I have followed this story after watching “Incident at Ogalala: The Story of Leonard Peltier” about a year ago and this man needs to be set free.
I think this man is a political prisoner and should be released. They do not have any evidence he killed the two FBI agents (Collier and Williams) who came onto the reservation that day in 1975 in South Dakota, uninvited, chasing a vehicle they stated was a “red picket” and the man they had been looking for, Jimmy Eagle, who they state stole a pair of cowboy boots. Not the color of the color of the vehicle and the make, as it is crucial in this case and it will be changed and used to convict Leonard, as you will see in the second video.
The gun they state Peltier used really belonged to someone else and the questionable investigation the FBI performed does not convince me it belonged to Peltier.
The other two Native American men, Robideau and Butler, who were arrested for the same crime were found not guilty in a court here in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, but FBI agents state the jury was being harrassed by AIM leaders and that is why they came to that verdict, but jury members state they were not threatened by nor did they see any Indians except in the court room. One gentleman stated he was more fearful of the FBI agents and there were many of them present in the courtroom each day.
Leonard went to Canada and eventually was extradited back to the states and was not allowed to be tried in Iowa, but was tried in Fargo, North Dakota and eventually convicted of the deaths of the two FBI agents. The evidence does not substantiate their claims – another man killed the agents, but Leonard took the fall for him and he will not say who it is, wishing to protect his people. He was convicted in 1977 and has served 37 years. You will see in the second video the man who actually killed these two agents in disguise. His vehicle was seen leaving the scene and was never seen again after he shot these two agents and the three who were tried witnessed this.
Some still believe he is guilty and needs to rot in prison, but I don’t come away with the same conclusion. I think it is more a cover up of the FBI fumbling an investigation and two agents who were bound and determined to get their man and came uninvited onto a reservation where they did not properly announce themselves nor were they known to these Native Americans, they were new to the area. The shooting began and of course both sides state it was the other who started it – I am not sure anyone fully knows who started the shooting to this day and not sure it would make a difference.
Not only was this reservation fighting with the government agencies during this time, but also the leader of their tribal council who leaned more toward the enforcement of white men and their government. Dick Wilson run rough shod over these people – he was more white than Native American – Pine Ridge Reservation was the poorest one in this country – Dick Wilson kept much of what the money the US government gave to this reservation and he used it as he saw fit, which was not for the people he ruled over. So not only were they under the thumb of our government, but the thumb of a man who did not understand or care about their traditionalist ways and beliefs, despite the fact he was one of them. Because of him and his goons, many murders happened on this reservation and many Natives were killed or wounded badly, even women and children.
In order to get Peltier extradited back to the States, the FBI threatened Myrtle Poor Bear. Leonard and Myrtle had never met or had ever known each other until his trial began and she was told she had to tell lies and state she saw Leonard kill the two agents. If she did not she would receive the same fate of a female AIM member who had her face shot off by an unknown assailant and left in a ravine and was later identified only by her hands. Myrtle was told she would receive a worst fate where no one would ever know who she was and her child she would never see again. Based on her false testimony in light of the threats, the Canadian’s felt this was enough to have Peltier extradited back to this country for trial.
The description of the vehicle these agents were chasing was reported over the radio as a red pickup and this was stated in the first trial of Robideau and Butler, but they stated at Leonard’s trial that it was a van or suburban. Leonard Peltier drove a red and white van and the description was changed in order to say it was Leonard’s car they were chasing and they tried to say these two agents did not know the difference between a pickup and a van because “maybe they did not grow up on a farm!” Guess that means someone from a city or town is unable to distinguish between the colors and the shapes of a vehicle – two men who would not know that – I don’t buy that, most men know the makes and colors of vehicles, I have never met one who doesn’t. Preposterous attempts of the FBI to do whatever they thought necessary to point the finger at this man. When I look at the FBI and US attorneys on the agencies side in the two videos below I believe they are lying by the look in their eyes. They were angry about not winning the case against Robideau and Butler in the Iowa court system and this was their way of nailing one of these three men for the deaths of their two agents.
I think the US Attorneys and FBI agents in these two video’s below want everyone to believe that the FBI agents were not at fault, but with the history of what had happened on the Pine Ridge reservation over the course of the previous 5 years prior to the 1975 incident, they came barreling forth, determined to catch the man they were after in a “red truck” and did not take into account what had happened prior to this time and the fear that ran high among the Native Americans on this reservation when anyone entered their land aggressively and a people who would do anything to protect their land, their families, and their way of life, such as it was.
I believe that Native Americans just want to live their lives just like we all wish to – in peace and to have the same resources to the same things we all do – which they should, they are just as human as we all are and they were here first! I believe that the white man long ago was convinced that they were superior to the Native Americans and this is where they were wrong, but why they have been treated the same all these years – I do not understand it. We all bleed the same, we all are born the same way, we all are created in the likeness of God – none of us are better than any other human that walks this earth. The God I believe in would not be looking down and agreeing with this kind of treatment and I do not believe He condones it or will bless those who pursue this kind of treatment for any of His creations!
Native Americans had much they could have taught the people they encountered in the beginning, but they were always at war with people who continually took and took from them and treated them as savages and not entitled to their land, their hunting of bison and what it meant to them. Just think, say for instance you owned a parcel of land – you had laid claim to it and you worked and lived off that land – if someone came along and began to set up house and did not ask or inquire if it was okay and they would shoot your cows or pigs and only use what they wanted and left the rest of the carcass to rot – just think – how would that make you feel – would you sit still and let them do that, would you just say – here you go have at it? You know you would fight for it and that was what the Native Americans did – fight for their way of life, but they were over powered by the multitudes of white people coming to this country and wanting to establish a home on a parcel of land. I think the approach that was taken by the white man was very wrong – there was no approaching these people with peace, just entitlement to wanting what they wanted and using any means to get it – even killing and telling these people that your way of life does not matter, you don’t matter – you will be placed on a plot of land and you will farm it and accept only what we feel you are worthy of getting, which over the years has been very little.
History will repeat itself and it will not just be a certain people or race or religion – it will be multitudes of people who will be treated this way because they will wish to fight for what they believe in and what they feel is their right under the Constitution this country has been built upon. Does that mean those who fight will be considered savages and of no worth? Yes and probably worse! We are being told already if you stand up for the right to bear arms, the right to practice your beliefs or share them, your right to home school your children, the right to spank your child to teach them right from wrong, the right for freedom of speech, the right to pray in a public place, the right to display the manger on public grounds, the right to say Merry Christmas, the right to have the Ten Commandments displayed in the halls of justice, the right to say the Pledge of Allegiance, and the list goes on – you are WRONG and not entitled to those things anymore and you are therefore considered radical and against what this country is now all about. Maybe you can understand what the Native American people have lived with all these years. Don’t believe me – read the story of the Trail of Tears – unbelievable horror those people experienced and many did not survive to tell the story, but thankfully some did. We talk about genocide in other countries, but that has happened here, on this land as well.
Watch and decide for yourself whether this man is guilty or if it is highly probable they have convicted the wrong man. Not everyone in prison is guilty of the crimes they have been convicted of – this has been proven time and time again in this country and all over this world.