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COLEMAN, FLORIDA Leonard Peltier, Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians, who has been imprisoned for the past 36 years, issued a Thanksgiving Day message.
Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians
Peltier was accused of the 1975 murders of two FBI agents on the Pine Ridge Reservation. He was convicted in 1977.
Peltier is considered to be a political prisoner of war by many American Indians throughout the United States and others worldwide. Through the years, Peltier's supporters have included the Dalai Lama, Mother Teresa and Bishop Desmond Tutu, among other prominent names.
The following is Mr. Peltier's statement:
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.
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.
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posted November 22, 2012 10:20 am est