Taking AIM and Wounding Justice Through the Incarceration of Leonard Peltier

By Karla Fetrow at Subversify.com

The Elements of Special Prosecution

June 26th. marked the anniversary of one of the greatest infamies committed in contemporary times by the U.S. Government against its own First People. On that day, in 1975, federal agents entered the Sioux Reservation, purportedly to question a crime suspect. Their invasion dissolved into mayhem and overt violence. Their primary motivation, however, was as it has been since 1870; to coerce or persuade the property owners to sell their land for industrial and natural resource development; primarily in heavy minerals, including Black Hills gold. A gunfight broke out and two of the F.B.I. agents were killed. Three of the inhabitants were later arrested and charged with murder. Two of the defendants were acquitted through a self-defense plea. One was not. He was tried, found guilty, and given two consecutive life sentences. His name was Leonard Peltier.

Attempts to free Leonard Peltier of the charges that occurred under the same circumstances with the same anxiety to defend his own life, have repeatedly failed. His initial arrest and confinement caused a flurry of interest in Native American affairs. “Free Leonard Peltier” posters decorated the homes of political activists, protests lined the streets of major Universities, and a copy of “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee” lay on the coffee table of every informed household.

What does the book, which is a historical account of the 1870′s US Government’s battle with the Sioux Nation have to do with Leonard Peltier? Quite a bit. In the late 1960′s, frustrated by decades of discrimination and intrusive federal policies, Native American community activists led by George Mitchell, Dennis Banks, and Clyde Bellecourt met with 200 other tribal members to discuss these issues and the means of taking over their own destiny. Together, they created a new entity, a powerful voice speaking out against slum housing, joblessness and racist treatment among the First People. They became the foundation for the American Indian Movement (AIM).

Read the rest at Subversify.com

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