Leonard Peltier — a great-grandfather, artist, writer, & indigenous rights activist — is a citizen of the Anishinabe and Dakota/Lakota Nations who has been unjustly imprisoned since 1976.
A participant in the American Indian Movement, he went to assist the Oglala Lakota people on the Pine Ridge Reservation in the mid-70s where a tragic shoot-out occurred on June 26, 1975. Accused of the murder of two agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Peltier fled to Canada believing he would never receive a fair trial in the United States.
On February 6, 1976, Peltier was apprehended. The FBI knowingly presented the Canadian court with fraudulent affidavits, and Peltier was returned to the U.S. for trial.
Key witnesses were banned from testifying about FBI misconduct & testimony about the conditions and atmosphere on the Pine Ridge Reservation at the time of the shoot-out was severely restricted. Important evidence, such as conflicting ballistics reports, was ruled inadmissible. Still, the U.S. Prosecutor failed to produce a single witness who could identify Peltier as the shooter. Instead, the government tied a bullet casing found near the bodies of their agents to the alleged murder weapon, arguing that this gun had been the only one of its kind used during the shootout, and that it had belonged to Peltier.
Later, Mr. Peltier’s attorneys uncovered, in the FBI’s own documents, that more than one weapon of the type attributed to Peltier had been present at the scene and the FBI had intentionally concealed a ballistics report that showed the shell casing could not have come from the alleged murder weapon. Other troubling information emerged: the agents undoubtedly followed a red pickup truck onto the land where the shoot-out took place, not the red and white van driven by Peltier; and compelling evidence against several other suspects existed and was concealed.
At the time, however, the jury was unaware of these facts. Peltier was convicted and sentenced to two consecutive life terms. He is currently imprisoned at the U.S. Penitentiary in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania.
Leonard Peltier Nominated for 2007 Nobel Peace Prize
On April 3rd, 2007, the LPDC has received confirmation of Leonard Peltier’s official nomination for the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. This year 181 candidates have been registered. The name of the Prize recipient for 2007 will be announced in mid-October.
We want to thank the people who nominated Leonard for this prestigious award.
Leonard Peltier Defense Committee
We ask that supporters NOT send letters of support or recommendation to
the Nobel Peace Prize Committee as only selected individuals can nominate for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Leonard’s Human Rights Achievements
Advocate of peaceful resolution of all issues that deal with Native Americans; always taking a non-violent approach and argued for respect for rights of others.
Has helped several prisoners rehabilitate themselves by advocating drug and alcohol free life styles while encouraging pride and knowledge in their cultures and traditions.
Has been key in getting people from different tribes, with a history of animosity, to come together in peace.
Has worked with Dr. Steward Selkin of New York (ear, nose, and throat specialist) on efforts to restructure health delivery systems on reservations. A pilot program on Rosebud was undertaken in order to document needs and requirements for delivery and care. This is known as the Leonard Peltier Health Care Reform Package, and the ultimate intent is to fundamentally alter health care delivery on reservations throughout the US. Substance abuse programs are an important part of this program.
Has worked with professor Jeffery Timmons on a job creation/job training program to stimulate reservation based economics and investments in Native American business enterprises.
Also worked with Professor Timmons on a youth entrepreneur program for reservation kids to teach them to learn how to establish and run their own businesses.
In 1992 he established a scholarship at New York University for Native American students seeking law degrees.
Instrumental in the establishment and funding of a Washington (state) Native American newspaper by and for Native young people.
Has been the sponsoring father of two children in Childreach, one in El Salvador, and the other in Guatemala.
Has worked to have prisoners’ artwork displayed around the country and the world in art galleries in hopes of starting art programs for prisoners and increasing their self-confidence.
Has sponsored several clothing and toy drives for reservations.
Distributes to Head Start and halfway houses, as well as women’s centers.
Every year he has sponsored a Christmas gift drive for the children of Pine Ridge, SD. Organized and emergency food drive for the people of Pohlo, Mexico in response to the Acteal Massacre.
Serves on the board of the Rosenberg Fund for Children.
Donates his artwork to several human rights and social welfare organizations in order to help them raise funds. This most recently includes the ACLU, Trail of Hope (a Native American conference dealing with drug and alcohol addiction), World Peace and Prayer Day, the First Nation Student Association, and the Buffalo Trust Fund.
By donating his paintings to the Leonard Peltier Charitable Foundation, he was able to supply computers and educational supplies such as books and encyclopedias to libraries and families on Pine Ridge.
By donating his paintings to the LPCF, he was also able to raise substantial supplies for the people of Pine Ridge after last year’s devastating tornado hit and caused a multitude of damage on the reservation.
He has been widely recognized for his efforts and has won several human rights awards, including the North Star Frederick Douglas Award, Humanist of the Year Award, and the International Human Rights Prize.
Leonard Peltier in Solitary Confinement ~ August 10, 2011.