Peltier: ‘Recapture the freedoms we’ve lost’

Leonard Peltier

From greetings sent by Leonard Peltier, imprisoned leader of the American Indian Movement, to the Day of Mourning in Plymouth, Mass., on Nov. 22.

I’m saddened that we have to call this a Day of Mourning, but we must take every opportunity to remind this nation when it comes to keeping its word about treaties, about human rights, about the environment, about excess pollution — that it has failed miserably on all of those concerns. I also want to remind the major religions that speak about peace and love and brotherhood and are celebrating this thing called Thanksgiving, that we, the Native people of this land, realistically overall have nothing to truly be thankful about regarding the arrival of the Pilgrims.

And I would also like to remind the major various religions of this country that in all their teachings it says you reap what you sow. And if that is a true statement, if that is the law given by the Creator, then you have to only look around at the news of the day to see that that statement is coming to pass. This country is not keeping its solemn word under god that it gave regarding our treaties. And they don’t keep their own Scriptures that say not to bear false witness or lie. They’ve tried to keep us from honoring our fathers by destroying our culture. They violated their word where it says “thou shalt not kill,” violated every one of their commandments regarding our people in this land. And they will truly reap what they sow. …

I want to encourage all the young people to always remember that your health and the health of the earth are the most important things that you possess. And that self-discipline is the most important thing that you can learn. And taking responsibility for ourselves and our future is the most empowering thing that we can do. … Educate yourself to our true history, educate yourself to what is really going on today, and educate yourself as to what needs to be done to make a better tomorrow for yourselves and your children’s children, our future generations. …

We need each other. If I am ever to be free, I need you. And the truth is, none of us is truly free right now, because any people who is afraid of their government is not free. We all need to be warriors of one. Each needs to know how to defend themselves on any level. And as I’ve said before, we need to recapture the freedoms we’ve lost and protect the ones we still have.

In closing I want to encourage each and every one of you to stand up in your own way in whatever way you can for what’s right, try to right what’s wrong, and know that in my heart and in whatever way I can help you, that I will be with you. We need each other, you need each other, and we need the help of all peoples to correct this great damage that is taking place throughout the earth. Our battle is not with a race, a people, or a color, our battle is with ignorance and greed that is ruling the governments of men today.

In the spirit of Crazy Horse and all those beautiful people who have stood up for what’s right in the past, and the ones standing up now, stay strong and support one another,

Your Friend Always and in All Ways,

Leonard Peltier