“I extend the hand closest to my heart to you all”
By Ben Carnes
July 27, 2009
Those are the words my late Grandfather, Standing Deer, expressed in many of his statements from prison. I offer this same gratitude from here in Colorado where I was scheduled to stand trial on the same day as Leonard’s parole hearing. Now as many of you have heard, the charges against me were DISMISSED Monday afternoon.
I hope that the news of the chains and shadows of prison being removed from my family will transcend into greater news for us, and especially for Leonard and his family, who have suffered the most over the years.
You can imagine how relieved my wife and relatives have been with this news. The spectre of me going to prison has brought so much stress to them, and it was difficult for them to understand why I would deliberately set myself up as a target.It is because I made a personal commitment to do all that I can for Leonard in bringing him home. For me, and many other Native prisoners, we looked at someone who was Native like us, except that he was in for defending the people, and why were we there. Most of us committed crimes that hurt people or destroyed their trust, where was the honor in that.
At the time, I did not know how intertwined my life would become with Leonard’s to the point he and I would share a distinction of receiving human rights awards while we were both incarcerated, and that he and I would have both be scheduled to have our freedoms deliberated on the same day.I found how to exercise my free will in prison and begin to speak out. I risked certain consequences for my actions, but I didn’t dishonor myself. Once, when I was locked up for an altercation with a guard, my adopted Grandfather, Standing Deer sent me a note and told me that I need to remember I was now representing the brothers inside with the lawsuit I filed over the right to wear our hair long. He said my actions would reflect on everyone. So I changed my confrontational and combative behaviors to diplomacy.
Since my arrest, there have been a lot of sacrifices made by those who cares about me and have done their best to help support me in any way they can. I will call upon you later to write letters supporting a pardon, but right now I want everyone to turn their prayers and attention on a favorable outcome in Leonard’s parole.
Keep calling the White House until we know for sure Leonard has been paroled.Call your local media about what is happening in Lewisburg and get to report the news.
Help to broadcast all the events taking place around the country and the world for Leonard.
Encourage everyone to Google name or ways to get his name to the most googled list.Pass the news on through your own networks and ask them to help make this the news of the day.Post comments or letters to the editor.If you are from outside the country, begin calling the U.S. Embassies there and send messages to your own here in the U.S. to begin asking Obama about supporting freedom for Peltier.
We have now until we receive the news. I expect to hear freedom for my brother. His torture of being locked away for years must be at end now, and he is counting on everyone.Here is what they feared, and it is each and every one of you who has been willing to take a stand for right and wrong, a stand for a voice they have attempted to silence and demonize. And that you took time out of your lives and personal expense to stand here in front of a United States Prison. They feared your courage to face ridicule, scorn, or loss of your friends for your belief. No matter how you see yourself and the roles you have contributed. Your presence signals their defeat, they know they cannot stop the inevitable. We will see our brother home before his birthday, believe right here and right now.
I ask that you also take time to remember those who are not with us. The list of names would bring sorrow into the hearts of many, but our departed brothers and sisters would not want you to mourn them but honor their memory for the energy and sacrifices they have given. We should keep our hearts, thoughts, and prayers free of negative influences to make today, July 28th, a sacred day to all who have fought for justice for Peltier and Native people. If the results of the day move us, then let us observe July 28th as Indigenous Peoples day. It is both a memorial and Independence Day in regards to Peltier, but also as an annual day to renew our actions for support for other Indigenous Peoples.
We should keep the focus on a call for a congressional investigation of the FBI’s cointelpro and other law enforcement entities to free other people who are being held in this country as political prisoners.
Today, I am a free man once again so today pray for Leonard Peltier and pray for the people. Honor the Earth.In the Spirit of Solidarity and Crazy Horse,
National Spokesperson, LP-DOC
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Censored News is published by censored journalist Brenda Norrell. A journalist for 27 years, Brenda lived on the Navajo Nation for 18 years, writing for Navajo Times, AP, USA Today, Lakota Times and other American Indian publications. After being censored and then terminated by Indian Country Today in 2006, she began the Censored Blog to document the most censored issues. She currently serves as human rights editor for the U.N. OBSERVER & International Report at the Hague and contributor to Sri Lanka Guardian, Narco News and CounterPunch. She was cohost of the 5-month Longest Walk Talk Radio across America, with Earthcycles Producer Govinda Dalton in 2008: www.earthcycles.net/
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