation or litigation - as well as any lawyer in the same firm or
government agency - from making an out-of-court statement that would have the substantial likelihood of prejudicing "an adjudicative proceeding"
in the matter.

In early February 2004, a murder trial was held in Rapid City, South
Dakota. Arlo Looking Cloud was charged in the murder of Anna Mae Pictou Aquash in 1976.

During the trial, it is true that the U.S. prosecutor refrained from
making out-of-court statements. However, the majority of the testimony presented by the U.S. prosecutor during the four- day trial concerned the American Indian Movement (AIM), in general, and Leonard Peltier, in particular, and had no relevance to the government's case.

There is no ethics rule to prevent in-court statements. Reporters
observing the trial were treated to a barrage of prejudicial information that served to sensationalize the proceedings. This clearly had an effect on jurors, but we believe the real target audience was the media and, by extension, the American public.

The style and content of the articles published by the media during the
February trial of Arlo Looking Cloud were alarmingly similar to those
published by the media at the request of particular FBI agents during
Peltier supporters' campaign for Executive Clemency in 1999-2001.

Since the Looking Cloud trial, the media mentions about Peltier have increased, as well as highlighted and exaggerated the testimony given during the trial, to the extent that now it is claimed that Peltier may have ordered the murder of Annie Mae.

What the media does not report is that Leonard Peltier simply did not
have the authority within AIM to order any such action. At the alleged time of the murder, Peltier was himself a prisoner in a Canadian prison and mostly isolated from the happenings in South Dakota. Leonard did not learn many of the details of Annie Mae's death until he was extradited to the United States in December 1976, nearly one year after her murder occurred. Leonard Peltier simply had nothing whatsoever to do with Anna Mae Aquash's murder.


Nearly 30 years after the incident at Oglala, the FBI and government
prosecutors still engage in vengeful acts. They carefully avoided
out-of-court statements this past year, However, they did use actual
court proceedings, primarily for the benefit of the media, to intentionally provide as fact false information to the public on AIM and Leonard Peltier. This has the effect of rewriting history with regard to AIM, in general, and Leonard Peltier, in particular, so as to prejudice the public against them. The sensational claims of witnesses - some of them paid informants - were widely reported in the press. As other prosecutions with respect to the Aquash murder are pending, such behavior has the appearance of having been done for the purpose of prejudicing the public against AIM in a state where anti-AIM sentiment and racism against Native Americans already runs very high. In our considered opinion, these actions have been taken to influence the outcome of pending federal prosecutions by potentially poisoning the jury pool, as well as destroy support for Peltier and prevent his release on parole in 2008.


20 February 2005

New Low in Moral Values...

Bush's Budget Reflects New Low in Moral Values
   "Budgets are moral documents, revealing our true priorities."
   – Jim Wallis, "God's Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left
Doesn't Get It"
   We liberals have screwed up.

   You know how? We've allowed the debate about moral values to be defined by the Religious Right.

   By their definition, there are only two moral issues: abortion and gay
marriage. All other aspects of our society – poverty, health care, war, the environment – have been left out of the discussion.

   They shouldn't be. They are all moral issues, as Jim Wallis points out
in his book "God's Politics," a must-read for us all. We might even
discover common ground through this brilliant theologian.

   If we expand the debate about morality, as Wallis suggests, we must look at how we spend money. How is our morality reflected in our spending priorities?

   Examined in that light, Bush's proposed budget is one of the most
immoral documents ever produced in our nation's history. It bolsters greed even as it cuts off help for the poor, the sick, the disabled, our school children, our veterans and our elderly.

   Consider the following items in Bush's budget:
   A cut in food stamps for the poor by $1.1 billion over the next decade, which means hunger. Allowing people to be hungry is immoral.
   The elimination of school funding in areas like gifted and talented
programs, vocational education, literacy and anti-drug efforts. That's bad public policy, and it makes a lie of No Child Left Behind. Immoral.
   A 50 percent cut in the rental assistance program for people with
disabilities. Sorry. Letting the crippled and blind go homeless is immoral.
   A freeze on funds for veterans' health care despite rising costs and the newly wounded. Breaking promises to our soldiers is immoral.
   A $60 billion cut in Medicaid for the poor, which means one of two
things – sick people without care or higher local taxes to offset Bush's
cuts. Immoral.
   A reduction of $80 million in heating subsidies for the poor, which
means cold people. A lot of them are elderly. That means old, cold people. Meanwhile, the oil barons are jacking up oil prices. Immoral.

