Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

October 3, 2013

Peltier Tribunal Day 3 Testimony

Leonard Peltier International Tribunal on Indigenous Rights Day 3: Testimony

By Brenda News
Censored News EXCLUSIVE!
copyright Censored News
Dutch translation NAIS

GREEN BAY, Wisconsin -- The Peltier International Tribunal on Indigenous Rights issued preliminary findings at the conclusion of the three day Tribunal late Friday, Oct. 4, 2013. 

Tatewin Means, Oglala Attorney General and daughter of Russell Means, read the findings.

The Peltier Tribunal found the US has committed egregious human rights violations, genocide of Indian people and the withholding of testimony in the trial of Leonard Peltier.

The Constitutional violations of Peltier's rights include the right to fair process, trial by jury of peers, and the free exercise of religion. The violations of international law include violations of the Fort Laramie Treaty, violations of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and other human rights guaranteed by the United Nations.

The Tribunal said the resolution of these injustices includes the immediate freedom for Leonard Peltier. The options include a new fair trial for Peltier, executive clemency or compassionate release.

Justice is dependent on the appointment of independent counsel to review and charge all those guilty of murder and assaults on Pine Ridge, where there have been more than 60 unsolved murders.

The Tribunal called for the restoration of the criminal justice system in Indian country, including recognition of the sovereign right of Indian Nations to prosecute non-Indians for crimes on Indian lands, including FBI agents for crimes against Indian people.

The Tribunal stated that the doctrine of discovery and other fictional documents should be abolished.

The FBI must begin this process of restoration of justice by issuing a statement of remorse to Oglala Lakotas on Pine Ridge.

The environmental injustice based on racism must end on Indian lands.

See Censored News detailed article on the Tribunal Findings: Violations of US laws, Treaties and UN Declaration: \

The Tribunal's complete findings will be released shortly.

Earlier, during today's testimony, describing the fabrication of evidence against Leonard Peliter, Lakota Bill Means said the FBI is the modern day Calvary.

Dennis Banks Testimony

AIM cofounder Dennis Banks, presenting concluding testimony to the three day Peltier Tribunal, described Manifest Destiny. Banks said the religious community that came with Columbus is widely mistrusted.

Banks spoke on the sterilization of Indian women. Bank said his wife Kamook was asked to participate in an experiment on sterilization and was told it could be reversed by an IHS doctor.

After receiving a phone call from Kamook, Banks said, "I became angry because I knew they sterilized so many Indian women." IHS then moved Kamook to Nebraska.

Banks explained why the American Indian Movement was formed, Alcatraz was taken over, and the Longest Walk happened. The Movement happened because of the longstanding abuse of American Indians. He said it was clear that American Indians were on a collision course with three US entities: The churches, US government and education.

"We're not here for a 100 yard dash," Banks said. He said American Indians are here for the distance.

Banks said the FBI set the stage for killing the two FBI agents at Pine Ridge. Banks pointed out that he has never seen the real criminals, like the uranium corporations, being arrested for poisoning the water.

Banks thanked Dino Butler for exposing the fact that the "Mr. X" scenario was designed to discredit AIM. (Mr. X with identity hidden was video taped and the person claimed to have shot the two FBI agents.)

Speaking on wild rice legislation, Banks spoke of the "idiot ideas" that are passed on as legislation.

Banks described how he and Leonard Peltier were made "invisible" by Leonard Crow Dog, as they left the Wounded Knee compound in 1973. Banks said it seemed a little unbelievable when Crow Dog said he would make them invisible to leave. However, Banks said, "When we walked out of there carrying our supplies of food, they didn't see us."

"There were six of us."

"Leading us out of harm's way was Lenny Foster."

Banks said three years after Wounded Knee, Three Stars made public the fact that the GOONs were supplied with ammunition by the FBI.

