Message from Leonard Peltier to Day of Mourning

Statement of Leonard Peltier read by Bert Waters at National Day of Mourning, Plymouth, Mass., Nov. 23.

Greetings my friends, relatives and supporters. Once again, I can’t tell you how much I am so honored that you would want to hear my words, or should I say read my words. You can’t imagine the thoughts that go through my head at times whenever everything is still and quiet in the night, when I lie there staring into the dark with daydreams of how things could possibly be better.

I know I’ve said this once before in some past statement years back. However, it comes to my thoughts how the term “day of mourning” makes me think of a reverse, as in the morning of a new day, and how one term refers to those caught up in a deep sorrow and how the other term is a promise of a new beginning with the rising of the sun.

In our traditions and culture most tribal nations historically did a mourning period of one year for the deceased. However, for us during this point in time, we are continually losing our people, and especially our young people, and our women who continually disappear with no trace. Our lands are constantly violated. The air, the water, the soil, all of nature is screaming against the injustice that is continually perpetrated by those who worship money.

So in essence I want to say in the loudest voice and the most sincere voice I can possibly speak, we don’t have a DAY of mourning. We have GENERATIONS of mourning year after year. I don’t know what I can do further from where I’m at, but in whatever way possible I want to add my scream to the scream of the earth and the scream of our people for justice.

These ecological disasters caused by the wealthy must stop. Those people who are destroying the earth must realize that they ultimately will destroy themselves also. I know many of you have taken part in the prayer vigils and stood strong in the face of wrongful beatings and shootings and various other forms of violence, and I commend you for your bravery. Having said that, I want to encourage you to move forward to a new day. With each new day we need to rise to the occasion to defend what is right and do what we can to right what is wrong.

Our enemy is not any person of particular color. Our enemy is those who are ignorant of the reality that we are all an intricate part of the circle of life. We must arm ourselves with the knowledge it takes to bring attention to the wrongness of their thinking, the wrongness of their exploitation of our mother earth, and the wrongness of their mistreatment of the Indigenous peoples throughout our lands. I would encourage you to mourn if that is your way and do whatever length of time that is required by your teachings.

However, I sincerely encourage each one of you to take it upon yourself to become a warrior of one. Educate yourself. Find the knowledge it takes to survive and thrive in a good way. And to confront the ignorance of those who are destroying the natural. Confront them in such a way that they will come to know that to destroy the earth, to destroy our people, to continually ignore a philosophy and teachings that allowed this land to exist since the beginning of time in a beautiful natural existence, they will ultimately destroy themselves and all life.

Perhaps I’ve said too much. I don’t know your agenda. Obviously I have more time than you. I want to say in closing, I love you, I love that you’re here, I love that you want to make a difference and I will pray for you always. I further want to say you are making a difference. You have made a difference; power to the people and the earth.

If you have any questions about donations for my new legal team, please call our new office in Tampa, Fla., at 218-790-7667 and join us in the struggle for my freedom to join you here in person, a dream of mine for many years.

In the Spirit of Crazy Horse

Leonard Peltier

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