Saturday, January 30, 2016

Imagine That: Leonard Peltier Wrongfully Incarcerated for 40 Years

Photo Credit: Kerri Cottle Photography

 Doing time creates a demented darkness of my own imagination...
Doing time does this thing to you. But of course you don't do time.
You do without it. Or rather, time does you.
Time is a cannibal that devours the flesh of yours
day by day, night by night.

 — Leonard Peltier, Prison Writings: My Life Is My Sundance

Leonard Peltier could not be present at the exhibition of his artwork at the second Indigenous Fine Arts Market (IFAM) in Santa Fe, NM, held on August 20-22, because he's been incarcerated in the U.S. federal penitentiary system for the last 40 years. He's currently in Coleman (Florida), a known “gang prison,” a brutal and violent place subject to frequent lockdowns lasting not uncommonly for as long as a month.

Maybe next year?

While the primary focus of this article is not the case for clemency, the reality is that presidential intervention is his only remaining avenue to freedom. Barring the appearance of some staggering new piece of evidence, all appeals for a new trial have been thoroughly exhausted. The feeling among his inner circle is that a new president, whoever it may be, is unlikely to risk involvement; but a lame duck president just might quack Peltier's way. The mere fact that this show has almost miraculously manifested whets the appetite for hopefulness.
 Thus began an article I wrote for Red Wedge Magazine last autumn. Sovereign Imagination: The Art of Leonard Peltier

Interviewing Leonard Peltier by phone that day was a personal turning point. It reconstituted me, made me rededicate myself to my own commitments, which are many and deep. Freeing Leonard is one of the most important ones. If Leonard were to die caged behind bars, a part of all of us would too. It would fall in the category of unforgivable offenses.

He needs our help.

Just a few days ago the International Committee to Free Leonard Peltier issued this health advisory about Leonard's deteriorating condition, an emergency even more pressing than clemency They wrote:

Two weeks on and still no relief for Leonard Peltier! Leonard Peltier is faced with a very life threatening, fast growing aortic abdominal aneurysm. Have you sent a letter to the federal Bureau of Prisons? You may send a letter or fax daily asking them to transfer him to a proper hospital capable of handling this sort of emergency. Please, in the name of common decency and human rights, write today. To fax, you can use these free online faxing services: (US) or (International). Please make reference to Leonard Peltier #89637-132, currently at USP Coleman I.

Warden Tamyra Jarvis
USP Coleman I
846 NE 54th Terrace
Sumterville, FL 33521
Fax: 352-689-6012

Helen J. Marberry
RO Southeast Regional Office
3800 Camp Crk. Pk. SW
Bldg 2000
Atlanta, GA 30331
Fax: 678-686-1229

Office of the Director
Federal Bureau of Prisons
320 First Street, NW
Washington, DC 20534
Fax: 202-514-6620

Leonard's condition does fuel urgency to the events planned worldwide on February 5th and 6th to demand clemency for Leonard Peltier. I hope you will join me at the New Mexico actions:

* Albuquerque, New Mexico *


STAND-OUT to Demand Clemency for Leonard Peltier
Pete V. Domenici United States Courthouse
Albuquerque, NM  87102
Friday, February 5, at 3:30 p.m. (MT)
And on February 6th:
Saturday, February 6 at 10 AM MST
509 Cardenas Dr SE, Albuquerque, NM 87108
The FreeSpook Movement invites you to join us in supporting the incarcerated. We will be writing letters to folks around New Mexico and around the country, particularly to those identified as political prisoners, although most of us consider all prisoners to be political prisoners.
Letters and messages of solidarity may not abolish prisons but are a good way of supporting our incarcerated family and friends.
Supplies will be provided. Bring food and non-alcoholic beverages.

ABQ Flyer
First Unitarian Church of Albuquerque
3701 Carlisle Boulevard NE, Albuquerque, NM  87110
Saturday, February 6 at 3 p.m. MST
Please join us to commemorate the 40th year since Leonard Peltier’s arrest in Canada on February 6, 1976.
Potluck – Please bring a dish to share if you are able.
  • La Mesa Middle School-Shawl Dance
  • Peltier News/Update
  • Panel Discussion and Q&A with Radmilla Cody, John T Nez, Jean Whitehorse, Lenny Foster
  • Performances by Def-I, Anthro and Lady Yazzie
Solidarity groups, please contact us for table space and arrangements at 505-217-3612.