Banks described the encampment at the Bureau of Indian Affairs in DC. He also described how an FBI agent was so discredited during a trial against AIM in St Paul, Minn., that the judge dismissed the agent for not being credible. Then, AIM tried to arrest him the agent in a citizen's arrest. They chased the FBI agent down the street. The trial was dismissed because the US prosecutor's trial evidence was unbelievable.

"You have polluted the waters of justice," the judge told US prosecutors.

The FBI told the American Indian Movement, "We'll get you next time." Russell Means said, of course, that he was ready.

Banks said the FBI was angry because "they lost the battle of Wounded Knee." AIM found out that the US planned to use tear gas and guns to end the stalemate at Wounded Knee in 1973. The Nixon administration had already ordered internal investigations.

"It is the longest undeclared war in US history," Banks said of the war against American Indians.

When the two FBI agents came to the Jumping Bull camp, the FBI claimed they were there to serve a warrant for shoplifting. Banks asked "When does the FBI ever do that?" Banks pointed out that this was not the reason the agents were there.

Banks said Peltier heard the cries of the people and came to Pine Ridge to defend the people.

"There was a war that was going on."

Banks said the FBI was already killing members of the Black Panthers and Native people at the time. Banks said, "If they are going to shoot at us, we're going to shoot back."

Banks said the FBI went "judge shopping" when it was time for the trial of Leonard Peltier.

During the Reign of Terror, and in the years that led up to it, Banks said, "They tried to destroy our identity."

In conclusion, Banks pointed out that the land is sacred and the destruction of Mother Earth brings pain to Native people.

Dino Butler
During the Peltier Tribunal on Friday, Dino Butler said if Leonard Peltier had been been taken to trial with Butler and Bob Robideau, he would have been acquitted, just as Butler and Robideau were acquitted. Butler and Robideau were acquitted during the trial in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, based on self defense in the shoot out at the Jumping Bull camp.

During the Reign of Terror on Pine Ridge, the US armed the GOON Squad with weapons to target the American Indian Movement. (During the shoot out at the Jumping Bull camp, two FBI agents were killed and Joe Stuntz. Peltier is currently in prison in Florida.)

Butler testified earlier, on the first day of the Tribunal, about the Jumping Bull firefight.

The testimony today is the third day of the Leonard Peltier Tribunal on the Abuse of Indigenous Peoples Human Rights, in Green Bay, Wisconsin, on Oneida land, Oct. 2 -- 4, 2013.

Bill Means remembered those who were shot and killed during the struggle for justice of the American Indian Movement. 

"Individuals were targeted, shot at close range."

"Through the years, this movement has cost the lives of men and women."

Yvonne Swan

Yvonne Swan, Colville, spoke on the rights of women and children, and justice for Leonard Peltier. Speaking of a historic case for the rights of women and children, Swan said that she was charged with murder and assault. The person was considered a child molester. "I never denied it. I explained it. I trusted in justice."

When the Jumping Bull incident took place: "My spirit told me: They shot first."

Sharing her background in Indigenous struggles, Swan said in the 1950s, her mother took her to fight termination. She described the struggles over mining issues and protecting Mother Earth. It was a struggle for life, justice and survival.

Swan said Peltier is her brother and friend. "He told me, 'Yvonne, I didn't shoot anyone.' and I believe him.'"

Swan questioned why the National Congress of American Indians has not done more to ensure the rights of Leonard Peltier and justice for Peltier.

Swan, reading a passage from the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples concerning the rights and protection for women and children, said "Leonard didn't write this, he lived this."

Swan read her statement into the record:

Mary Linda Pearson is an American Indian lawyer and has served as Judge Pro Tem for the Coeur d’Alene Tribal Court, Yakama Tribal Court, Grand Ronde Tribal Court, NICS and Spokane Tribal Court.Pearson’s unwavering opinion is that "Plenary power is fiction." She said, "It
was created by the Supreme Court so that Congress can do whatever it wanted
regarding Indians." Sadly enough, "Some professors will teach plenary power
because some of them don’t know any better. Only those who have been delving
into it in the past few years know that it is non-existent."

