PELTIER: Happy Thanksgiving—NOT
Again this year, Peltier sends his Day of Mourning, Thanksgiving Day message launched into cyberspace by the LPDOC. This year’s message contained a lot of “facts” about the history of this “holiday.” Some of Peltier’s historical references are a bit skewed and perhaps we can offer some other “facts” for Peltier followers to consider.
Peltier is irresponsible again with the mantra equating the treatment of Native Americans to genocide and the Holocaust. “The United States did not follow a policy of genocide; it did try to find a just solution to the Indian problem. The consistent idea was to civilize the Indians, incorporate them into the community, make them part of the melting pot. That it did not work, that it was foolish, conceited, even criminal, may be true, but that doesn’t turn a well-meant program into genocide, certainly not the genocide as we have known in the twentieth century.*
Can’t argue with a few of his facts though, many Reservations are deplorable, America’s original failed welfare system, making mere survival a challenge with particularly the young robbed of opportunities for successful lives. Although sparsely populated they are worse in many ways than the harshest inner cities. (Of course, there are fortunate tribes and Nations that are privileged to be near population and tourist centers, those with lucrative tribal benefits and incomes, some even with corporate flight departments. But then there’s the whole gambling thing…more exploitation perhaps…and by whom? To quote Leonard, “Ask any Pequot.”)
And we will give Peltier his due (as we have in the past**) when he does make a meaningful suggestion, as rare as they have been. Here he implores those who can have a good Thanksgiving dinner to donate it to those who don’t or can’t…admirable…we should all make those sacrifices when we can.
But let’s add a few more “facts” to Peltier’s list:
Fact: There was plenty of Indian on Indian violence long before (and after) the first white man stepped foot on the North American Continent. Some tribes were completely annihilated or enslaved by other more violent and aggressive tribes.
Fact: Many tribes laid claims to the same lands allegedly belonging to others. Many tribes cooperated, for their own benefit, with the occupying English, French and Spanish.
Fact: the American Indian Movement (AIM) failed in both message and deeds to help their own people in distress. They created more problems than they ever solved; if there is any doubt about that, just explore its history.
Fact: Wounded Knee (1890) was a tragedy, a massacre. Wounded Knee II (1973) was a demonstration of destructive lawlessness by a domestic terrorist organization.
Fact: On June 26, 1975, Leonard Peltier was not in Seattle.
Fact: Peltier knew he was wanted that day for an assault on a police officer (yes, he did beat that one), and knew that the agents following him onto Jumping Bull were looking, and had a warrant, for fugitive, Jimmy Eagle.
Fact: Peltier knew this because Norman Charles had been stopped and interviewed by Agents Coler and Williams just the day before when they thought that he may have been Jimmy Eagle. But that didn’t prevent Peltier, Norman Charles and Joe Stuntz from stopping and firing at the agents, pinning them down in an open field.
Fact: After the initial shooting began, Peltier was joined by AIM members (including Robert Robideau and Dino Butler) who also fired at the agents, catching them in a crossfire.
Fact: Agent Williams made radio calls for help that were overheard by other agents and those in the FBI’s Rapid City office. They also heard agent Williams get shot.
Fact: After the agents were severely wounded and unable to defend themselves, their heads were destroyed with a high powered weapon at contact range: Agent Williams had a defensive wound causing his fingers to be blown through his face.
Fact: While the agents lay dead on the ground (moved and rolled over), Peltier and the others ransacked their vehicles and stole their weapons.
Fact: With the dead agents at their feet, Peltier is quoted and describes the following, “I seen Joe (Stuntz) when he pulled it out of the trunk (the dead agent’s FBI jacket) and I looked at him when he put it on, and he gave me a smile.” “I didn’t think nothing of it at the time; all I could think of was, We got to get out of here!”***
Fact: As a mater of recent testimony Peltier was quoted as saying “The ___ - ___ begged for his life but I shot him anyway.”
Fact: Robert Robideau, quoted in an email; “…they died like worms.”****
Fact: The jury had to consider (among other evidence) testimony from the “Critical Witnesses,” removing any reasonable doubt about Peltier’s guilt.*****
Peltier ends his message with, “If between football games and turkey and dressing you can remember me and those like me, I will be thankful as well.”
And, aside from the myth as a warrior and the alleged charitable fundraising******, we did, and will continue to remember Peltier and any others like him at FCI Coleman and elsewhere, as the unrepentant, low-life, cowardly murderer he is and always will be.
“In the Spirit of Coler and Williams”
*Stephen E. Ambrose
***In the Spirit of Crazy Horse, p.552
****** http://www.noparolepeltier.com/myth.html; http://www.noparolepeltier.com/debate.html#fraud