Friday, October 3, 2014

Pardon Peltier

Even in Cagliari, Sardinia, there are those sympathetic to the plight of Leonard Peltier, who has been sitting in a federal prison since 1977 for crimes he didn't commit.  With all attempts to have his sentence overturned exhausted, there has been an ongoing effort to have him pardoned.  His best chance was in 2000, when Bill Clinton was leaving office, but Clinton deferred.  So now there is pressure on Obama to finally give the 70-year-old Native American activist the pardon he has so long deserved.

Probably the best account of the events that led to the arrest and conviction of Peltier is Peter Matthiessen's In the Spirit of Crazy Horse.  Many others have championed Peltier over the years, including Michael Apted, who did a documentary entitled Incident at Oglala that brought the issue even more sharply into focus.  But, as is so often the case, time has a tendency of dulling our awareness of these issues, and we tend to forget them.

The FBI had considered  the American Indian Movement un-American and had been tracking it since the day it formed, much like it had gone after other consciousness movements like the Black Panthers.  Peltier was the most visible figure of AIM, and the FBI felt if it could remove him from the scene it would take the wind out of the organization.  But, here we are nearly 40 years later and even in such far-flung places as Sardinia someone calls for his release.  

No comments:

Post a Comment