LEONARD PELTIER DAY
JUNE 26, 2017
Why we commemorate June 26th:
The American Indian Movement (AIM) was called upon a generation ago by the Oglala traditionals on the Pine Ridge Reservation to protect the People.
Many were routinely terrorized and brutalized. Acts of violence and retaliation 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 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 also in countless other
Nations throughout Indian Country.
Answering the call for help, many travelled 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 the 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 Oglala’s; 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.
Though Leonard is incarcerated, separated from his family and community, he tries to maintain a positive outlook and feel hope for the future. 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 wishes and to actively promote these beliefs and values. The Committee, through is
efforts, will maintain its goal, to not forget the events of June 26th, to commemorate the events leading up to this tragic day and the resulting impact. The
Committee wishes to respectfully commemorate those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of the people.
18th Annual Oglala Commemoration – June 26, 2017
Greetings, this years’ event marks the 18th Annual Commemoration. Again, this year’s event was a success. With everyone’s hard work and pulling together,
we paid our respect and honored those who have made sacrifices in the struggle for Indian sovereignty and self-determination. This year we again honored
our Committee Chair, Roselyn Jumping Bull by placing a bench in the newly constructed arbor. We as well honored the life of Paul Waha Shields, (Leonard’s
son) and the Red Warrior Camp of the Water Protectors.
Under blue skies and a gentle breeze, the 26th began with the AIM Grassroots (AIM Peji Wahuta) hosting the 4rd Annual Leonard Peltier Freedom run. All who
had gathered to greet them met the runners at the Little Family Cemetery.
Committee member, Fred Cedar Face, welcomed everyone, provided a brief history of the events of June 26th and reminded us of the importance of what it is
that we were there to commemorate as well as to send prayers up for a safe event. AS they runner arrived, Fred welcomed them into the circle, offered
prayers and invited all to shake hands with the runners. Our greatest respect to these runners, of which, many were children; you have our sincere thanks and
respect for your sacrifice.
The Ta Oyate Olowan drum provided an honor song to conclude events at the cemetery and sang as the walkers made their way up to the Jumping Bull
Property. Leading the march were staff carriers, followed by the walkers and the vehicles. Commemoration Security provided security and traffic control for
the walkers and caravan of cars. The walk concluded at the Jumping Bull property. At the property, the walkers were offered cold drinks, fresh fruit and
granola bars. Ivis Long Visitor welcomed everyone on behalf of the Jumping Bull family, and served as the host.
Roselyn Jumping Bull was honored by the Committee with the presentation of a memorial bench draped in a gorgeous star quilt in honor Roselyn and all the
grandmothers who have supported Leonard throughout the years. As a gift to the people and in honor of Roselyn, musician, Dale Hanabarger, played Roselyn’
s favorite Neil Young song, Harvest Moon.
Marking the passing of Paul Waha Shields, Henry Red Cloud shared fond memories of Waha and spoke of Waha’s desire to provide a safe and secure future
for his children. Our prayers go out to Waha’s family. In memory of Waha, Henry brought pine trees and handed them out to attendees to plant.
AIM Grassroots honored the Water Protectors, and star quilts were presented to the Guy Dull Knife, Cuny Dog, and Olawin Martinez accepting on behalf of
Deb White Plume for the Water Protectors.
Eileen Janis paid respect and honored Roselyn Jumping Bull, again, reminding all in attendance the importance of the Commemoration and Roselyn’s
unwavering support for both the Event and the Committee. In keeping with the vision of supporting the children, the Committee presented Eileen with a basket
of shawls for the Sweetgrass Foundation.
Paulette D'auteuil, of the LPDOC, read Leonard’s statement, and family members walked around Memorial cakes. In honor of Roselyn, Waha, and the Water
Protectors, the cakes were cut and shared.
As it is Leonard’s long held belief that the future of all indigenous communities are dependent upon the success of the children, the backpack and school
supply giveaway was held in Leonard’s honor. We doubled the number of backpacks from last year and still ran out. Our goal for 2018 is increase the number
so we anticipate putting out a call for more school supply donations.
In keeping with Roselyn’s longtime wishes that the children not be forgotten, the children’s toy giveaway was held in Roselyn’s honor.
The event at the property concluded and all attendees were invited to share in a community meal and listen to the musicians at Bro. Rene Hall.
Providing a delicious meal at Brother Renee Hall, the cooks:
Winona’s Kitchen,Oceti Shakowin Camp,Carla & Christy from Camp Justice,
Jordan & Marceline,Sacred Stone School,Belva Janis
Thank you ladies for all your hard work! The meal was delicious and very much appreciated.
Thanks also to two-thirds of SpyderZback Owen & Timmy, Dale Hanabarger, and Michael Koch for providing musical entertainment.
In the flurry of activity, we overlooked announcing the 2017 winner of the Leonard Peltier Honorary Scholarship, Gina Johnson., a GED student who is
continuing her education at the Oglala Lakota College, majoring in Information Technology. Our Congratulations go out to Gina; we wish you all the success.