As for a remedy, she said, "Congress could easily say ‘Hey, we’ve been wrong all
these years! It really isn’t in the Constitution and we do not have plenary
power.’" Pearson also feels strongly that Congress and the President should
apologize to Indian country and make restitution to restore Indian languages and
provide unlimited or substantial increases in mental health and chemical
dependency services. Admitting their mistakes would demonstrate character and
bring the world closer together.

To Indian populations, particularly the voters, Pearson said, "Political leaders
must be influenced to affect a true government-to-government relationship
between our nations rather than keeping with the existing hybrid relationship
created by the Supreme Court and Chief Justice Marshall in 1831." Citing
Cherokee Nation v. Georgia, she added with indignation, "Marshall is the one who
called us ‘domestic dependent nations.’"

Pearson urges politicians to "Remember U.S. history and the illegal and inhumane
way in which Indian lands were taken and Indian lives were destroyed." They must
take a better look at the actions of past presidents like George Washington,
Andrew Jackson and Thomas Jefferson. Their racist minds demanded total cultural
surrender from Indian people.
(end Swan statement)

Dr. Michael Koch, regional coordinator the German LPDOC spoke Friday morning. He said there are thousands of people in Europe now following this Tribunal. Koch pointed out that they had their own Reign of Terror in Germany.

Koch said the people of Europe have never forgotten Peltier in prison.

Manny Pino, Acoma Pueblo in New Mexico is a longtime activist exposing Cold War uranium mining and the existing radioactive contamination on Acoma and Laguna Pueblos. Pino is a professor at Scottsdale Community College in Arizona.

Pino said the American Indian Movement has always been involved with protecting the Rights of Mother Earth. Recalling 1975, Pino said he was working with the National Youth Committee and organized a tour of the power plants in the Four Corners area for an AIM convention. At the same time, uranium companies were exploring southwest South Dakota for uranium mining.

The Jumping Bull shoot out became a growing priority for AIM. The Black Hills Alliance and Mount Taylor Alliance in the Southwest were formed.

Pino explained that sacred Mount Taylor is near the Jackpile Mine, which operated for 30 years, and became the largest open pit uranium mine in the world.

Pueblos joined in the opposition of the mine with others in New Mexico. "We called ourselves the CIA, Cowboy, Indians Alliance."

Pino pointed out that the Four Corners area was declared a "National Sacrifice Area." It was Treaty land. Today the Spokane River in the northwest is so contaminated that the people can not eat the salmon.

Pino showed a map revealing that uranium mining is concentrated on Indian lands in the west. He said he became active in this struggle because of his own family.

"My father, uncles, cousins, numerous relatives, worked in the mine from Acoma and Laguna Pueblos where I'm from."

Many waterways, rivers, watersheds, of Indigenous Peoples utilized for drinking water are in this region where uranium mining has been concentrated. The result was the water has been contaminated and cancer began appearing in the Pueblos and elsewhere.

There are over 180 uranium mines in the Black Hills that have not been cleaned up. About 1,200 abandoned uranium mines on the Navajo Nation have not been cleaned up.

The Grants Mineral Belt in the area of Acoma and Laguna Pueblo in northwestern New Mexico is another area of contaminated uranium mining sites. Paguate, a village of 3,000 people in Acoma Pueblo, was heavily contaminated. Pueblo families were drying their food, drying their meat, as the dust of uranium blew over their food. They also grew their food on contaminated soil.

"They continued to graze their sheep and cattle." Analysis show radioactive contamination in the livestock, just as with the food.

Pino said the Rio Grande River is the lifeblood of New Mexico. It is the main drinking water source. However, the people of New Mexico are now drinking uranium contaminated water.

Further, he said there has been no successful reclamation of the Jackpile mine. The contamination continues and has been confirmed. Eight miles north of the Jackpile mine there is currently contamination. Pino said he has witnessed elk and deer drinking from the contaminated water. So, when Pueblos hunt elk and deer, and eat this, they too are contaminated.