   There's also the extra $81 billion Bush is planning to spend this year
on his war. That's not even in the budget. It's "extra."

   I'm no math genius, but I do know that when I spend money that's not part of my budget, I have to put it on a credit card. That's called a debt– or maybe it's a deficit. I don't know the difference, but it all sounds like "owing money to someone else."

   And if I drop dead carrying a huge debt, I'll just be passing a major
IOU on to my boys. That's immoral. I want to leave them with an
inheritance, not a debt.

   And I want to leave them well-tended property, not a run-down mess. Bush's plan to slash funds for the Environmental Protection Agency creates garbage for our kids to clean up. Immoral.

   And then there's the moral values kicker: Greed.

   At the same time Bush is turning his back on the poor, he's asking
Congress to make permanent his tax breaks for the rich. The old lady in the unheated apartment next door might be eating dog food and cutting her blood pressure pills in half, but by God the multimillionaires deserve a break. They've got pools to heat, vacations to take and champagne to drink.

   In the Bible, caring for the poor is the most important moral (and
political) issue. Individuals as well as entire cultures are judged by how
well they take care of those who can't take care of themselves. By that
measure, America was once a very moral society.

   Not any more. The weird, uptight Religious Right has hijacked the moral values issue, narrowing the debate to gay sex and unwanted pregnancies. And their president has hijacked the treasury for a spending plan that reflects corrupt morals and incomplete values.

   It's time for the rest of us to redefine the debate.
   Beth Quinn's column appears on Monday. Talk to her at 345-3147 or at bquinn@th-record.com.

Tsunami Proves "Myth" To Be Real

Tsunami Uncovers Ancient City in India

MAHABALIPURAM, India - Archaeologists have begun underwater
excavations of what is believed to be an ancient city and parts of a
temple uncovered by the tsunami off the coast of a centuries-old
pilgrimage town.

Three rocky structures with elaborate carvings of animals have
emerged near the coastal town of Mahabalipuram, which was battered by the Dec. 26 tsunami.

As the waves receded, the force of the water removed sand deposits
that had covered the structures, which appear to belong to a port
city built in the seventh century, said T. Satyamurthy, a senior
archaeologist with the Archaeological Survey of India.

Mahabalipuram is already well known for its ancient, intricately
carved shore temples that have been declared a World Heritage site
and are visited each year by thousands of Hindu pilgrims and
tourists. According to descriptions by early British travel writers,
the area was also home to seven pagodas, six of which were submerged by the sea.

The government-run archaeological society and navy divers began
underwater excavations of the area on Thursday.

"The tsunami has exposed a bas relief which appears to be part of a
temple wall or a portion of the ancient port city. Our excavations
will throw more light on these," Satyamurthy told The Associated
Press by telephone from Madras, the capital of Tamil Nadu state.

The six-foot rocky structures that have emerged in Mahabalipuram, 30
miles south of Madras, include an elaborately carved head of an
elephant and a horse in flight. Above the elephant's head is a small
square-shaped niche with a carved statue of a deity. Another
structure uncovered by the tsunami has a reclining lion sculpted on

According to archaeologists, lions, elephants and peacocks were
commonly used to decorate walls and temples during the Pallava period in the seventh and eighth centuries.

"These structures could be part of the legendary seven pagodas. With
the waters receding and the coastline changing, we expect some more
edifices to be exposed," Satyamurthy said.

The Warrior Tradition

Gov. Scharzenegger and others should remember this the next time they get ready to hold court on how NDNs don't "pull their weight..."


American Indian Uphold Warrior Tradition (Archive) thestate.com
Published on: 11/10/2004

Robert Chastain's grandfather used to tell him and his brothers tales about warriors from before the Trail of Tears removal of Southeastern Cherokees through World War II.

"These stories, I have never forgotten," Chastain said. "So when it was my time to become a soldier, I went without hesitation. It was more a matter of honor within myself than anything else."

A student of history might find it difficult to understand why American Indians sign up for the U.S. military in greater numbers per capita than any other ethnic group.

For generations, the federal government forced them from their ancestral homes, herded them onto reservations and tried to wipe out their cultural heritage.

But that heritage survived in their hearts and spirits, which in large part explains why so many American Indians volunteer to fight for their country.