Many thanks to everyone who planned, travelled, cooked, volunteered, cleaned, and made music to commemorate the 42nd Anniversary of the Incident at
We would like to thank all the families locally involved and who have supported us through the years: Jumping Bull, Long Visitor, Little Family, Black Elk, Good
Voice Elk, Cedar Face, Blacksmith, Cheyenne, Roach, Red Shirt, Star Comes Out, and the Janis families.
Our thanks to the Ladies and Gentlemen of the Peltier Support Groups (U.S. and International) and AIM Grassroots (AIM Peji Wahuta).
Thanks to:, Eileen Janis, ILPSC, AIM Grassroots Peltier Support Groups, Our Lady of the Sioux & Sr. Barb, Wal-Mart Chadron, the Parchcorn Family, Naomi
Carranza, Keith Rabin, Jerry Flowers (Thunderkiss), and Cakes Etc. (Chadron), Cee and Cassie for filling backpacks, and to all those who donate auction
items and to those who placed bids. In addition, to the groups who have donated Pow-wow booths, Lake Shawnee Pow-wow, Black Horse Pow-wow and the
Great River Eagle Days Pow-wow.
Our sincere thanks to the Jumping Bull & Long Visitor families for allowing us to continue to honor Roselyn’s wishes and their unwavering support. We miss
Roselyn greatly and are appreciative of the unconditional support that her family has provided to the Committee these past 18 years.
Most important, we wish to thank Leonard Peltier for the sacrifice of his freedom, his faith and belief in the youth and his continued support of the Committees
efforts on his behalf. Our greatest respect!
The Oglala Commemoration Committee:
Lisa, JD, Owen, Fred, Gina, and Galeson
GRANDMOTHERS MEMORIAL BENCH
| HENRY RED CLOUD
|THE ROSELYN JUMPING BULL
MEMORIAL CHILDREN TOY
| G-GRANDMOTHER JUMPING BULL
Statement from Leonard for the Oglala Commemoration – June 26, 2017
Greetings Sisters, Brothers, friends and supporters. Well, here we are, another year, another memorial. After 42 yrs., this does not get any easier. It seems as if
you get lost for words. At times I feel as if it has all been for nothing, but I know that's just weakness speaking. The struggle is never for nothing. So many of our
children, grandchildren and in my case now, great-grandchildren, depend on us to try and save our lands, our Nations, our culture, religion and our People. But
the young people should know many of us are growing old and soon it will be our time to leave this world. The next generation has to step into our shoes and
become leaders. As they say, they will have to step up to the plate and be a strong hitter of the ball. These are words that I have repeated many times over the
years. To see the younger Sisters and Brothers who are doing just that is an enormous relief from the stress that stems from feeling we may have lost the Battle
for Survival as a Nation of Peoples. From in here all I can see is a lot of areas where we are losing ground. Like the young drinking, drugging and gang banging -
KILLING our own kids on our Rez. Streets with these drive by shootings, "How cowardly is that!” Then there are so many children who are living in this world of
oppression. They take their own lives because they believe it is their only way out. Our young girls/women - fed up with the Rez life of dysfunctional family life
and poverty and all of the evils that go with it - seek a better life by marrying out of our race, which in reality, is effectively an act of genocide AGAINST OUR
OWN RACE. This is a strategy perpetuated by the usa government that has been going on for centuries now - 'breed the Indian out of the Indian' was their Plan. I
know it’s true, "AS IT HAS HAPPEN WITH IN MY OWN FAMILY!” They wanted a better life. One with which they could at least escape poverty and be able to
support their family. SO WHAT ARE THE ANSWERS? How do we correct or fight this and will the Powers that be allow us to correct it? Those remain very hard
questions to answer. But we have tried and must continue trying. AIM and the other native organizations (it wasn't just the American Indian Movement), who
believed in reversing those plans, all pushed hard through Native country and made them work in a lot of areas. Those that believed in our principals taught their
children the ways of their tribes, culture, etc. I'm hearing their children are doing good things and are strong advocates of Native culture, our Nation, and Our
People. Some Native Nations have almost eliminated alcohol and drugs, and more of their young people are finishing high school and going to college. Some are
restoring their lands to their Natural Habitat after yrs, of destruction by mining or development. Although we have made many gains we are still a long way from
being successful. So we elders need you young people to stand up and take over, as we have always said, and pursue a life on the good red road. When I first
heard about Standing Rock - WOW! - what a proud, warm feeling went through my body. Here were MY people leading the way to try and save our - HELL, not
just OUR's, but "The world’s!" future generations. This is what we in the 60's, 70's were
doing with some of our political issues and protests. Standing Rock's water is a stand-in for the water we all depend on. It is so important for life. Without water we
People, the Animals, the Land itself, CANNOT LIVE. IT’S SIMPLE AND THERE ISN'T ANY TRUTHFUL ANSWER OTHERWISE. Why can’t they understand this?
The answer is because they don't give a damn! Well, I have said enough for now. Some of what I have said I’m only repeating and probably will repeat them the
rest of my life. Until we win and the world is a safer place for all peoples, then I don’t feel like it is being said in vain. You all have a good day and thank you very
much for all these the years of support and the love you have shown me. You’re awesome and it will be worth every moment of these 42 yrs of hell I have lived in
if we - not me as one man -but we as a Nation and a culture, can emerge victorious.
In the Spirit of Crazy Horse - Doksha, Leonard Peltier