Sunday, November 30, 2008

Peltier Day of Justice Statement

Fargo, N.D. Nov. 28th, 2008

It is ironic that in April 1977, I was tried here in Fargo. And then 31 years later to the month, my newly formed defense offense committee was founded here. It is no coincidence, and it may surprise people that I believe we are coming full circle and that my time of freedom is near.

I know that 31 years ago, many people in this town were mislead into believing that the American Indian Movement was a communist-infiltrated organization and that they were going to launch a massive military styled assault upon the federal courthouse.

Everyone knows that hindsight is 20-20, and since then many of the jury members learned the government with held evidence from them. Federal Appeals Court Judge, Gerald Heaney said that had the withheld evidence had been presented to the jury; it is possible they would have rendered a different verdict. This piece of evidence exonerated me from being the killer because the gun did not match the shell casings found at the scene. Without any evidence, the prosecutor admitted that they did not know who killed the agents and they can't prove who did. But it was due to a legal technicality that the court did not grant me a new trial.

Since then books pointing out the FBI misconduct is well documented, supported by documentaries. I would ask the people of Fargo to take a close look at what all transpired in my case and is this the kind of justice you would want for yourself or your family member? Millions of people worldwide have looked at the same information and have called for my right to Justice. Today here in Fargo, N.D., on Native American Heritage Day and a Day of Justice, my friends and family want to remind you that long ago, my good friend, the late Lew Gurwitz said, "this is a case that is not going to go away." And it hasn't.

We are here to create awareness and educate the people of Fargo and the world that my continued imprisonment is wrong. If they can look at all the facts, I would hope that this community would support my committee in this campaign.

I want to thank the people in the committee, my sister & niece, Betty Ann & Kari Ann. I want to thank Russell Means and my daughter Lisa for being here. As well as everyone present, this means so much to me to have everyone here where this travesty started and I know that each and everyone of you will work hard and loyally, but always remember that you also do this for yourself and your loved ones. My case has proven to what lengths beyond the law of what a government will do if they want to target someone. If it wasn't me, it could be any one of you. Mitakuye Oyasin – All My Relations!

In the Spirit of Crazy Horse,

Leonard Peltier

28 Nov 2008: Means Speaks at Day of Justice Rally, Fargo, ND

Remember Jeff "Free" Luers

Dear Friends,

A reminder that Jeff's 30th birthday, and 8th birthday in prison, is this coming Friday December 5th. Please send him a card, or donate to his prison commissary account or education/release fund. (Donation options here: Or purchase merchandise and all proceeds
will go towards Jeff's fund:

Send Jeff a card at:

Jeffrey Luers # 13797671
9111 NE Sunderland Ave
Portland, OR 97211-1708

30 Nov 2008: Native News from

Court action questions putting Indian land in trust (NEW YORK) -- Oneida and Madison counties and the state continue to challenge the federal government’s decision to put 13,004 acres in trust for the Oneida Indian Nation.

Shakopee reaches tentative settlement with BIA (MINNESOTA) -- On Tuesday, city leaders will vote on a proposed settlement that would end its lawsuit in the tribal land-trust issue. Under the lawyer-negotiated agreement, 752 acres (572 in Shakopee) of tribal land would still be placed into trust, but the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs would change its process for handling future trust applications.

Navajos wrestle with government reform (ARIZONA) -- The Navajo Nation’s executive and legislative branch continue to wrestle over proposals on how to usher in government reform, tribal officials said.

Convention results in 11 possible amendments to Creek Constitution (OKLAHOMA) -- Muscogee (Creek) Nation voter participation will either approve or reject 11 potential changes to its constitution after the tribe’s first constitutional convention, tribal officials said.

PROPAGANDA ALERT: The Pilgrims' First Thanksgiving - Part II / William Bradford Continues (TEXAS) -- I am William Bradford, the second Governor of Plymouth Colony serving on the first Thanksgiving on Dec. 13, 1621. I have explained our reason for coming to America to seek religious freedom and the happenings on our journey to Plymouth Colony previously.

Thank God for killing Patuxets (WASHINGTON, DC) -- Some 20 years ago, I was given a book called "The Light and the Glory," written by David Manuel and Peter Marshall, son of Christian author Catherine Marshall and Peter Marshall, the U.S. Senate chaplain for many years.

