Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights
Friday, March 28, 2014
Spring Statement from Leonard Peltier:
Greetings my friends, relatives, supporters, and all those who support the cause of freedom, not only for Native Americans, but for all people.
I know it’s sometimes not easy being involved and staying involved, so for all of you that have done just that, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart to the top of my soul. We need more people all over the world who not only care about the freedom of others, but who care about our future generations and what kind of Earth we leave behind.
I know there are prophecies and predictions and beliefs that predict the end times of life as we know it, and I want to say to you that all of these things that have been said are said for our benefit so that we may choose a different path. All over the world there are people who seek to serve God or the Creator or the Great Spirit or whatever name you call that greater power that gives us life, and I want to say to you at this point in time, that our greatest enemy isn't some supernatural being with horns and a long tail or some other goolish spirit; our greatest enemy throughout the world is gluttony, people wanting and taking more than they need. That, is the cause of all the wars, the invasions and the dictatorships and the pollutions that face mankind.
It is the way of our Native people that we should not take more than we need. It is in the teachings of the Christians, it is in the teaching of the Muslims, and of the Buddhists. It is a basic, fundamental teaching of all the major approaches to spirituality throughout the world that we do not take more than we need. It is also a teaching of my people that when you take from the Earth you must give back something back in return. Mankind has built up a great debt to the Earth, and a great debt to Nature and whether we like it or not or recognize it or not, that debt will be repaid one way or another.
When people set off explosions underneath the Earth, this Earth we call our Mother, when they make poisons and radiation and other deadly things and put them within our mother, then they cause birth defects for all of nature, including man. This may not sound very scientific and quite simplistic, but it is a truth and that truth is being born out in obvious ways throughout all mankind. We see it in birth defects in animals and fish of the ocean, birds of the sky and the reptile. We see it in our waters and in our air. We must find a way to stop these corporations whose CEOs live in air-conditioned penthouses and chalets inside an artificial environment that only they can afford.
We must convince them, in whatever way we can, to respect our Earth and to respect us, and not allow them to destroy our Mother the Earth with fracking and oil-filled pipelines crossing the land, and steel platforms in the ocean that spill oil, or pesticides that kill the bees and destroy the food chain of the birds. Our Mother the Earth is a living creation, and we are all part of that life cycle, all dependent on one another. Every time I turn on the television in the day room or pick up an international magazine of some sort, I read about and see the evidence of this destruction.
I know sometimes we feel that there is nothing we can do; but there is, if each one of us does something then together we can and will make a change. It might be doing a demonstration and carrying a sign or it may be writing your Senator or Congressmen or it may be voting for a person who supports natural, renewable energy from the wind and the sun or other sources.
Whatever it is you choose to do, choose something, make a difference, make your life count for something. Right now in various part of the United States and Canada there are people of all ages and all races trying to stop these oil pipelines that will carry sludge, and this fracking that sets off explosions under the Earth which also causes earth tremors and quakes. This is an immediate danger; it is very real, and you can do something about it.
I want to remind you that if it wasn't for people like yourselves that have taken a stand for something, we wouldn’t have the national forests, the redwoods, there wouldn't be animals and various other forms of life, there would be no Yellowstone Park, and there would be a lot more species totally extinct than there are now.
So taking a stand DOES make a difference. How we pray to the Creator for help and how we thank the Creator for what we have is important, but what is truly more important, is that you demonstrate your faith and your belief. You demonstrate it by protecting and respecting this very nature and Earth that we have been given to live upon. Who you are is not defined by what you do when everything is in balance, who you are is defined by what you do when you are faced with imbalance when you are faced with a challenge that requires a sacrifice or some sort of intestinal fortitude, which we call courage. THAT defines you.
I am not in this prison for anything that I did wrong. I am in this prison because I was a part of a people that tried to right a wrong. I am in this prison as a statement by the corporation controlled government forces that want to say, “Give up your resources, give up your freedom, don’t stand against us” That, is their message in keeping me in here.
I want to tell you sincerely, this is not an easy place to be. It is a terrible place to be, but when I chose to answer the call along with other Native people, many of us took a vow to stand up even unto death if necessary. Some were shot and killed and their lives were taken immediately. My life has been taken one day at a time. But if I had it all to do over again I would still choose to stand up for my people and your people and our future generations to protect our freedoms and our Mother Earth, and in doing that I am honored that you remember me. I want to thank you for that remembrance and of all those before me, and the ones now that do the same and know that there will be others in the future.
I can’t tell you that these choices will always make you feel good, I can’t tell you that these choices won’t hurt or cause moments of depression or sorrow, but I can tell you that there is a closeness with the Creator that is unlike any good feeling you could ever know anywhere else, a closeness with the Creator that no one can take away, and makes it all worth it. I am saying these things at this time because I get a lot of letters and communications now, from groups around the country that are facing crisis within their organizations in trying to stop these pollutions and destructions. As I have in the past, I want to encourage you to do your best to do what is right and right what is wrong and protect what we have and regain what we have lost.
I want to thank you for your support and I want you to know that as long as I walk this earth and have some say, myself and this committee will do the best we possibly can to always do what is right.
In the Spirit of Crazy Horse
French translation by Christine Prat, thank you!
French translation by Christine Prat, thank you!