"There is something inside, so to speak, that makes us want to prove ourselves as warriors," said Chastain, a 53-year-old Cherokee from Anderson who served in the Navy in Vietnam.

In that respect, Chastain is typical of the nearly 190,000 American Indian military veterans. There's no denying that poor economic and educational conditions play a role. American Indians volunteer for military service to improve their lot in life. But there's something deeper that factors into it.

"We've got this warrior thing ingrained in us," said Buster Hatcher, 55, a Waccamaw chief from Aynor. "It doesn't make sense (considering past mistreatment of Native Americans), but I look at it as my country, and most other Native American people do, too."

Even before American Indians became full-fledged U.S. citizens in 1924, about 12,000 of them served in the U.S. military during World War I.

"The warriors of over 500 nations enlisted in the armed forces and gave up their lives in the first and second World Wars, Korea, Vietnam and lately the Gulf War," said American Indian historian Will Goins. "Even today our Native American Indian brothers and sisters are fighting the war on terrorism."

After generations of assimilation, American Indians aren't always easy for others to identify. Chastain, for instance, said he remembers his heritage coming up in Vietnam "only because of my rather odd way of praying and 'listening' to the woods speak."

His close buddies who knew of his heritage let him take the lead in the Vietnamese jungle. "I think some of the things that I had learned in my growing up years sort of rubbed off on 'em," he said.

American Indian service members seldom gathered in groups during their military years. But in recent years, many from South Carolina have marched together in a unit during the Veterans Day parade in Columbia.

For Hatcher, it's the highlight of the year. He faced discrimination because of his dark skin growing up in the Pee Dee and he was spit on by protesters when he returned to Scott Air Force Base in Illinois after being injured in Vietnam. But when he marches down Main Street in that parade, people on the sidewalks cheer.

"It's heart-warming," Hatcher said. "It gives you the chills."

American Indian culture doesn't wait for the yearly parade to celebrate its fighters. Nearly every time they gather, they perform some ritual honoring their warriors.

Chastain told of a non-American Indian soldier home on leave from Afghanistan who was invited to join an Indian dance. Women escorted him into the circle, the elder presented him a knife and a blanket, and the other veterans invited him to dance with them.

"That young man walked out of that circle proud, with honor and with tears running down his face," Chastain said.

The group has shown him why American Indians so willingly serve.

"Any man or woman willing to lay down their life, put their future on hold . . . in order to serve their country," Chastain said, "should always be honored as a true warrior."

The Poor...

That Have Not Been Asked: ten dispatches about endurance in face of walls
John Berger
16 - 2 - 2005

“The worst cruelties of life are its killing injustices.” John Berger on poverty, desire, storytelling, and the future’s gift to the present.


The wind got up in
the night and took our plans away.
(Chinese proverb)


The poor have no residence. They have homes because they remember mothers or grandfathers or an aunt who brought them up. A residence is a fortress, not a story; it keeps the wild at bay. A residence needs walls. Nearly everyone among the poor dreams of a small residence, like dreaming of rest. However great the congestion, the poor live in the open, where they improvise, not residences, but places for themselves. These places are as much protagonists as their occupants; the places have their own lives to live and do not, like residences, wait on others. The poor live with the wind, with dampness, flying dust, silence, unbearable noise (sometimes with both; yes, that’s possible!) with ants, with large animals, with smells coming from the earth, rats, smoke, rain, vibrations from elsewhere, rumours, nightfall, and with each other. Between the inhabitants and these presences there are no clear marking lines. Inextricably confounded, they together make up the place’s life.

Twilight was setting in; the sky wrapped in cool grey fog, was already being closed off by darkness; and the wind, after spending the day rustling stubble and bare bushes that had gone dead in preparation for winter, now lay itself down in still low places on the earth...

The poor are collectively unseizable. They are not only the majority on the planet, they are everywhere and the smallest event speaks of them. This is why the essential activity of the rich today is the building of walls – walls of concrete, of electronic surveillance, of missile barrages, minefields, frontier controls, and opaque media screens.


The lives of the poor are mostly grief, interrupted by moments of illumination. Each life has its own propensity for illumination and no two are the same. (Conformism is a habit cultivated by the well-off.) Illuminated moments arrive by way of tenderness and love – the consolation of being recognised and needed and embraced for being what one suddenly is! Other moments are illuminated by an intuition, despite everything, that the human species serves for something.

“Nazar tell me something or other – something more important than anything.”