OP/ED: Native Americans' story continues today / Their contributions deserve more than 1-day recognition (OREGON) -- Friday marked the nation's first Native American Heritage Day — a day to learn more about the contributions of native peoples in their own right rather than as supporting players in the Pilgrims' drama.

Pilgrims were true survivors at first Thanksgiving (NEW HAMPSHIRE) -- Now that Thanksgiving is over, my mind has been rummaging back into the past (not a good thing for my mind) and thinking how the first Thanksgiving Day actually went.

Court: Tribe can sue university system over blood use (ARIZONA) -- A Native American tribe has been given the goahead to sue the state university system over claims that researchers improperly used blood samples of tribal members — including to undermine tribal beliefs.

Havasupai get go-ahead to sue universities / ASU, UA accused of unauthorized blood analysis (ARIZONA) -- An Indian tribe has won approval to sue the state university system over claims researchers improperly used member blood samples, including for one study that undermined tribal beliefs.

JODI RAVE: Judges to hear Native, federal appeals in Interior trust suit (WASHINGTON, DC) -- A U.S. Court of Appeals panel of judges has agreed to grant an appeal made by both Native landowners and the Interior Department as part of a 12-year-long lawsuit supposedly brought to an end by a federal court ruling this summer.

Lawyer urges Indian sovereignty review (OKLAHOMA) -- An Oklahoma attorney is urging the U.S. Supreme Court to reconsider the legal doctrine of sovereign immunity for Indian tribes in light of the increasing expansion of tribes into business operations.

Louisiana tribe signs historic ‘affirmation’ with State of Israel (LOUISIANA) -- The Coushatta Tribe proclaimed its friendship with Israel in a ceremony last week marking the expected start of a relationship with the Mideast state as the Louisiana tribe seeks to extend beyond gambling ventures with Israeli help into new businesses.

Flintco forms Native American division (OKLAHOMA) -- An Oklahoma-based construction company has created a new division to better work with the nation's many American Indian tribes.

More headlines...

Play and Salsa Party for the Puerto Rican Political Prisoners

Play and Salsa Party for the Puerto Rican Political Prisoners

Crime Against Humanity
Friday December 12th, 2008
Lobby Opens 7pm

Crime Against Humanity
Hostos Community College
500 Grand Concourse
(4,5,2 trains to W149th St. and Grand Concourse)
Bronx, New York

A fiercely innovative play! A play based on the real life experiences of 14 Puerto Rican Political Prisoners-two of who are still incarcerated. Tickets are $5-$15

NEW YORK PREMIERE! ONE SHOW ONLY! Friday December 12th, 2008 at 7pm

It will make you laugh and cry, but most of all it will make you want to do something free them!


St. Mary's Episcopal Church 521 W126th St.
Between Amsterdam Avenue and Broadway
Take the 1 Train to W125th St.

Join us for a night of amazing music, nonstop dancing, Delicious Puerto Rican food, and make sure to bring your checkbook for our Annual Freedom Auction! ALL PROCEEDS FROM THIS EVENT GO TO THE PUERTO RICAN POLITICAL PRISONER COMMISSARY FUND!

Suggested donation : $10 (no one will be turned away for lack of funds, all are welcome)

DJ Mellow G mixes amazing Salsa, Merengue, Reggaeton, Hip Hop, RNB, and other music styles that will keep you dancing the night away!

For more information contact ProLibertad at 718-601-4751

McGowan Benefits

A Good Time for the Good Time Bill: Dinner, A Movie ("Hoot") and Conversation

Friday, December 5th, 7pm
6th St Community Center
638 6th St. btwn Avenues B and C (F/V to 2nd Ave., exit 1st Ave.), NYC
Donations Welcome!

Three years ago, our dear friend Daniel McGowan was among the first people arrested as part of an FBI offensive against environmental activists and others. Daniel began serving his seven-year sentence in July 2007. In August 2008, Daniel was moved to the Communications Management Unit in Marion, IL, a facility that bypassed the usual review process and severely restricts inmates' communication with the outside world.

To mark the three-year anniversary of Daniel's arrest, please join us to learn more about Daniel's situation, the Communications Management Units, and our campaign to pass the Federal Prison Work Incentive Act (or "Good Time Bill") - a bill to restore good time allowances toward service of Federal prison terms (substantially reduce one's time in prison).

Learn what you can do to support these endeavors for liberatory social justice and toward bringing friends and families together.

Spread the word!

