Grusswort Leonard Peltiers an die Organisator*innen und Teilnehmer*innen des Heidelberger Symposiums “Free Peltier – Leonard Peltier und der Kampf der Native Americans” (Heidelberg, 7. – 9.10.2016) gesendet an M. Koch Tokata-LPSG RheinMain
(Leonard Peltier wurde angefragt, dass dieses Grußwort auch vor dem US – Generalkonsulatin Frankfurt/Main (17.10.2016) und bei der Aktion “Free Peltier, free them all” in Berlin (29.10.2016) verlesen wird)
Greetings to the organizers and participants of the Heidelberg Symposium.
Your symposium shows how important it is, that different social movements like the German Peltier Support Group, German Mumia Groups, the Society for threatened People, Amnesty International, the German American Institute and others are working closely together in their efforts to support indigenous peoples and to support me.
We all know, that this may be my last chance, to go home, to see my people, my family, my friends. I am 72 years old now and I have spent more than 40 years in the iron houses of this country. As you may know I am suffering from an abdominal aortic aneurysm that could burst at any time. This makes me feel extremely anxious and troubles me a lot. And though I do not like to make a lot of it, my jaw issues continue to trouble me. The stroke I suffered some years ago left me with very limited eyesight. I am somehow able to continue to function here in Coleman 1 with high blood pressure and diabetes but as I grow older I am realizing that this is no place for elderly people and I know it will be more and more difficult to defend myself going forward.
Over these last four decades I have accumulated more than 20 years of good time. That is more than 6o years of time in prison though my original life sentence was two consecutive life terms. And when I was sentenced back in the seventies a life term was considered 7 years. So at this point I have served many life terms. The laws in effect when I came to prison have to be obeyed. That is the law But the justice system has not worked for me the way it has for others. I watch people being released under the old laws and wonder why it is not me. I can only shake my head and try to keep putting one foot in front of the other.
But what you have to know is that I am still here for my people, for their rights, their future, their dignity. I don??t have to tell you, that they keep me in prison, well knowing that I am innocent. The worst crime I am guilty of is to be a Native American and a Native American activist for human rights.
My friends in Germany, what can I say to thank you for what you have done all these years for me and my people? It is good to know, that in Europe there is a growing movement supporting us in our struggles for a better future, for our rights, for protecting Mother Earth. We all know, we only have this one world and it is important to protect this planet for our next generations, here in our reservations, in Germany, all over Europe, and all over the world. On a personal note I will ask you all to please continue to send letters and phone calls to the White House asking for my freedom. I am deeply grateful to you for all you do.
So in closing I wish your symposium every success. It is an honor for me and my people, having you on our side.
Wishing all of you the best of good health and success in all you do.
In the Spirit of Crazy Horse,