Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

July 3, 2015

Oglala Commemoration Celebrates AIM Warriors and Legacy


16th Annual Oglala Commemoration – June 26, 2015

By Lisa Reinhold

Greetings to all, this year’s event was a success and many thanks to everyone who planned, travelled, cooked, volunteered, cleaned, made music, ran and danced to Commemorate the 40th Anniversary of the Incident at Oglala.  This year’s event was marked with loss, after illness, Roselyn Jumping Bull, our Committee Chair walked on.  Roselyn’s passing has left a void in our Committee and we are grateful to her family for allowing us to continue with the Commemoration.  We miss Roselyn greatly and are appreciative of the unconditional support that she and her family has provided to the Committee these past 16 years, and will provide in the years to come.
In preparation for the event on the 26th, the Committee and the Community gathered to set the agenda for the following day. The 25th promised to be a busy day of running around and preparing for the following day’s events; we began this year by kicking things off with the Leonard Peltier Support Group Forum; in attendance were like-minded individuals who came from near and far. Leonard’s son, Chauncey, began the meeting by communicating to the group the focus that all the groups are to take in promoting the “Road to Clemency” Campaign for Leonard.  Rounds were made; all in attendance were afforded the opportunity to introduce oneself and to speak their thoughts and plans for Leonard’s Clemency. The meeting then moved on to the Oglala Commemoration Committees planning meeting in which the Committee discussed the agenda for the events on June 26th.  The Committee then shared a meal for those present.

The 26th began with the AIM Grassroots group from Rapid City hosting the 2nd Annual Leonard Peltier Freedom run; joining the runners was Chase Iron Eyes who co-sponsored the Freedom Run. The runners persevered through the distance and heat and were met at the Little Family Cemetery to resounding support.  Our congratulations to these runners for completing this endeavor, and our thanks and respect for their sacrifice.

We had a great turnout at the Little Family Cemetery; there were as many cars as there were walkers. As with every year, while waiting to get things rolling, we visited with old friends and made new ones.  Attendees were asked to circle up so that the Commemoration event could begin.  Prayers and words were shared by Committee member, Fred Cedar Face, welcomed everyone and reminded us the importance of what it is that we were there to commemorate as well as to send prayers up for a safe event, Leonard, Roselyn and for much needed healing throughout the community.  Fred provided a brief history of the events of June 26th, and the lasting impact of that day which so affects many still.  

Leonard’s eldest son, Chauncey, read Leonard’s statement and briefly discussed how he has come to embrace his father’s legacy. Chauncey then read Leonard’s annual statement.  Keeping things moving, Stanley Good Voice Elk and his drum provided the prayer and honor song and concluded with the AIM song.

The walkers lined up and set out for the Jumping Bull property, led by the AIM Grassroots lead vehicle, which carried the drum. Leading the march were staff carriers, followed by the walkers and the vehicles. The line extended back for approximately 1 mile, with both Commemoration Security and Tribal police providing security. The walk concluded at the Jumping Bull property without incident.

Upon arriving at the Jumping Bull Property, the walkers had a small snack of fruit and granola bars and Guy Dull Knife welcomed everyone on behalf of the Jumping Bull Property. Prayers and honor songs were offered.

The Committee announced the 2015 winner of the Leonard Peltier Honorary Scholarship, Lucien Little Whiteman, a GED student who is continuing his education at the Oglala Lakota College.

The program continued with the honoring of Roselyn. Memorial cakes were walked around the cakes were then cut and shared and a start quilt was presented to the family. In keeping with Roselyn’s wishes and desire to honor the children, the children’s toy and book giveaway was held in Roselyn’s honor.  

In keeping with an annual tradition, the backpack and school supply giveaway was held in Leonard’s honor. As it is his belief that the future of all indigenous communities are dependent upon the success of the children.  

Marking the passing of another AIM warrior, Committee member, Galeson Eagle Star, eulogized Carter Camp, and noted Carter’s contributions to the Movement. The event at the property concluded and all attendees were invited to share in a community meal at Bro. Rene Hall.

Providing a delicious meal at Brother Renee Hall; once again Belva Janis, Wilma Blacksmith and the rest of the ladies cooked a wonderful meal.  Kicking things into gear with some rousing rock, musical entertainment during the meal was provided by Committee Member, Owen Black Elk and Tim Blackbear. Calming things down a bit, Terry Holliday entertained us with some country tunes as well as a crowd favorite, Johnny Cash’s version of “Hurt”.