And, as always, please write to Daniel:

Daniel McGowan
Columbia County Jail
403 Jackson Street
Portage, Wisconsin 53901

We can't know for sure, but our best guess is that he will be in Columbia County for at least a couple of weeks. County Jail is difficult and lonely, especially during the holidays, and letters can really help. Please write Daniel as often as you can.



Saturday, December 6th

A Benefit for Oregon Environmental Prisoner Daniel McGowan

With Folk/Old-Time/Acoustic Musicians:

The Underscore Orkestra

Klezmer from Portland:

Brenna Sahatjian

"Riot Folk" from Portland:

& The McKenzie Riverboys

LocalBluegrass Band

$3-5 Suggested Donation
@ the Morning Glory Café
4th and Willamette
Eugene, OR

Contact Information

The Civil Liberties Defense Center
Lauren C. Regan, Attorney at Law
Executive Director
259 East 5th Avenue, Suite 300 A
Eugene, Oregon 97401
541.687.9180 phone
541.686.2137 fax


"Restriction of free thought and free speech is the most dangerous of all subversions. It is the one un-American act that could most easily defeat us." --Justice William O.Douglas

"All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent." --Thomas Jefferson

Indigenous People Demand Voice in Climate Talks

Indigenous People Demand Voice in Climate Talks
November 28, 2008
Haider Rizvi, OneWorld US

UNITED NATIONS, Nov 28 (OneWorld) - Calls for greater participation of the world's indigenous leaders are on the rise as another round of talks on global climate change opens in the Polish city of Poznan next week.

At the 2008 World Summit of Indigenous Cultures in Taipei. © carf (flickr)"It is incomprehensible how governments believe they can discuss the effects of climate change and agree targets without the input of those who already face [its] impacts," said Mark Lattimer of the London-based Minority Rights Group International (MRG).

In a study released last week, MRG researchers warned that a new climate change agreement would be "seriously compromised" if policymakers continued to shut out the voices of those most affected by global warming.

More than 8,000 delegates from around the world are expected to participate in the meeting at Poznan. The two-week meeting is supposed to hammer out further international commitments to fight climate change, including climate-related financial assistance for developing countries.

UN officials hope the meeting will prove to be a "milestone on the road to success" for the negotiation process launched at past conferences, because it is tasked with setting the agenda for next year's final talks on a climate change treaty.

But in Lattimer's view, the UN process is deeply flawed, because it does not allow the communities that have first-hand experience of dealing with climate change to participate in the negotiations.

For one, official delegates in Poznan are expected to set targets on carbon emissions from deforestation, but forest-dwelling communities who are mostly indigenous people may not be included in those discussions.

According to MRG's new report, the impact of climate change hits indigenous communities hardest because they live in ecologically diverse areas and their livelihoods are dependent on the environment.

To cite some examples of climate change impact on indigenous communities, the report refers to unprecedented levels of ice-melt in the Arctic region, droughts in east Africa, and a rapid fall in crop yields in Vietnam.

Minorities, according to the report, are often among the poorest and most marginalized communities and are most likely to face discrimination when disasters occur during climate changes.

"There has been a lot of attention paid to the damage climate change is doing to the environment and the loss of certain plant or animal species, but we aren't sufficiently recognizing its impact on people," said Farah Mihlar, the report's author.

"There are entire communities that could be lost," she added in a statement. "Cultures, traditions, and languages could be wiped off the earth."

At the climate change conference held in Bali, Indonesia, last December, indigenous rights activists held a series of demonstrations against their exclusion from the official talks.

Among them, many had come from the communities living in the tropical forests of the world. At the conference, they expressed worries about plans by governments and international financial institutions to control forest degradation.

At the conference, they particularly expressed their concerns about the World Bank's Carbon Partnership Facility, which is likely to provide large-scale incentives for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.

The tropical and subtropical forest, the subject of the Facility, is home to 160 million indigenous people who are seen by many scientists as custodians and managers of forest biodiversity.

"While the Facility can be a good thing, we are very apprehensive on how this will work," said Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, chairperson of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, "because of our negative historical and present experiences with similar initiatives."

The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples recognizes native groups' right to control their lands and resources, including forests, but many governments and corporations continue to abuse the rights of forest communities.

"We remain in a very vulnerable situation," said Tauli-Corpuz, "because most states do not recognize our rights to these forests and resources found therein."

