May 17, 2007 - Issue 230

Keeping It Real
Leonard Peltier:
A Time For Justice And The Rejection Of Genocide
By Larry Pinkney
BC Columnist

Notwithstanding the unspeakable atrocities of the African holocaust, slavery, lynchings, and ongoing disenfranchisement of Black people in America, perhaps no other people have suffered such despicably horrible and repugnant exploitation, degradation and genocide as have our indigenous native "Indian" brothers and sisters at the hands of the conquering Europeans, who subsequently formed the deceitful, land thieving, and hypocritical nation which has come to be known as the United States of America. Just as the necessary and legitimate struggle by Black people in America for justice, reparations, and equality continues and intensifies, so it is that the legitimate and closely related struggles of and by Red and Brown peoples continue unabated on this continent.

Facts of history that are hidden or outright deliberately omitted include, among other things, the fact that the indigenous "Indian" peoples on this continent repeatedly provided Black runaway slaves sanctuary from white slaveholders and the US Government. They treated Black people with equality, dignity, and respect. Moreover, Black soldiers of the US Army often defected from the white racist US Army and literally joined the "Indian" peoples in their fight for justice, together often holding back and defeating the technologically superior US Army. It is absolutely no coincidence that these parts of history are significantly withheld from Red, Black, and Brown peoples right down to the present day 21st century America, in our continuing struggle for justice, just as the mass extermination of indigenous peoples and thievery of their lands was no mere coincidence. Even a cursory study of the Manifest Destiny, the Willie Lynch Writings of 1712 etc., the McCarran Act of 1950, the King Alfred Plan, COINTELPRO [the Counter Intelligence Program], the Military Commissions Act of 2006, and the so-called Patriot Act in America, are chillingly undeniable indicators of the xenophobic, hypocritical, and bloody reality upon which the United States of America was built and is maintained. Thus, the necessity of the ongoing struggle for justice.

Foremost in this ongoing struggle for justice on the part of indigenous so-called "Indian" peoples is a man by the name of Leonard Peltier, who like Mumia Abu-Jamal, continues to represent the quest for justice and the stalwart resistance to genocide and injustice.

Leonard Peltier is an American "Indian" political activist who was wrongfully convicted and imprisoned by US authorities. He has been imprisoned for over 30 years, as a result of having been a target of the infamous nation wide Counter Intelligence Program [COINTELPRO], which viciously discredited, framed, imprisoned, and often murdered particularly Black, Red, and Brown political activists. Fabricated evidence, suppression of evidence, and coercion were utilized to wrongfully convict and imprison Leonard Peltier. The similarity of the afore described tactics used against Leonard Peltier to the cases of so many Black political activists, including the cases of Mumia Abu-Jamal and the 'San Francisco 8,' is both striking and stark. Leonard Peltier, too, is a political prisoner who we as Black people are politically, ethically, and morally duty-bound to actively support. We must treat him and his case as we would one of our own, for he is one of our own, just as all justice-seeking people are.

We Black people must not be fooled by the machinations on the part of the US Government, the so-called main stream news media, and certain well-placed surrogates to divide and rule Red, Black, and Brown peoples. Moreover, it is important to understand that under various guises COINTELPRO continues today. We must remember that as in the case of Black people in America, so it is with Leonard Peltier and Red and Brown peoples in general: that disinformation and misinformation are used to sow seeds of distrust, divide, and ultimately control and/or "neutralize" and stifle the unity between people of color and our legitimate aspirations for unflinching justice.

Our "Indian" brothers and sisters often make reference to the "trail of tears" in America, wherein numerous indigenous children, women, and men died miserably as they attempted to travel and seek refuge from the horrors of European encroachment, as a direct result of the barbary and deliberate thievery by white "settlers" [supported by the US Army] of native lands and the concomitant wanton destruction of the buffalo and the very way of life for "Indian" peoples. This was not progress. This was barbarism, plain and simple; and it has yet to be answered for. This is similar to the trail of blood in Ghana, West Africa, wherein so many Black men, women, and babies were brutally rounded up, enslaved by European slavers and miserably died en route to the African coast where they were to be shipped to "America."

The fact that Leonard Peltier sought to have the US Government and its modern day white settlers respect the treaty rights and dignity of "Indian" peoples made him a prime target to be eliminated. The fallacious rallying cry by white racist America against Leonard Peltier was that he allegedly killed a US Government agent. Not only did Leonard Peltier not commit this act, but the evidence proving his innocence has been consistently hidden and suppressed by US authorities to this very day. Of course we Black people know that is precisely what COINTELPRO is all about.

Contrary to conventional wisdom, history does not repeat itself; people repeat history. Therefore, we must define ourselves by learning and knowing our true histories as Black, Red, and Brown peoples in this united struggle for justice. Leonard Peltier is one of those very important contemporary historical representatives of this unity of purpose. Leonard Peltier stands opposed to hypocrisy and genocide. He must be set free, and it is the obligation of all justice-seeking people of every color and ethnicity in America and around the world to press for the release of Leonard Peltier.

It is time to unequivocally reject genocide right here on this continent. It is a time for justice. It is time for Leonard Peltier to be freed.

As politically conscious Black people in America, our responsibility in this and other matters is clear, as we strive every day to keep it real, remembering the increasingly relevant words of Frederick Douglass: "If there is no struggle, there is no progress."

BC Columnist Larry Pinkney is a veteran of the Black Panther Party, the former Minister of Interior of the Republic of New Africa, a former political prisoner and the only American to have successfully self-authored his civil/political rights case to the United Nations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Click here to contact Mr. Pinkney.



Your comments are always welcome.

e-Mail re-print notice

If you send us an e-Mail message we may publish all or part of it, unless you tell us it is not for publication. You may also request that we withhold your name.

Thank you very much for your readership.