Day Of Mourning Statement From Leonard Peltier
Greetings my relatives friends and supporters
It is yet another year. It seems like a thousand years ago but only a year in time in reality from the last time I dictated one of these statement for the day of mourning so, again, I want to say as last time, that I am honored that you would want to hear my words.
Sometimes when I lay on my bunk and I am between sleeping and awake, for a small moment of time, I am free and I am there with you. I know this sounds kind of melodramatic and I am not trying to be so, but things affect you differently inside of here and things affect you differently as you get older. But I want to say with all my strength, some things don’t change, at least not for me.
When I think about all we have lost to this corporate world, when I think about the losses of clean water and rivers and oceans and when I think about the losses of clean air when I think about the losses of freedom for hard working families that once had a father that could take care of his family with as single job but now has to work two or three jobs and the mother must work too and the children that come home from school with their own key and have to wait the return of one of their parents. When I think of these losses, when I think of the wage slaves that are being created daily all over the world in the name of progress, when I think of these losses I think… we damn sure have a good reason to mourn, but I really believe that the word mourn should have a different meaning for us, not something where we cry and throw our hands up and say “ WHY WHY, WHY ME, WHY US, WHY THIS” but something that we say NO MORE to. Something we make a vow to, renew our efforts, renew our minds, renew our directions to take back our water take back our air take back our forests and our mountains and valleys, restore this mother earth to the natural balance the creator meant it to be. We need to talk to the churches, talk to the various religions, we need to get them to recognize that the strongest form or worship isn’t singing songs and bowing your head, the strongest form of worship is to respect and restore to balance the beauty of nature and the earth that was given to us, that is part of us, that we are a part of, and to be responsible for.
This may sound like the ramblings of some old 69 year old man in prison for 38 years but I have had a lot of time to think about these things and when my grandchildren come to visit me, it gives me a sense of urgency for all of us to start doing something NOW!
If each one of you would take a vow to get six other people along with yourself to do at least ONE meaningful thing to restore this balance and get each one of those people to network and get 6 more people and let it go out from there like the branches of a tree then together we can make a difference. We can make a difference starting today.
This day of mourning would become the morning of a new day!
I have quoted others before and I do so again because I respect the wisdom of elders and people long past. Someone once said and I don’t remember who said it, “All evil needs to triumph is for good people to do nothing.”
If this is more than you care to do, or if you think you can’t be involved with others for some reason, I respect that, but I would encourage you to at least plant one fruit bearing tree that someone in the future, perhaps some child would have something to eat. That maybe some other living creature might have a place of shelter and food to eat. there will always be changes throughout the earth and throughout mankind, some uncontrollable and some with design.
I know we can make a change for the better if we put our hearts and minds together and let this day of mourning be a time of renewal, we can spread the concept that mankind must live in harmony with the creators handy-work and with one another. If this time I have spent here in prison could produce anything of value I pray that it would move you to become involved. Find the right things within government and support them, and find the wrong things in government and change them. This government as it stands right now is on the verge of losing what constitutional rights people have. This government is violating the constitution over and over and over. These violations started before you or I were even conceived. As some of you may know the Constitution is a copy of the Iroquois 6 nations Confederacy law. The constitution originally was designed so that men would have maximum freedoms as long as they did not infringe on the natural rights of others or in essence harm someone else. The freedoms and respect that the law implies that we should have for one another in this nation should extend to all those outside of this realm because what is right for one man should be right for others.
We should allow other people to be free from fear. I remember an old jewish man I once met in hardware store, I engaged in conversation with him. He had fought in WW2 and he said to me, and I always remember his words, “this isn’t the nation I fought for, this nation has become a nation of people who are afraid of their gov’t and anytime the people are afraid of their gov’t they are not free and I have noticed that what people will do to someone else wrongfully, sooner or later if circumstances change they will do it to you also.
These violations of human rights must stop. I know the task may seem overwhelming and I can’t say that I have the answer for success at making a change but I do know the answer for failure.. thats to do nothing.
So if my imprisonment serves nothing else but to be living proof of these violations, then so be it, but it is a reality. Right now, it has been selective violation, but there are powers at hand that seek to inflict those violations upon everyone. This reminds me of a story that I heard once where a man said:
“First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out—
because I was not a communist;
Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—
because I was not a socialist;
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—
because I was not a trade unionist;
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
because I was not a Jew;
Then they came for me—
and there was no one left to speak out for me.”
I ask you to remember these things because they are truisms that have happened and they will happen again to you and your children and your children’s children if we do not take a stand. a famous warrior named Emiliano Zapata from the Mexican revolution once said “I would rather die on my feet then live on my knees” …. I could go on and on but I suppose you get my meaning. I encourage you to be active, to stand your ground and help us recover the ground we have lost.
God, I wish I could be there with you.
I am going to close for now. Be thankful you have the time you have, be thankful you have each other, and give each other a hug for me.
I will see you when I see you