Last year, a report released by an international advocacy group raised similar concerns about the role of governments and corporations.

In its report, London-based Survival International named and shamed countries where the violations of tribal peoples' rights are most egregious, including Botswana, Brazil, New Zealand, Malaysia, Paraguay, Peru, and the United States.

The report entitled, "The Terrible Ten: Key Abusers of Tribal Peoples' Rights in 2007," said tribal people in West Papua were suffering abuses at the hands of the Indonesian army and that their native lands were often exploited by the government and foreign companies.

In Botswana, Bushmen were forcibly prevented from returning to their homes in the country's diamond-producing area, despite a court ruling that declared their 2002 eviction "unlawful and unconstitutional."

According to Survival, Guarani Indians in Paraguay continued to lose their lands as a result of violence perpetrated by cattle ranchers. A number of natives were killed and raped as well.

In the Peru-Brazil border region, which is home to half of the world's about 100 still uncontacted tribes, indigenous populations faced land grabs by oil companies and loggers backed by the government.

And similar cases also took place in other indigenous territories across the world. The UN Permanent Forum's Tauli-Corpuz demanded that governments and corporations obtain the "free and prior" consent of indigenous peoples before taking any initiative on forest protections.

"I imagine that donors and the private sector would not like to put their resources in high-risk projects which will not genuinely involve indigenous and other forest-dwellers," she said. "If there is an acceptance of the Facility, indigenous peoples must have a representation in [its] governance."

In contrast to the UN negotiation process on climate change issues, indigenous communities enjoy relatively participation in international discussions on preserving biodiversity. The secretariat of the UN treaty on biodiversity has established a working group to ensure for this.

Meanwhile, MRG has gathered a series of testimonies from the world's indigenous leaders in which they express "deep frustration" at their exclusion from the negotiations on climate change.

In a statement, the group called for the United Nations to set up a mechanism, similar to that of the treaty on biological diversity, so that indigenous communities could be able to have their voices heard at the international level.

"Indigenous peoples have for centuries adapted to changing environments and would be able to contribute substantially to adaptation strategies the UN is trying to include in a new climate change treaty," said Lattimer.

Source URL:

California tribe donates $100,000 to blizzard aid

California tribe donates $100,000 to blizzard aid
Rapid City Journal

A Native American tribe in California has given $100,000 to help West River area reservation areas recovering from the early November blizzard.

Officials at the Black Hills Area Chapter of the American Red Cross said the funds will help provide immediate assistance and assist with future emergency services on the reservations here.

"When the tribe was made aware of the situation at Pine Ridge and at Rosebud, we knew we had to assist our brother and sister tribes," said Chairman James Ramos of the San Manuel Band of Serrano Mission Indians of San Bernardino. Wildfires in California galvanized desire among his tribe's members to help the Lakota, he said.

POSTPONED | Edmonton & Beaver Lake Trainings

POSTPONED Edmonton & Beaver Lake Trainings

Warm Greetings,

I have just spoken to Ron Lameman, Executive Director of the Confederacy of Treaty Six First Nations (and IITC Board member). He told me that out of respect for the recent loss suffered by Francisco Cali's family, and in recognition of the importance to Treaty 6 of his participation in the upcoming trainings as a principle trainer and guest of honor, they have decided they should postpone and reschedule the 2 Human Rights Trainings scheduled for December 2nd - 4th in Edmonton and Beaver Lake for another date as soon as possible.

We will announce the new dates in the next day or two after we check our calendars, probably dates around mid January. Deb will send a notice to the Treaty 6 Chiefs as well.

Ron said that on behalf of both IITC and Treaty 6, the cohosts, that he did not feel it would be right to continue as planned without the participation of Pancho under these circumstances.

We know this may cause some inconvenience for some who were planning to participate and who have already arranged their travel, as there has been a lot of positive response. We are very sorry for that inconvenience. If there are costs incurred in changing flights etc. please let us know and we can try to help those who need that assistance.

We will let you know as soon as we have new dates set with Treaty 6, and we greatly appreciate your understanding for this decision, which seems to us to be the correct one to make under these circumstances.

Best regards,

Andrea Carmen
Executive Director
International Indian Treaty Council (IITC)
Web Site:
Office: 907-745-4482
Fax: 907-745-4484

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Spiritual thanks given on Alcatraz

Spiritual thanks given on Alcatraz
By Dani Gomez
Oakland Tribune Correspondent
Updated: 11/28/2008 09:36:30 AM PST

A powerful chant penetrated the chilling pre-dawn darkness of Alcatraz as an estimated 3,000 people gathered on Thanksgiving for the annual Indigenous People's Sunrise Gathering.

