Message to National Day of Mourning 2020 from Leonard Peltier

Greetings my relatives, friends, loved ones and supporters, 

First of all, I want to thank you for the privilege of being allowed to express my feelings about this “Day of Mourning,” as we call it, and “Day of Thanksgiving,” as the rest of the U.S. calls it. Sometimes I’m at a loss for words to express all the thoughts I have going on in my head after 45 years of imprisonment. 

I do want to express my appreciation for our ancestors before us, who fought so hard that we would live today. I want to express my feelings of remembrance for the ones who were overpowered by the weapons of war coming from Europe and the pandemics they faced. Though we have been attacked by the invaders from Europe, over and over in every way possible, and everything that has been done to destroy us, our culture and traditions, we still survived until today because we are an expression of the Creator’s Will and an expression of the Creator’s Truth. We are a manifestation of that truth, that all mankind should live within the boundaries of those laws. 

There is nothing that came from Europe that has made this portion of the Earth a better place to live, but like all nature, we have survived. And nature continues to survive, though mankind is on the edge of destroying itself. The truths that our people spoke of, the need to live in harmony with each other, the Creator, the Mother Earth, and respect one another’s approach to spirituality — when expressed by non-Indians becomes a sensation around the world. We must continue to speak our truth, to live our truth and to support one another, for there lies our survival. The most powerful weapons that we can obtain are knowledge of truth and love for one another, and the practice of that truth and love. 

We must unite and work together every chance we can and embrace all others who are of like mind and willing to work to correct this worldwide pandemic of greed and selfishness that has infected the whole earth and mankind. 

On this Day of Mourning, let us again remember our relatives before us, who fought every challenge imaginable that we might survive, and in our prayers say “Thanks for not giving up. Thanks for giving your lives that we might live.” And to all of you out there, I want to say thanks for not giving up on me and my quest for freedom. May the Creator bless you in every way. Your brother always, in all ways. 

In the Spirit of Crazy Horse and Resistance, 

Mitakuye Oyasin, 


Leonard Peltier

National Day of Mourning, Plymouth, Mass., Nov. 26.

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