Nanette Bradley Deetz in Native Challenges. Discussion »
OAKLAND The sounds of American Indian drums thundered through the Inter-tribal Friendship House in Oakland, California as singers sang an honor song for Leonard Peltier, who has been imprisoned for almost four decades for a crime that many feel he did not commit.
AIM-WEST and several Leonard Peltier Bay Area Support Groups hosted a celebration Thursday evening, on September 12 Leonard Peltier's birthday to honor him and to let him know he is not forgotten. The birthday celebration was held at the Inter-tribal Friendship House, in Oakland, California.
Peltier has been in prison since 1976. He was convicted of aiding and abetting in the death of two Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents. The inevitable incident occurred on the Pine Ridge Reservation in a military style assault operation led by the FBI on an unsuspecting community. The FBI were there to serve a warrant on an individual, provoked a situation that went amuck.
“Much of the government's behavior at the Pine Ridge Reservation and in its prosecution of Leonard Peltier is to be condemned. The government withheld evidence. It intimidated witnesses. These facts are not disputed,”
according to a statement released by AIM-WEST.
The Inter-tribal Friendship House has served the San Francisco area American Indian community for several years and has a special place in the hearts of many involved in the American Indian Movement.
“In the last 40 years our kids have been lucky to learn the dances, songs and their own languages in places like the Intertribal Friendship House here in Oakland. This place is so very special. It is occasions like this when we all get together that is so special,”
said Fred Short, American Indian Movement spiritual leader.
“So many important people have visited Inter-tribal Friendship House over the years. When Jerry Brown was the mayor of Oakland, he came here many times to talk with us, to find out what we needed. Now as governor, he is still a friend of Indigenous people. Willie Brown visited us when he was the mayor of San Francisco as well. We always mentioned our struggle to free Leonard Peltier to all these visiting dignitaries,”
“I'm working on two documentaries now about the people who were involved in these many struggles.”
Nanette Bradley Deetz is of Dakota, Cherokee and German descent. She is a poet, writer, educator and sometimes musician whose poetry appears in several anthologies. The most current is "Turning a Train of Thought Upside Down," published by Scarlett Tanager Press; "Turtle Island to Abya Yala, A Love Anthology of Art and Poetry by Native American and Latina Women," Malinalli Press, and "Alameda Island Theme Poems, 2004,2005 & 2006." She combines poetry and music in her band, Redbird Giving which performs at many Bay Area native and non-native venues. She is a correspondent for the Alameda Journal, Alameda Sun and Native News Network.
posted September 13, 2013 9:55 am edt