The American Indian Movement (AIM) was called upon a generation ago by the Oglala traditionalists on the reservation to protect the People. These individuals; men, women, and children were routinely terrorized. Acts of violence and retaliation were played out throughout the community. No one was immune from the cruelty and pervasive violence that gripped the innocent of Pine Ridge. In struggling to maintain traditional values, AIM was sought out to provide assistance and protection from a flawed tribal administration that failed to support its people. The activists sought only to align themselves in solidarity with the People against the forces which sought to undermine the tribal sovereignty of the Oglala Nation. These threats existed not only on Pine Ridge, but in countless other Nations throughout Indian Country as well. After decades of neglect, exploitation, and marginalization, opportunities arose that allowed the Oglala to rise above their historical circumstances and multi generational trauma to empower themselves to bring about change through a return to traditional values.
Answering the call for help, many traveled great distances to lend support and protection. One such individual was Leonard Peltier. As with many, it was Leonard's desire to defend and protect traditional people's right to exist and thrive that brought him to Oglala. The events of June 26th are forever emblazoned in the consciousness of all Oglalas; it is this date that has forever changed and affected not just Leonard's life, but the life of all Indigenous Peoples struggling for the right of self-determination and sovereignty.
To this day, Leonard sits in a prison which confines him physically, yet fails to confine his spirit that transcends the brick and mortar cell to which he is subject. It is this spirit of hope that Leonard believes will heal Native Nations and unite them in the protection and preservation of sacred ceremony, culture, language, and the responsible stewardship of the land and its resources for the generations yet to come. The Oglala Commemoration Committee's goal is to honor Leonard's vision and to actively work to promote these beliefs and values. The Committee, through it's efforts, continues to pay respect to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of Indigenous Rights. June us every June 26th in Oglala, South Dakota for Leonard Peltier Day. This is a free event and opened to all family and supporters. A day of remembrance, honoring, memorials, food and music.