Leonard Peltier Defense Offense Committee
October 3, 2008
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Leonard Peltier Annual Gift Drive
Hello my friends and relatives,
As you well know the season of giving is approaching us. As I was sitting here in this cell, thinking about these toy drives we have sponsored and advocated in the past years, I can’t help but remember when I was a kid. Christmas was always a difficult time for me, difficult in several ways because as a child you always had expectations about presents and what you wanted, and invariably there were always disappointments and also there was a mixture of guilt in there, because I always wanted to give something more than I had. And from a child's point of view it doesn’t matter so much what a person’s belief system is. Christmas is just Christmas. And for a child who doesn’t get anything, one of the most difficult things about it is, when you go back to school after the holidays and many of the kids are wearing new clothes and shoes and coats. And they ask you what you got for Christmas. That is when I think for me, I was bothered the most. Because it reminded me of my disappointments and it was embarrassing to say whatever it was because if there was anything at all, it was nothing like they had received. As I grew older, I always did my best to try to see that my children and any children around me did not have to have those feelings.
I know as it stands now, Christmas has become overly commercialized. And the true meaning of Christmas often times is hidden by that commercialization. But that doesn’t change the feelings of that one child or those many children who receive nothing or next to nothing. That is why every year, I try to sponsor a Christmas gift drive for children on the reservation. I know that there are other areas that are not on the reservation where children experience the same disappointments. I know I can’t touch them all but I do know if you can help me do this, we can touch the ones that I have connection with and many of the ones who are not noticed and fall through the cracks of Christmas programs.
I remember President Bush saying in his talk about education no child left behind, and that is pretty much how I feel about many of these children on the reservation, because of the poverty and remoteness of location. They are the children at Christmas time that are left behind.
I remember one Christmas and it’s kind of amusing looking back, I asked my mother how come we never got bicycles and her reply was “Santa took them to the poor kids”. Though today I find it amusing, I can’t help but love and appreciate her and identify with the pain she must have felt in not being able to provide for us in the ways that she wanted.
My heart aches when I think of the yoke and sorrow many of the mothers must feel who are a single parent provider. Not just on reservations but throughout America. It brings to mind an old saying; I don’t know who said it but it is well known, and it is very well true: “a grown up never stands as tall as when they stoop to help a child”.
With that in mind I want to ask all of you, to help all of us. Make a difference. Our Native American culture is a giving culture. Traditionally on your birthday your friends and relatives had a birthday party for you and gave gifts in your name. It’s my understanding that that is what Christmas is supposed to be about. I greatly appreciate the teachings of Jesus when he said it’s better to give than to receive. And as you do the least of these (to children) so shall you do to me.
I hope I am not sounding too overly dramatic but holidays especially Christmas and for some even thanksgiving are always difficult for prisoners. And our emotions often times are intensified by our inability to be directly involved with our families. I also want to say that the needs of children are year round. And I think that sometimes people forget that. Anyway, I want to ask all of you to search your hearts and give in whatever way you can to help all of us make a difference. For all those children and maybe in some small way all of us together can make a better world.
May the Great Spirit Father of us all, bless you in whatever way you need and bless you many times over for your gifts you share.
Yours always and always... In the spirit of Crazy Horse, and all those who gave their lives to right what was wrong...
Mitakye Oyasin (all my relations),
Mail all gifts to:
Rosyln Jumping Bull
Oglala, SD 57764
The Gift Drive will serve ages newborn to 18 years.
Ideas for Christmas Gifts per Age
Puzzles, Board Books, Building Blocks, Stuffed Animals, Blankets, Trucks, Musical Instruments for Toddler, Riding Toys, Push Toys, Baby Dolls (All Ethnicities) or Stuffed Animals, Clothes
Children Ages 3-6
Baby Dolls, Dolls or Barbies (All Ethnicities), Puzzles, Books, Developmental Board Games (Counting Games), Arts and Crafts Sets, Race Tracks, Legos, Dress Up Clothes, Children's Videos, Bikes, Clothes
Children Ages 7-12
Board Games, Books, Purses and Wallets, Art Sets, Boom Boxes, Sports Equipment, Barbie Dolls (All Ethnicities) , Arts and Crafts Sets, Journals, Model Car Kits, Clothes, Bikes, Jewelry, Clothes
Teens Ages 13-18
Books, Journals, Bath and Body Gifts, Make Up Sets, Sports Equipment, Purses and Wallets, Jewelry and Watches, Art Supply Kits, Gift Certificates to Wal-Mart or Target, DVDs or Videos, Clothes
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Leonard thanks everyone for the generous birthday cards and birthday gifts
Leonard has recieved so many birthday cards. Some made them laugh and some made them hopeful and some also made him sad to have lost another year in prison. He hopes to be able to celebrate his 65th Birthday with friends and family. Lewisburg Prison has been returning mail that has more than one card in the envelope. So please only send one card at a time. We have to remember Leonard does not get the simplest luxuries that we are accustomed to. Thank you for caring and thank you for sending him birthday wishes once again.
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Guest David Hill!
UPCOMING SHOW: 10/8/2008 9:00 PM
Welcome to "GRAYWOLF UN-CENSORED" . It is time to speak the truth of what is going on. If we are to succeed in our struggle for a better life for our people, we must learn to work together for the good of all and not just for the benefit of a few! Hopefully we can learn and come together before it is too late for our people --- and hopefully it is not to late now!
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Pine Ridge Reservation
Harvard School of Public Health reports that the life expectancy of Lakota People living on Pine Ridge Reservation to be the lowest in the United States, and only in Haiti is the life expectancy lower than the Lakota of Pine Ridge in the entire Western Hemisphere.
The average life expectancy of a man on Pine Ridge is 61, 16 and 1/2 years lower than the national average.
At 70 years of age the life expectancy of a Lakota woman on Pine Ridge is 13 and 1/2 years less than the national average.
Unemployment on Pine Ridge Reservation ranges between 80% and 95% of the population of about 22,000 people.
The average household occupancy on Pine Ridge is 17 people.
There are over 900 families on waiting lists for housing.
Many of those fortunate enough to have a house live in sub-standard structures.
Thirty-three percent of homes do not have electricity or running water.
Twenty-two percent of all homes are in need of major repairs or need to be replaced.
Seventy percent of Lakota people living on Pine Ridge Reservation do not have access to transportation.
Nationally, telephone service reaches 98% of the populace.
On reservations phone service only reaches between 46% and 55% of Native people.
On the Pine Ridge Reservation more than 70% of the homes are without phone service.
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A very great vision is needed and the man who has it must follow it as the eagle seeks the deepest blue of the sky.