A few dozen traditional Aztec and Pomo dancers performed as drums sounded and seagulls flew overhead. Dressed in attire decorated with skulls, colorful feathers and leopard skins, the performers moved their bodies in a rhythmic dance as the master of ceremonies smoked sage to ward off evil spirits and purify the event.

The event was first held in November 1975 and has become a special moment of pride, mourning and tribute to those who have managed to preserve the native culture for future generations of indigenous people across the country and around the world.

"We are here to offer our prayers, our songs and thank the Mother Earth that we are still here," said one of the elders in the opening ceremony of the event.

Between the dancing, singing and tobacco offerings, several American Indian Movement veterans honored the memories of those who had paved the way for the indigenous civil rights movement taking place today.

As the large crowd gathered around the sacred bonfire, guest speakers acknowledged the past and present issues relevant to native survival and told attendees that the battle for indigenous rights is far from over.

"We are here not just to celebrate," said Bill Means, a guest speaker and a veteran of the American Indian Movement.

"We are here to reflect on conditions of the indigenous people around the world."

Means mentioned the 1969 Alcatraz occupation by American Indian students, saying that because of the example they set during that time, the indigenous civil rights movement was inevitable. He cited the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples approved last year by the United Nations as an example of what's happening today.

"We are building a strong movement here, as you can see," Means said. "The fire of resistance is 80 million strong, and it will continue to grow."

Mark Whitehorn, a member of the Otoe tribe, came from Oklahoma to participate in the ceremony. He said that although he doesn't feel prejudice from the mainstream holiday, it's important to keep the un-Thanksgiving alive.

"It's good to see so many native people present, especially young people," he said. "This event puts the minds of young people in the right place. They might not act like it, but it catches their hearts."

Frank Paro, of the Grand Portage Band of Chippewa Indians and a chairman of Twin Cities American Indian Movement, said the event contributed to raising awareness among the younger generations of American Indians.

"It's gatherings like these the youth are looking at," Paro said. "It gives them new ideas of what they can do, so they will be able to take over after us."

Despite the notion that the gathering is mainly designed to address the indigenous needs, others gave thanks as well.

Rafael Meng of Santa Cruz said this was his second time attending the event.

"I am not Native American, but since I was a little boy I feel kinship with the Indians," Meng said. "To me, the American Indian way of life is better than the mainstream because it touches the things that matter to me: struggle for freedom, fight for the environment and equal rights. It's a heart thing."

Source URL:

Save Oregon's Forests

Protect Our Ancient Forests!
Target: Edward W Shepard, Oregon BLM State Director

Sponsored by: The Wilderness Society

In a final round of corporate giveaways, the Bush Administration is rushing out long-term plans that would convert the ancient forests of western Oregon, with their towering trees, rushing rivers and superb wildlife habitat, to empty clearcuts. Under these plans, logging our public forests would dramatically increase, more than tripling the current level. More than a thousand miles of damaging logging roads would be built within the forests. What's at stake? More than two million acres that contain some of America's few remaining ancient forests. Some 20,000 miles of rivers, where wild Pacific salmon thrive. Ancient forests that are home to huge Douglas fir, western hemlocks and western red cedar trees--some well over 400 years old. This wet, rugged environment also provides rich habitat for wildlife like elk, deer, black bear and Pacific fishers, as well as endangered species such as spotted owls and marbled murrelets. We can't let this happen. Sign the petition today and tell the Bush Administration their plans are unacceptable.

Sign now

Eight Mayan Women

InterContinental Cry
Eight Mayan Women
Posted: 29 Nov 2008 10:37 AM CST
Eight Mayan Women is a story of continued resistance to the Canadian mining company Goldcorp. For the past three years the company has been extracting gold and silver in the municipality of San Miguel Ixtahuacan, Guatemala. The people of San Miguel have been opposed the operation, primarily out of a concern that it is [...]

Canada Post Blocks Health Canada Advisory to Indigenous Community

InterContinental Cry
Canada Post Blocks Health Canada Advisory to Indigenous Community
Posted: 27 Nov 2008 11:33 PM CST
A Canada Post employee has refused to allow the distribution of a Health Canada advisory that warns of serious health concerns regarding the “Build All” open pit asphalt plant located near the Mohawk Territory of Tyendinaga. According to a recent press release, Health Canada issued the advisory to the Chief and Council of the Mohawks of [...]

