Peltier rambles on about magazine articles he’s read in the prison TV room equating his confinement and condition to that of the environment, a world order against indigenous peoples and messages of making one’s life count for something. (Footnote #1). Peltier has to do this because he’s offering propaganda to two different audiences. On the one hand those who have little knowledge of who or what Peltier really is but that must be convinced, as he has convinced himself, that all the folklore, bolstered by years of myths and lies are true. He offers himself as the sacrificial lamb for those persecuted minorities that the uninformed are compelled to amend for all the wrongs of the past. You know, Peltier the victim.
Then there’s the other message for those who actually believe Peltier made some meaningful contribution during his otherwise wasted life. This is where he makes again a real-time confession for those who would follow him, no matter what, and over any cliff.
“I want to tell you sincerely this is not an easy place to be. It is a terrible place to be, but when I chose to answer the call along with other Native People, many of us took a vow to stand up even unto death if necessary. Some were shot and killed and their lives were taken immediately. My life has been taken one day at a time. But if I had to do it all over again I would still choose to stand up for my people and your people and our future generations to protect our freedoms and our mother Earth, and in doing that I am honored that you remember me.
Genuinely honest and truthful people never have to say they are being “sincere,” but let’s take him at face value, again, as he plays the role for that other group of dwindling supporters; Peltier the warrior.
The message here is not subtle and we’ve seen it before. Previously it would appear to have been a slip of the forked tongue but his message is unmistakable (Footnote #2). Peltier took a “vow” and of critical import to all those who see the charlatan for what he really is, that he would “do it all over again.” Let’s ask Anna Mae’s Aquash’s daughters if Peltier was being the “warrior” when he stuck a gun in their mother’s mouth forcing her to admit she was an informant (history has proven she was not). Was that part of the “vow” that Peltier clings to? Or that day at Jumping Bull? He knew he was a fugitive but also that FBI Agents Coler and Williams were looking for someone else, Jimmy Eagle, but that did not stop him and some of the “many of us” from brutally attacking and severely wounding the agents. That Agent Williams tried to surrender made no difference (Footnote #3). That Peltier admitted during his escape, (to the same Anna Mae who was later a victim of AIM paranoia; shot in the head and left in a ditch), that “the … … begged for his life but I shot him anyway.” Brave? Heroic? A warrior? Peltier’s next action, with the others, was to stand over the dead agents, steal their weapons and see the smile from Joe Stuntz when he stole Agent Coler’s FBI jacket from the trunk of the Bureau vehicle. Peltier’s next brave response; “We gotta get out of here.” Peltier and the rest of the cowards of Jumping Bull fled. But, of course, this is all tilted against the string of phony alibis, beginning with the infamous Mr. X and red pickup truck.
Peltier endeavors to address two audiences:
The globally uninformed, mostly European anti-America types (Peltier never sees how much he has been used by many of these groups for their own purposes), those progressive bands who literally don’t have a dog in this fight because they are being misled and disabused that in some perverse fashion Peltier represents all those indigenous cultures. They are incapable of seeing him for what he is, a cold-blooded murderer.
The other faction, the diehards, the sycophants, the wannabes, the users and abusers of the latest cultural fad hang on enjoying some vicarious thrill at inmate #89637-132’s expense. One inescapable reality is that the older generation Native America understands the damage Peltier and AIM did to their collective recent history.
Postscript: Mr. X, the movie: Incident at Oglala, what happened?
The NPPA has beaten this topic like a cheap drum for many years. Peltier’s first and longest standing phony alibi was that someone they knew (Mr. X) killed the agents and drove off in the infamous red pickup. We would point to the many years of airing the cameo appearance of the hooded killer in Redford’s mythumentary “Incident at Oglala” where Robideau, in great detail, describes what happened and in the next scene Peltier preens “This story is true but I can’t and will not say anything about it” (Footnote #4). Yet they (the LPDC, LPDOC, etc.) played the film ad nauseam like it really portrayed Peltier’s innocence.
Yet, under another new leadership, Redford’s masterpiece is gone. Vanished in a cloud of…oops, what happened here? A Google search for “Leonard Peltier” lists many references. The first is Wikipedia (largely inaccurate and slanted and not worth the effort to correct), then freeleonard.org (dated now, but courtesy of former Peltier supporter, Attorney Michael Kuzma, who was able to put the final nail in the Mr. X. coffin (Footnote #5), then third, The NoParolePeltierAssociation.com website, and then fourth, according to a footnote on leonardpeltier.info “There is only one official website for Leonard Peltier and his freedom campaign, and this is it, join the fight.”
Have to assume then that all the other supporting websites and references are persona non grata, a glaring example of how many over the years have come, and gone, as most realized they attached their good will and fortune to a fraudulent falling star (and let’s not even revisit the “charitable donations” scams).
In any case, on leaonardpeltier.info, a search for “Incident” turned up windows that when clicked on presented the viewer, not with the film, but with this tidbit:
“This video contains content from Lionsgate and Miramax, one or more of whom have blocked it in your country on copyright grounds.”
“Your country?” The United States of America? This is a big deal.
For years they (Peltier’s morphing inner circle) have been playing and touting the film (warts, flaws and all) like it was the Peltier Bible come to the silver screen.
This has to be a terrible blow to Peltier and the entourage to be dissed by the Hollywood crowd, no doubt accompanied with attorney letters calling for them to “cease and desist.” Not to worry though, the DVD is still available on Amazon (only one left at last check) and illegally in various corners of the Internet. (Maybe more letters to Lionsgate and Miramax are in order so they can further protect their copyright.)
The point is the film stands as a conspicuous illustration of the lies surrounding Peltier and his discredited alibi. No one can or will ever remove the Mr. X segments from the film, nor will Matthiessen (who had his own strong doubts about Robideau and this story), remove it from “In the Spirit of Crazy Horse,” and certainly future filmmaking efforts will leave the Mr. X/red pickup out completely, not coincidentally like Peltier did in his own book, “Prison Writings.”
As Peltier said in this latest Spring Statement, “I am honored that you remember me.”
But don’t flatter yourself to be honored Leonard because there are many more who will and do remember…
“In the Spirit of Coler and Williams”
Footnotes:5) See NPPA Blog 12/5/12