At the conclusion of the Commemoration events, AIM Grassroots and Rapid City Support Group hosted two-day wacipi in Oglala. There they honored Edgar Bear Runner and Bruce Ellison.  Also honored was Roselyn, Dino Butler accepted the star quilt on behalf of the Jumping Bull family.

We would like to thank all the families locally involved and who have supported us through the years: Jumping Bull, Little Family, Black Elk, Good Voice Elk, Cedar Face, Blacksmith, and the Janis families.  Our thanks go to the Ladies and Gentlemen of the Peltier Support Groups and AIM Grassroots.  

Thanks to: Tom Poor Bear, Chance Iron Eyes, Chauncey Peltier, ILPSC, AIM Grassroots, Peltier Support Group- Rapid City, Our Lady of the Sioux & Sr. Barb, Wal-Mart Chadron, OST Public Safety, the Parchcorn Family, Keith Rabin, Jerry Flowers, Bill Butler, Cakes Etc. – Chadron, First Capital Chiropractic Office for all the donated toys, and to all those who donate auction items and to those who place bids.  We extend our thanks to the Rainbow tribe for their unsolicited support.

Special thanks go out to all the musicians who so graciously donate their time and talent to this event, and are always there for us:
Tim Black Bear & Owen Black Elk
Terry Holliday

Sincere thanks to the Jumping Bull & Long Visitor families for allowing us to continue, our thoughts and prayers are with you during this time of loss.

Finally yet importantly, we wish to thank Leonard Peltier for the sacrifice of his freedom, his faith and belief in the youth and his continued support of our efforts on his behalf.

Thank you all for your continued support,
The Oglala Commemoration Committee:
Lisa, JD, Owen, Fred, Gina, Paula, Candy and Galeson

June 26, 2015
Statement by Leonard Peltier
Greetings to you, my Relatives and Friends,

This is the first time that my dear sister Roselyn will not be there for me, but I know she is there in spirit as she has gone on her journey. I have seen pictures of the gathering over the years and can still see her sitting there under the trees with our relatives...I will always miss her and be grateful to her for all she did for me and for our people.

This year I am most concerned with our children and the taking of their own lives. This is very sad to me as it is to you, and I know there are many reasons for them to feel such despair and hopelessness.  But I can only ask and encourage all of us to double our efforts to show them love and support, and let them know that we will always look after them and protect them.  That includes asking big brothers and sisters to look after the younger ones.  They are our future and they have to be protected and to learn to be the protectors.  This is not something we can live with, we need to all work to change this.

And this year it is even more urgent that we come together to protect our sovereignty. There are so many issues to face and fight.  We continue to fight for our Black Hills and to stop the XL pipeline from poisoning our water and our land, and I stand with the Lakota, Dakota and Nakota Nations, and all people of like mind in this fight.

The destruction of our Mother Earth by the heavy and toxic Tar Sands oil, fracking, gas and oil drilling and Uranium mining is unacceptable to me and to us.  We are supposed to be protecting these things even as others try to push us aside. I honor all of our relatives who are on the front lines of this fight.

And after all that I have seen in these 40 years behind bars, I was still shocked to see what they are trying to do to the Apache people at Oak Flats.  This cannot be tolerated. It is not only a blatant money grab at the expense of a tribes Sacred site but it is an effort to push us back in the direction of termination by ignoring our rights as sovereign nations.  This we will not tolerate.  Nothing is sacred to these people and they will continue to try to bulldoze us out of the way without even a single thought to our coming generations if we do not continue to stand up and oppose them.  We must be ready for anything or we will lose all that we have gained in the last 40 years.

The continued use of racist mascots is not something that we can never except as Indigenous peoples and we need to all continue to push to end that racist practice.

As for me. Time is something I have learned a lot about in these years in prison.  And now I can see that time is slipping away from me and I know that if I do not get out under this President I will almost certainly die here in prison.

I have been able to survive with the hope you have given to me and your prayers and I am grateful for that support from all of you.

I continue to pray for the family of my brother Joe Stuntz and for all those who paid such a dear price in those bitter times 40 years ago.  And I pray for the families of all our people who have suffered so much and continue to suffer now.

I thank all of you for coming today and I know how hot it can be there.  And especially to all the runners and walkers I offer my gratitude.

I send my Love to the people of the Lakota Nations and to all Native Nations

In the Spirit of Crazy Horse,
Leonard Peltier

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