Peltier’s latest yelp from Coleman is a pathetic eulogy to the man who wrote the “Peltier New Age Bible,” In the Spirit of Crazy Horse. Crazy Horse himself must be rolling over in his grave that Peltier, at once the victim and would-be warrior, AIM gofer, thug, bodyguard, and gun-in-her-mouth, Jumping Bull coward, is diminishing his real bravery and storied heritage.
(Mathiessen’s reporting, having the opportunity for a multitude of firsthand interviews of those involved in the American Indian Movement and the participants, particularly Peltier himself, in the murders of Agents Coler and Williams has proven to be a valuable resource and quoted extensively in NPPA Editorial Essays.)
Our condolences to the Matthiessen family and a passing respect for some of Peter Matthiessen’s more notable accomplishments (Peltier support notwithstanding), but it’s impossible to pass on Peltier’s ignorance and skewed facts that beg for a response.
In his April 6th prison memo Peltier, referring to retired FBI Agent Dave Price’s libel suit against Matthiessen and ITSOCH, states, “Yes, he told me they threatened his career and even his very life,” and, “When that did not work, they threatened his life and the lives of his family.” Really? Threatened his life?
Matthiessen, who eventually won the suit, and had every opportunity at that point to further his story, and even in the later 1992 Penguin Books edition (which included an ‘afterword’ by Matthiessen attorney Martin Garbus), and further “Notes” from Matthiessen himself, never talks of threats against his or his family’s lives. This would have been the perfect opportunity to take another poke at the FBI and Agent Price, but he did not. Which begs the question whether this is just another in a long string of Peltier fabrications (lies in reality).
This claim, another without foundation or proof, must be filed away with Peltier’s proven lie of Mr. X as the alleged killer of Agents Coler and Williams. Lest we not forget Peltier in Redford’s Incident at Oglala facing the camera, “This story is true.” Well, it wasn’t true according to co-conspirator Dino Butler and of late, by Peltier’s own attorney, and neither is this one. (Footnote #1)
Isn’t it ironic that the final decision in the slander suit from August 9, 1979 (as attorney Garbus reports) was authored by none other than Federal Judge Gerald Heaney, the same judge who in May 1985 ruled against Peltier—on the law—subsequent to the three-day “ballistics hearing.” Life sometimes does have its little twists. (Fn, #2)
But Judge Heaney’s civil suit decision did point to a greater reality, that authors and journalists have a right to report statements no matter how “hostile” or “disreputable” their sources may be. And AIM, from top to bottom with its sordid history falls squarely within that category. (Fn. #3)
Aside from the fact that even when Matthiessen himself doubted his sources, like his suspicion of Bob Robideau and the entire Mr. X fiasco (Fn. #4), he did end his tome with a very telling postscript, perhaps in some manner awkwardly trying to unbalance his bias towards the AIM gangsters and Peltier in particular. Matthiessen made one profoundly significant suggestion (ITSOCH, p. 601):
“For a concise summation of the federal case in United States v. Peltier, the reader is directed to the findings of the Federal Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, September 14, 1978…”
And in that regard Peter Matthiessen and the No Parole Peltier Association are in absolute harmony. This is something that the NPPA has been encouraging since it’s inception nearly fourteen years ago (April 30, 2000). Prominent on the home page this message remains:
IMPORTANT NOTE: It is critically important for any concerned reader and researcher to review the Court Decisions regarding Peltier's conviction and appeals. It is within those decisions that each and every issue and allegation raised by Peltier, and repeated by the LPDC, has been addressed and resolved.
Thank you Peter Matthiessen. Rest in Peace.
“In the Spirit of Coler and Williams”
4) http://www.noparolepeltier.com/interview.html For a painstakingly vivid example of Matthiessen’s naiveté on the entire Peltier matter see ITSOCH, pp. 576-584. Forget not also that Matthiessen was on Peltier’s payroll when researching and writing ITSOCH which allowed him broad access to Peltier and AIM members and may have skewed many of his conclusions. It should not be overlooked that ITSOCH was described as “…utterly unconvincing—indeed sophomoric—when he (Matthiessen) pleads the legal innocence of individual Indian criminals.” “…(and) not only fails to convince; he (Matthiessen) makes a strong case for Mr. Peltier’s guilt.” (See; Placing “In the Sprit of Crazy Horse in Perspective;” quote from Alan M. Dershowitz, The New York Times, book review, March 8, 1983; http://noparolepeltier.com/response.html#4