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Leonard Responds to the Recent Arrest of John Boy Graham
in Vancouver, BC
Leonard Peltier Defense Committee
December 5, 2003
By Leonard Peltier
It is obvious to anyone who looks at the past few years with an open mind
and a remembrance of COINTELPRO, that the FBI's program of misinformation
and discrediting of activists is alive and well. I encourage all who come
into contact with this finger-pointing behavior to also look at the person
Your commitment to a cause, for the most part has to include a dedication to
non-combat with your own people. If you get caught up in a combative cycle
you will spend most of your time fighting rumors and accusations and each
other. When we talk of sovereignty, we must be willing to solve our own
problems and not go running to the oppressor for relief.
Since the Patriot Act was passed, the government has gone back through
records and is trying to re-file on anyone it can, in any way. If you look
at the history of colonization world-wide, the oppressor always identifies
the individuals within the resistance movement that they can buy off and
starts funding them. They likewise start neutralizing their opposition by
discrediting individual leaders by whatever means necessary; it is the old
"Divide and Conquer" routine.
There are a lot of people in Indian Country claiming to know this or that
about someone else. Ask for proof, if you're going to consider their words.
All the rumor mongers have scenarios they've come up with to, in essence,
set a trap for anyone willing to listen.
My father once said that our greatest weaknesses have always been booze,
flattery and jealousy. If you look closely, you will find one or more of
these at the foundation of the finger pointing. Growing up, I always heard
my people say, "Ignore people's misstatements about you and live your life
so that all can see your true character".
With today's technology of media, it has been found through surveys that a
statement, whether true or not, is taken for truth if not countered within a
24-hour period. As the old saying goes, "A lie will travel around the world,
while the truth is just putting its boots on". I have been in prison for
over 27 years because of lies about myself, my people and my culture so I am
sensitive to those who would make quick judgments without knowing the facts
of a case. Notice that I say "knowing", not "believing".
I fear that John Boy will not receive a fair trial in the US anymore than I
did. I must remind you, it is court record that the FBI lied to extradite me
back to the US. I know that their behavior hasn't changed just as I know
that Anna Mae was not an informant. As much as I want justice for Anna Mae,
I likewise do not want an injustice to be enacted against one of our own in
the name of crime-solving - so that some finger-pointing government lackey
can get a feather in his cap.
The death of Anna Mae should be considered Indian Business- Indigenous
Nation to Indigenous Nation. We still have within the framework of our
culture the capacity to deal with our own problems and mete out the
appropriate punishment, according to the offence. Anna Mae was a victim of
the oppressor-any person who had part in her death likewise, in some form is
and always will be a victim; for what person can ever feel good about the
death of a beautiful young Indian woman, mother and activist for her people?
Those responsible for her death, whether they pulled the trigger or not,
must surely suffer strongly from their own fears as to want someone as her
no longer among the living.
Some of my brothers and I once had a conversation about such possibilities
and it was unanimous: we are not here to fight our own people and to take
the life of even one of our own would discredit our cause. Likewise, it will
not serve us to take the life of anyone. Our battles have always been in
defense and to keep the enemy back while using the media to let average
Americans know what was being done to our people in their name with their
Someone once said that you can measure the stature of a man by the size of
his enemy. With that in mind, I say to our people,
"We have been and still are at odds with the most dangerous, well-funded,
strongest military and political organization in the history of the world."
If you sometimes feel overwhelmed, as I sometimes am, then remember
Geronimo, Crazy Horse, Sitting Bull, Osceola, Tecumseh and a host of
others-you are in good company.
I am proud to be a Native American because my people before me stood up
against overwhelming odds so that I might have a chance to exist. They were
successful, as I am living proof. I pray to the Creator that the future
generations will feel the same about us because we will stand up and will be
successful and they will be living proof.
Stay Strong My Relatives.
In the Spirit of Crazy Horse,
© Copyright 2003
Leonard Peltier Defense Committee