Ten Years Later
This decade passed quickly, but it does seem like a long time ago when I met Jack Coler’s youngest son, which led to research and twenty-seven days later launching the No Parole Peltier Association and its website. Its purpose has remained consistent and successful.
Consider this: The LPDC was formed in 1977 (and up to April 2000, and for several years on the Internet up to that point), Peltier and the LPDC’s fabrications went unchallenged. They had been essentially the only voice about the Incident at Oglala. April 30, 2000 changed that by adding a consistent presence to diminish the myth of Leonard Peltier and the folklore that festered around him.
Consistent about Peltier’s version of what happened at Jumping Bull is that it was always changing and evolving into what the uninformed followers were willing to accept as gospel from the Peltier camp. Those followers, for any number of reasons, were incapable, disinterested or unwilling to educate themselves about the facts.
Peltier supporters have heard and accepted all the versions, stories, excuses and alibis: “Pancakes and hot coffee,” “old cowboy boots,” “self-defense,” “a family caught in the cross-fire,” “pre-planned government raid,” Robideau’s alleged admissions, and the decade-long whopper, the lie of Mr. X, that was bought into by Peltier’s (on the payroll) biographer, Peter Matthiessen, and the gullible Robert Redford, and of course, the old fall back argument describing himself as a “political liability.”
All his excuses are tired, worn and have become irrelevant.
Although Peltier and his attorneys have avoided these two dirty little words over the years, ambush and assassination; taking Peltier at face value in his “press-releases,” these two words are mentioned here only to highlight the distinction that his and the other AIM members actions that day were not calculated, but those of cowards.
Over the years one of the main NPPA challenges has been to confront Peltier supporters to remove emotion from the debate; the emotion that arises too often when Native American history and issues are brought into the discussions about Peltier’s guilt. Removing the Native American issues (that Peltier has consistently used as a crutch to excuse his own criminal actions), and by examining the facts surrounding his conviction—even to the casual observer, Peltier’s guilt is unequivocal.
Peltier is not going anywhere. So says the parole commission that has listened enough, and perhaps for the last time, to his tired self-serving rhetoric and falsehoods. The biennial parole-review hearings are administrative in nature and nothing short of a total health collapse would make any difference; but then there’s the prison hospital. His consecutive life sentences, roughly thirty years each, plus the seven consecutive years for the armed Lompoc escape put his exit point somewhere in the middle of this century and realistically long past the longevity of most of us who have been personally committed to this matter; Peltier and this writer especially.
Peltier’s only hope is clemency, and this President, who has demonstrated respect for the rule of law, is not likely to even consider Peltier once he examines the facts of the case and certainly understands how Peltier hijacked, diminished and discredited a proud Native American culture and tradition. Claiming, as Peltier did as recently as February 6, 2010, that, “I’d do it all over again, because it was the right thing to do,” will not sit well with this President or those who later occupy that office.
As stated on the home page from the creation of the NPPA ten years ago, its goal will continue for as many years as necessary to “Honor the sacrifice of Special Agents Jack Coler and Ron Williams who were brutally murdered in the line of duty,” and to respond to the erroneous statements and allegations made by Peltier and his network; in other words, to continue to set the record straight by dismantling the folklore surrounding Peltier.
And along the way, following and exposing the money trail to curtail Peltier’s sham fund-raising and alleged charitable activities by preventing him from profiting from his crimes.
“In the Spirit of Coler and Williams”