Support the Work of the Freedom Archives

“The future belongs to those that prepare for it today.” –Malcolm X

Dear Friends,

With your help over the past year, the Freedom Archives’ youth program has grown substantially. We have trained over 25 young people in archival and production work, and have continued to partner with other local organizations and schools to expand our impact. We are co-teaching an after-school program with Galeria de la Raza that explores the history of youth-led movements in the Bay Area and guides youth through creating multi-media projects inspired by and re-imagining this history.

Our work in classrooms is reaching a greater number of students and includes a five-part series on progressive Bay Area history in a social studies class at June Jordan High School for Equity. In this series we utilize the unique and rich media in the Archives to create a dynamic approach to teaching this important movement history. We continue to strengthen our community programs at San Francisco City College, San Francisco State, and other community institutions.

With the release of our Paul Robeson CD “Words Like Freedom” earlier this year, we were touched to discover how many were inspired by the timeliness and continued relevance of Robeson’s anti-imperialist and internationalist message. It’s also amazing to realize that it was only through your support in the past year that we were able to complete that important project which has been so greatly received.

And With Your Continued Support, We Just Keep On Rolling Along…

In the last 18 months Freedom Archives has taken on one of our most ambitious projects-a documentary film on the history of the FBI COINTELPRO program.

We are confident that this project, like many Freedom Archives’ efforts, addresses contemporary issues and stories that are at the core of why the Freedom Archives exists and why you have supported our work for the last nine years. We know that you realize that it is more important than ever before to not only maintain but build community projects that address our youth, our families, our political prisoners, our communities, and our future.

Now we need YOUR HELP to raise $10,000 to complete COINTELPRO 101.

We previewed a 10-minute segment of the film at the recent Critical Resistance 10 conference in Oakland where our COINTELPRO panel featured human rights attorney Soffiyah Elijah, former Congressperson Cynthia McKinney, Elliot Monteverde, an attorney and NY Puerto Rico Grand Jury resister, and Lucy Rodriguez, a Puerto Rican Independentista and former political prisoner.
The response to the film and the panel was overwhelming. Our plan for distribution of COINTELPRO 101 is scheduled for next year and our hope is that it sparks renewed interest in re-opening an investigation into government repression that includes accountability for agents and agencies who have violated people’s civil rights – including the ongoing imprisonment of those targeted by COINTELPRO and other programs of political repression.

We need you to continue to be a part of this significant work by inviting you to join our new monthly sustainer program at the rate of $25 a month or more. Monthly sustainership allows you to give an amount that’s meaningful to you but fits your monthly budget while also allowing us to plan more accurately and continue our work knowing we can count on your regular donation.

--A $25 monthly donation would strengthen our operating budget insuring that we can continue to produce important documentary projects.
--A $35 monthly donation would allow us to invest in much needed equipment for our youth programs.
--A $50 monthly donation would help us complete COINTELPRO 101 and create an effective distribution plan.

Join other community members, friends, and family in giving monthly by visiting our website: and following the link on any page to make a contribution. You can also make a one time online contribution or simply send your check in the return envelope to the Freedom Archives. You can maximize your contribution this way by helping us avoid credit card transaction fees.

Please also visit our web site to see some of the exciting projects that our joint efforts have produced. We are especially proud of the internationally recognized video “Legacy of Torture” that continues to mobilize and educate people about the ongoing case of the San Francisco 8. More information can also be found at

We thank you deeply in advance; for nine years the support of hundreds of people like you has sustained us as a radical independent organization, keeping us from being reliant on foundations. We hope you will continue to support The Freedom Archives knowing that our work is especially important now in these difficult but hopeful times.
Freedom Archives
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
415 863-9977

'Omaha Two' prosecutor: "It doesn't make any difference what the truth is"

November 28, 2008
'Omaha Two' prosecutor: "It doesn't make any difference what the truth is"

By Michael Richardson

The Nebraska news media doesn't like to dig too deep into the 1970 bombing murder in Omaha of police officer Larry Minard. The conventional story that the deadly ambush against police was the work of the Black Panther leadership has been well accepted by the general public and news media for almost four decades. However, the fabric of the story presented to the jury in April 1971 has been unraveling ever since it was spun together. A search of the voluminous court file in the case reveals disturbing details left out of news reports.

