Statement From Leonard for National Day of Mourning
Greeting my relatives, friends, and supporters,
It is with great honor that I get a chance to speak with you even though it’s a written message that someone has to read.
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 their word about treaties, about human rights, about the environment, about excess pollution – that it has failed miserably on all of those concerns. 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 also want to say that in the spirit of compassion and reason, and fairness, and forgiveness, that its never too late to turn things around. Actually I should say that’s not quite correct, it can be too late. There’s an old Cheyenne saying that a nation is never destroyed until the hearts of its women are on the ground. And if you look around you will see the decline of America. And it is entirely possible that that teaching is not far off. One thing as a people that we do have to be thankful for and thankful to the Creator only, we are still alive we are still a people. And we still know who we are, we still have a commitment to the Creator to protect this land, we still have a commitment to protect the laws of nature that were given unto us, to our ancestors. We are probably the only people on this continent that would be better off if this whole system fell apart. Because we possess the knowledge, the teaching and the culture to live in harmony with that which the Creator has given us.
I want to encourage all the young people, to always remember 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. Right now you are listening to my words the words of a man in prison for 30 something years. A man who has had limited contact and yet I am able to speak to you now. And the reason I am saying this is because with all the freedom that you do possess you could do so much more. 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.
Again I want to say I am just an ordinary man caught up in extraordinary circumstances. There is nothing that I have done or said that you cannot do or say and much better because you possess more freedom than I do. We need each other. If I am ever to be free, I need you. And the truth is, none of us are 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.
Again I want to thank you and in the spirit of crazy horse and all those beautiful people that 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,
Amy Goodman Interviews Leonard Peltier From Prison
Leonard’s Statement for Russell Means
October 22, 2012
Greetings my relatives and friends
I wish I was there to talk with you in person and share with you the sorrow that I feel with the passing of Russell Means, my brother, my friend, and inspiration on many levels. Russell Means will always be an icon whenever the American Indian Movement is spoken of and whenever people talk about the changes that took place, the changes that are taking place now for Indian people.
One thing about Russell I always remembered, and I think someone else once said it, you may have loved him, or you may have disliked him, but you couldn’t ignore him. I’ll always remember when an elder said one time, I was at a ceremony and I asked what this half shaped moon circle on the ground meant, and he said it was a symbol of the circle of life, the never ending of the circle of life, and I said there is only half a circle, and he said the other half was unseen, it is the spirit world. For Indian people it never ends, we don’t have a linear existence, so I know I will see Russell again, and I take comfort in that thought. For men like Russell Means don’t come along in a lifetime very often. He was truly an inspiration for all of us younger guys at the time. He had good words to say, he was eloquent when he spoke them, and he spoke English as clearly and precisely and as articulate as any one I have ever heard speak. And he knew what he was talking about. And I know all of you out there, as well as myself, will always remember our friend, our brother and fellow activist, and how he stood with us to recapture the freedoms we’ve lost, and protect the ones that we still have, and bring about a better future for our people, and all people of this Mother Earth, who’s nature is in peril.
I really don’t know what else to say about our brother Russell, other than to Russell himself, “We’ll see you again my brother Russell, in some other time and in some other place, we will always be your friend, and we will always look forward to seeing your face. Mitakuye Oyasin ”
In the spirit of Crazy Horse, and Russell Means.
I’ll close for now.
Radio Free L.A. #7 - Leonard Peltier interview