U.S. political prisoner Leonard Peltier released the following statement from prison on his 71st birthday.
September 12, 2015
Well, today is another b-day for me — my 71st. I had hoped I would not be here [in prison] at this age, but that’s not to be. So I have to take a deep breath and slowly let it out … and prepare myself for yet another day in here.
February 6th marks my 40th year in prison. How many of you know that when I was indicted a life sentence was seven years? I was sentenced to two life sentences, so with good time I have served six-plus life sentences. I suppose all of this time has taken its toll on my body. I have a number of different health issues that come with old age. The one I’m most concerned about is my prostate.
Otherwise, I’m still getting compliments on how good I look for my age (smile). People can be nice and say things that make me feel good once in awhile. But I’m told this so often that I’m starting to believe it (smile).
DID YOU KNOW THAT THE LAST TIME I WENT BEFORE THE PAROLE COMMISSION (2009), I WAS DENIED BECAUSE I LOOKED YOUNG AND HEALTHY. … AND A REASON GIVEN FOR DENYING ME PAROLE WAS THAT I MIGHT BE TOO MUCH OF AN INFLUENCE ON THE YOUNG NATIVES? YEAH, ONLY IN AMERICA.
And get this: In October 1984, when the Parole Commission was repealed by Congress, the commission was given six years to give me a parole date — all of us “old time” prisoners really (those convicted prior to 1984). Yes, this is all true. All you have to do is research it, and I bet you will come away shocked as hell that this can happen in your country. The Parole Commission is the only government agency that has been repealed and reinstated 35 days later without having to go through the normal congressional channels and signed into law by the president. How does this happen in a democracy?
I’ve been encouraged by things I’ve read recently though. And looking back … it’s been over 60 years, maybe a little longer. I was around seven or eight years old when I heard the old people talking about taking care of Mother Earth. But for me anyway, as with all young people, I did not really understand what they were trying to tell us. But I see today the traditionalists were correct and [American Indian Movement] People were right when we took it up as a rallying cry to the world.
Still, when we spoke out against the destruction of Mother Earth, we were called a bunch of nuts. Well, today, it is called climate change, and there are now millions of us crying out against the destruction of our Mother Earth. Amazing, huh? Thankfully I have lived this long and can see we just might win this war. I know it’s not over — far from it — but the world is waking up and talking about it now. So it can be won in our lifetime.
Well, People, I don’t know how much longer I have left on Mother Earth — or if I will even be around for the next few years — but I always hope and pray that I can be out there to spend my last few remaining years with you. If not, so be it. I have been in here too long to cry now. I just wish for more time to give to my People and to all freedom-loving People in the world.
Thanks again for all of the love you have shown me over these 40 years. You have all been worth it.
In the Spirit of Crazy Horse …