Unknown to jurors, the 'Omaha Two', Ed Poindexter and Mondo we Langa (formerly David Rice), were targets of a clandestine operation of the Federal Bureau of Investigation code-named COINTELPRO. FBI director J. Edgar Hoover had secretly ordered a lab report not be issued on the recording of the killer's voice that lured police to a vacant house where a suitcase bomb waited. The two Panther leaders were COINTELPRO targets and Hoover wanted to make a case against them.

Also unknown to the jurors, Art O'Leary, the chief prosecutor who stood before them, did not care about the truth. In a police interrogation room, O'Leary would tell 15-year old Duane Peak, the confessed bomber, "As a practical matter, it doesn't make any difference what the truth is concerning you at all."

"You realize now that it doesn't make any difference whether you did or didn't. That doesn't really make one bit of difference at all at this stage of the game but I want to make sure concerning somebody else that might have been involved. Because you see what it amounts to, Duane, is that eventually you are going to have to testify about everything you said here and it isn't going to make one bit of difference whether or not you leave out one fact or not, as far as you are concerned. Do you understand what I am trying to tell you?"

Peak got O'Leary's message and after a half-dozen different versions of his story finally implicated the two Panther leaders. Poindexter and Langa headed the Omaha chapter called the Nebraska Committee to Combat Fascism. In exchange for his testimony Peak received leniency and was sentenced as a juvenile only serving 33 months in detention before walking free.

One problem with the official version of events was the tape recording of a killer's voice that Peak claimed was his. The recording of a male voice is gruff and sounds more like a middle-aged man than a 15-year old. By ordering no report of a vocal analysis conducted by the FBI Crime Laboratory, Hoover was able to keep defense attorneys clueless about the outcome of testing. In 2007, vocal analyst Tom Owen testified in an Omaha courtroom that the voice on the emergency call tape was not that of Peak.

On the day of his preliminary hearing Peak was still offering differing versions telling the court in the morning that Poindexter was not present when the bomb was made. However, a hastily convened recess of several hours before the teenage killer returned to the stand in the afternoon changed his story yet again. After the recess, Peak wore sunglasses to the witness stand. When asked to remove the glasses Peak's eyes were red and puffy. Peak was also noticeably trembling and shaky. Defense attorney David Herzog asked Peak about his sudden change of demeanor.

ATTORNEY: "What happened to make you shake and bring your nervous condition about now?"

PEAK: "I don' know."

ATTORNEY: "You had a conversation between the time you were placed on the witness stand this morning and the present time now, isn't that correct?"

PEAK: "Yes."

ATTORNEY: "And there were the same things that the police officers told you about that would happen to you, like sitting in the electric chair, isn't that correct?"

PEAK: "I didn't have a chance."

ATTORNEY: "You didn't have a chance, did you?"

PEAK: "No."

ATTORNEY: "You are doing what they want you to do, aren't you?"

PEAK: "Yes."

O'Leary, the man for whom the truth did not matter, also released Raleigh House from custody after only one night in jail. House was the named source of the dynamite used to kill patrolman Minard and was blamed at trial for supplying the explosive yet O'Leary released him on his own signature and never brought formal charges against House for his role in the murder. The get-out-of-jail-free pass granted by O'Leary for the supplier of the dynamite suggests that House was a police informant.

Robert Bartle, Poindexter's attorney is blunt about the prosecution behavior. "Prosecutorial misconduct is an offense which undermines the integrity of our justice system. When those who have been entrusted with the enforcement of our laws ignore the prohibitions imposed on them by the legislature through statutes, and by the judiciary through case law, they insult the entire legal system, and upset the scales of justice."

"When prosecutorial misconduct is coupled with ineffective assistance of counsel, presented in this case, a defendant has two strikes against him from the start. Edward Poindexter has met his burden of proving both prosecutorial misconduct and ineffectiveness of trial and appellate counsel. He did not receive a fair jury trial in 1971 because of these fundamental constitutional violations. Accordingly, he must be given a new trial to prevent a further miscarriage of justice."

The 'Omaha Two' remain imprisoned at the maximum-security Nebraska State Penitentiary where they are both serving life sentences. Both Ed Poindexter and Mondo we Langa deny any involvement in Minard's death. The Nebraska Supreme Court now has Poindexter's request for a new trial pending before them. No date has been set for a decision.


