Levi Rickert, editor-in-chief in Native Challenges. Discussion »
in Tucson, AZ
ALCATRAZ ISLAND - Dennis Banks, Ojibwe, will kickoff "The Leonard Peltier Walk for Human Rights." The Walk will leave Alcatraz Island on Sunday, December 18 and continue through California on its way to Washington DC where it will conclude on May 18, 2012.
The walk is an effort to raise attention regarding political prisoner Leonard Peltier, imprisoned for over 35 years, to seek his freedom, and to demand President Obama to assert his authority by providing an Executive Clemency.
“Leonard has served 35 years for something I do not believe he is guilty of doing,”
Banks told the Native News Network from the Leech Lake Indian Reservation in Minnesota on Thursday.
"He should be granted clemency for humanitarian reasons. He should be granted clemency for health reasons, " Banks continued.
"He has served time for real questionable court activities that found him guilty," stated Banks.
“He has already served too long.”
Peltier, Turtle Mountain Ojibwe, was convicted of killing two FBI agents who showed up on June 25, 1975 at a private residence in Oglala, South Dakota.
Many American Indians and others around the world view Peltier as a political prisoner. Through the years, Peltier's supporters have included the Dalai Lama, Mother Teresa and Bishop Desmond Tutu, among other prominent names.
Banks is the co-founder of the American Indian Movement. He completed the Longest Walk 3 - Reversing Diabetes in July, which brought awareness to the epidemic rates of diabetes among American Indians in the United States. Banks led the first Longest Walk from San Francisco to Washington in 1978.
Banks will be joined by Dorothy Ninham, coordinator for Leonard Peltier Walk for Human Rights, Antonio Gonzales, Norman "Wounded Knee" DeOcampo.
Spiritual advisors Fred Short and Yvonne Swan and other regional American Indian Movement representatives will also be part of the ceremony and kickoff. Short and Swan will be on hand to guide the prayer service/ceremony. The morning's theme will also address the United States injustice system and support for all political prisoners human rights.
There will be drummers and singers, fire and tobacco offerings. All supporters and allies are welcome to attend this Sunday Prayer Circle who are in solidarity with political prisoners. The gathering is to also offer strength to the volunteers who have committed themselves to walk across the United States for Leonard Peltier and for all political prisoners, from Alcatraz Island to Washington.
The boat leaves for Alcatraz Island from San Francisco at Pier # 33 beginning 9:10 am until Noon. Prices for the ferry to Alcatraz Island are tentatively $14.
posted December 3, 2011 9:10 am est
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