Navajo uranium miners were mining without any protective clothing. The result is cancer clusters. Now the Pueblos and Navajos have some of the highest rates of cancer because of this Cold War uranium mining. 

Further, Lakotas in Pine Ridge and Cheyenne River in South Dakota are suffering from high rates of cancer because of uranium mining and contamination.

Navajos in the Four Corners area died in large numbers. It happened also on Spokane River, on Indian lands in South Dakota and areas of Canada. Native people died of cancer and respiratory diseases from the mining.

Navajos used radioactive rocks from uranium mining to construct their hogans. Further, the Church Rock Spill in New Mexico widely poisoned eastern Navajos.

"The majority of ore in the Southwest went to the US Department of Defense to make weapons of mass destruction," he said.

Pino said his people have been victims of the nuclear holocaust. "The workers brought the waste home on their clothing." Grassroots people were not educated as to the dangers.

Pino said he and other Pueblos are currently working with Owe Aku International and Defenders of the Black Hills, where uranium mining is currently threatening Lakotas in South Dakota. These are human rights violations that have been documented at the United Nations.

Pino said the Keystone Tarsands pipeline currently threatens Indian lands, which is again designed for export to other countries. Once again, Indian lands and Indian people are targeted for sacrifice.

"This is why Leonard Peltier is serving all this time in prison for, defending the rights of Mother Earth."

On Friday at the Peltier Tribunal, John Thomas from Oklahoma, Shawnee, Delaware and Creek, described how the US armed the Goon Squad on Pine Ridge with weapons and targeted AIM. 

Thomas shared how Oglala Chief Fools Crow gathered the Lakota Chiefs to go to Washington, to tell them to "call off the dogs, call off the agents."

Thomas went, and took his tobacco with him.

They spoke in Washington on the Reign of Terror on Pine Ridge. In DC, they organized an effort and brought the chiefs back to meet with President Ford.
They impressed on President Ford the need to pull the agents back.

Thomas said the Reign of Terror on Pine Ridge was a "civil war perpetuated by their own government."

Attorney Bruce Ellison provided testimony by phone, strong testimony on how the US targeted the American Indian Movement and Leonard Peltier, primarily due to concern that AIM would interfere with mining and resource extraction.
Ellison is currently involved with testimony to oppose uranium mining in Lakota territory. In the 1970s, uranium mining was also the issue, as companies were targeting the Black Hills with uranium mining.

Ellison made it clear that the Jumping Bull shoot out would have never happened if the US had responded to AIM's demand for Native American rights, including Treaty rights, with justice. 

Instead, the US responded by surrounding Lakotas with paramilitary force. Peltier was targeted and evidence was created, manipulated and distorted by the US which resulted in Peltier's imprisonment.
Lenny Foster, Navajo, testified on the abuse of Native prisoner rights on Thursday. Dorothy Ninham testified on the atrocities endured by Peltier in prison. 
On the first day of the Peltier Tribunal, Lakota survivors of the Pine Ridge Reign of Terror and Goon Squad testified. Dakota scholar Chris Mato Nunpa presented testimony on Dakota genocide.

For permission to repost content from this article, contact
Censored News article Day 1: Jumping Bull Shootout and Pine Ridge Reign of Terror
Day 2: Dorothy Ninham: Visits with Peltier in prison and Lenny Foster 'Peltier is our Nelson Mandela'

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Peltier website: Who Is Leonard Peltier

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

How is it possible that a running river can be seperated and commodified into issues manually labelled 'justice' and 'injusice'? This is how US law works. Long periods of injustice in its tyrannical flood of history are blocked off favouring the consequences of a 'damn' inorder to create an overflowing into chaos. Only this damn is man made from beginning to end just as his laws are. Commodified in order to enable total exploitation via its unnatural, disjointed policies. If a case was to start at the beginning of its unjust crime exploiters would be qgere Mr. Peltier is now. Thats a lot of goverment bureaucrats and dodgy dealers in poison for money and lives-