Aidym turned down the wick in the lamp in order to use less paraffin. She understood that, since there was something or other in life that was more important than anything, it was essential to take care of every good that there was.

“I don’t know the thing that really matters, Aidym,” said Chagataev. “ I haven’t thought about it, I’ve never had time. But if we’ve both of us been born, then there must be something in us that really matters.”

Aidym agreed: “A little that does matter... and a lot that doesn’t.”

Aidym prepared supper. She took a flat bread out of a sack, spread it with sheep’s fat and broke it in half. She gave Chagataev the big half, and took the small half herself. They silently chewed their food by the weak light of the lamp. In the Ust-Yurt and the desert it was quiet, uncertain and dark.”


From time to time despair enters into the lives which are mostly grief. Despair is the emotion which follows a sense of betrayal. A hope against hope (which is still far from a promise) collapses or is collapsed; despair fills the space in the soul which was occupied by that hope. Despair has nothing to do with nihilism.

Nihilism, in its contemporary sense, is the refusal to believe in any scale of priorities beyond the pursuit of profit, considered as the end-all of social activity, so that, precisely: everything has its price. Nihilism is resignation before the contention that Price is all. It is the most current form of human cowardice. But not one to which the poor often succumb.

He began to pity his body and his bones; his mother had once gathered them together for him from the poverty of her flesh – not because of love and passion, not for pleasure, but out of the most everyday necessity. He felt as if he belonged to others, as if he were the last possession of those who have no possessions, about to be squandered to no purpose, and he was seized by the greatest, most vital fury of his life.

[A word of explanation about these quotations. They are from the stories of the great Russian writer, Andrei Platonov (1899-1951). He wrote about the poverty which occurred during the civil war and later during the forced collectivisation of Soviet agriculture in the early 1930s. What made this poverty unlike more ancient poverties was the fact that its desolation contained shattered hopes. It fell to the ground exhausted, it got to its feet, it staggered, it marched on amongst shards of betrayed promises and smashed words. Platonov often used the term dushevny bednyak, which means literally poor souls. It referred to those from whom everything had been taken so that the emptiness within them was immense and in that immensity only their soul was left – that’s to say their ability to feel and suffer. His stories do not add to the grief being lived, they save something. “Out of our ugliness will grow the world’s heart”, he wrote in the early 1920s.

The world today is suffering another form of modern poverty. No need to quote the figures; they are widely known and repeating them again only makes another wall of statistics. Perhaps as much as a third of the world’s population live with less than $2 a day. Local cultures with their partial remedies – both physical and spiritual – for some of life’s afflictions are being systematically destroyed or attacked. The new technology and means of communication, the free market economy, productive abundance, parliamentary democracy, are failing, so far as the poor are concerned, to keep any of their promises beyond that of the supply of certain cheap consumerist goods, which the poor can buy when they steal.

Platonov understood living modern poverty more deeply than any other storyteller I have come across.]


The secret of storytelling amongst the poor is the conviction that stories are told so that they may be listened to elsewhere, where somebody, or perhaps a legion of people, know better than the storyteller or the story’s protagonists, what life means. The powerful can’t tell stories: boasts are the opposite of stories, and any story however mild has to be fearless and the powerful today live nervously.

A story refers life to an alternative and more final judge who is far away. Maybe the judge is located in the future, or in the past that is still attentive, or maybe somewhere over the hill, where the day’s luck has changed (the poor have to refer often to bad or good luck) so that the last have become first.

Story-time (the time within a story) is not linear. The living and the dead meet as listeners and judges within this time, and the greater the number of listeners felt to be there, the more intimate the story becomes to each listener. Stories are one way of sharing the belief that justice is imminent. And for such a belief, children, women and men will fight at a given moment with astounding ferocity. This is why tyrants fear storytelling: all stories somehow refer to the story of their fall.

Wherever he went, he only had to promise to tell a story and people would take him in for the night: a story’s stronger than a Tsar. There was just one thing: if he began telling stories before the evening meal, no-one ever felt hungry and he didn’t get anything to eat. So the old soldier always asked for a bowl of soup first.


The worst cruelties of life are its killing injustices. Almost all promises are broken. The poor’s acceptance of adversity is neither passive nor resigned. It’s an acceptance which peers behind the adversity and discovers there something nameless. Not a promise, for (almost) all promises are broken; rather something like a bracket, a parenthesis in the otherwise remorseless flow of history. And the sum total of these parentheses is eternity.

This can be put the other way round: on this earth there is no happiness without a longing for justice.

Happiness is not something to be pursued, it is something met, an encounter. Most encounters, however, have a sequel; this is their promise. The encounter with happiness has no sequel. All is there instantly. Happiness is what pierces grief.

We thought there was nothing left in the world, that everything had disappeared long ago. And if we were the only ones left, what was the point of living?

“We went to check”, said Allah. “‘Were there any other people anywhere? We wanted to know.”

Chagataev understood them and asked if this meant they were now convinced about life and wouldn’t be dying any more.

“Dying’s no use”, said Cherkezov. “To die once – now you might think that’s something necessary and useful. But dying once doesn’t help you to understand your own happiness – and no one gets the chance to die twice. So dying gets you nowhere.”


“Whilst the rich drank tea and ate mutton, the poor were waiting for the warmth and for the plants to grow.”

The difference between seasons, as also the difference between night and day, shine and rain, is vital. The flow of time is turbulent. The turbulence makes life-times shorter – both in fact and subjectively. Duration is brief. Nothing lasts. This is as much a prayer as a lament.

(The mother) was grieving that she had died and forced her children to mourn for her; if she could have, she would have gone on living forever so that nobody should suffer on her account, or waste, on her account, the heart and the body to which she had given birth....but the mother had not been able to stand living for very long.”

Death occurs when life has no scrap left to defend.


“....it was as if she were alone in the world, free from happiness and sorrow, and she wanted to dance a little, right away, to listen to music, to hold hands with other people....”

They are accustomed to living in close proximity with one another, and this creates its own spatial sense; space is not so much an emptiness as an exchange. When people are living on top of one another, any action taken by one has repercussions on the others. Immediate physical repercussions. Every child learns this.

There is a ceaseless spatial negotiation which may be considerate or cruel, conciliating or dominating, unthinking or calculated, but which recognises that an exchange is not something abstract but a physical accommodation. Their elaborate sign languages of gestures and hands are an expression of such physical sharing. Outside the walls collaboration is as natural as fighting; scams are current, and intrigue, which depends upon taking a distance, is rare. The word private has a totally different ring on the two sides of the wall. On one side it denotes property; on the other an acknowledgement of the temporary need of someone to be left, as if alone, for a while. Every site inside the walls is rentable – every square metre counted; every site outside risks to become a ruin – every sheltering corner counted.

The space of choices is also limited. They choose as much as the rich, perhaps more, for each choice is starker. There are no colour charts which offer a choice between one hundred and seventy different shades. The choice is close-up – between this or that. Often it is made vehemently, for it entails the refusal of what has not been chosen. Each choice is quite close to a sacrifice. And the sum of the choices is a person’s destiny.


No development (the word has a capital D as an article of faith on the other side of the walls) no insurance. Neither an open future nor an assured future exist. The future is not awaited. Yet there is continuity; generation is linked to generation. Hence a respect for age since the old are a proof of this continuity – or even a demonstration that once, long ago, a future existed. Children are the future. The future is the ceaseless struggle to see that they have enough to eat and the sometimes-chance of their learning with education what the parents never learnt.

“When they finished talking, they threw their arms around each other. They wanted to be happy right away, now, sooner than their future and zealous work would bring results in personal and in general happiness. The heart brooks no delay, it sickens, as if believing in nothing.”

Here the future’s unique gift is desire. The future induces the spurt of desire towards itself. The young are more flagrantly young than on the other side of the wall. The gift appears as a gift of nature in all its urgency and supreme assurance. Religious and community laws still apply. Indeed amongst the chaos which is more apparent than real, these laws become real. Yet the silent desire for procreation is incontestable and overwhelming. It is the same desire that will forage for food for the children and then seek, sooner or later, (best sooner) the consolation of fucking again. This is the future’s gift.


The multitudes have answers to questions which have not yet been asked, and the capacity to outlive the walls. Trace tonight her (his) hairline with your two fingers before you sleep.

The quotations in this article come from:

* Andrei Platonov, Soul (translated by Robert Chandler, Elizabeth Chandler and Olga Meerson; Harvill 2003)
* Andrei Platonov, The Portable Platonov (translated by Robert Chandler; Glas, 1999)
* Andrei Platonov, The Fierce and Beautiful World (translated by Joseph Barnes; NYRB, 2000)