Michael Richardson is a freelance writer based in Boston. Richardson writes about politics, law, nutrition, ethics, and music. Richardson is also a political consultant.

News from InterContinental Cry

InterContinental Cry
Shoshone Grandmothers Plan to Resist Proposed Mine Site
Posted: 26 Nov 2008 09:48 AM CST
The Western Shoshone Defense Project has sent out an update on Barrick Gold’s Cortez Hills Expansion Project and the effort to stop it. The company has indeed begun ‘construction’, ripping out trees at a reported rate of 30 acres per day. On Monday, attorneys for several Western Shoshone tribes and indigenous and environmental organizations filed [...]

Kainai First Nation: We will hold them accountable
Posted: 26 Nov 2008 09:23 AM CST
Members of the Kainai First Nation in southern Alberta, and especially the Kainai First Nation Elders Association, are tired of having an irresponsible Band Council. They want leadership that can be held accountable for its actions, and who treats the community with respect. Right now the Chief and Council handles them as if they’re low-level employees [...]

Colombia: The Minga has a life of its own
Posted: 25 Nov 2008 10:03 PM CST
The Minga LIVES, may the MINGA LIVE! We call for a Colombia of the people without owners; all the wisdom, all the pain, all the experience, all the words, all our grandmothers and our memories guide us. We are going to live because we are forever tired of the pain, death and greed of those [...]

Leonard Peltier supportors rally in front of Fargo federal courthouse

by Dave Olson, The Forum
Published Friday, November 28, 2008

FARGO - Dozens of people gathered in front of the federal courthouse in downtown Fargo this morning to show support for imprisoned American Indian activist Leonard Peltier, who was convicted more than 30 years ago of killing two federal agents. Carrying signs that read, “Don’t let Leonard die in prison,” and “Peltier is innocent, FBI is guilty,” the group heard from Peltier’s sister, Betty Ann Peltier-Solano, who read a letter from her brother.

“My time of freedom is near,” Peltier-Solano quoted from her brother’s letter.

Well-known American Indian activist Russell Means also spoke at the rally. He said Peltier was wrongly convicted and urged the public to pressure federal officials to free Peltier when he becomes eligible for release early next year.

Means said he recently spoke to Peltier by phone. You can tell how lonesome he is. He didn’t want to get off the phone. It teared me up,” said Means.

Peltier, 64, is serving two life sentences for the deaths of two FBI agents killed in a shootout on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in 1975.


Listen to (MP3):

Betty Ann Peltier-Solano reads excerpts from Leonard Peltier letter
American Indian activist Russell Means
Drum group plays during Leonard Peltier rally

Justice for Indian Country

November 27, 2008

Justice for Indian Country
Thanksgiving We Can Believe In


Seven years before Tisquantum (Squanto, to most of us) helped the Pilgrims recover from their disastrous first winter in America, he was kidnapped by an English cod fisher and fur trader who was diversifying into the human trade. Tisquantum and other stock were shipped to Spain under hatch, a murderous passage, and most of the survivors were sold into slavery. Tisquantum was among the lucky, rescued by friars before he could be auctioned, though perhaps held a few years to ensure his salvation by Christ. We do not know how Tisquantum made his way to London and finagled a job as guide and interpreter on a ship bound for New England. But in 1619, four years after his abduction, he returned to America only to find his town of Patuxet in ruins and nearly all its 2,000 Wampanoags dead of European pox. When the Pilgrims arrived the following winter, they founded Plymouth on Patuxet's remains--a cruel symbol, that.

We do not hear much of this history on Thanksgiving. We hear instead that in the spring of 1621 Tisquantum taught the Pilgrims to grown corn and catch eel. We hear that come autumn, gratitude suffused the harvest feast, that beautiful gathering of men who had seen Shakespeare in his lifetime and men ignorant of paper but living lives of plenty. These things are indeed true, but a fuller truth is that Tisquantum helped the Pilgrims as much from fear as from charity and that alongside the goodwill at the first Thanksgiving were mutual mistrust and just-restrained hostility. The mistrust, on the Wampanoags' side at least, was well founded, as their destruction by colonial America soon proved.

America is not alone among nations in making mythology of history. Myth comforts. History, which is to say truth, instructs, often painfully. And it is a painful truth that the guns, germs, and steel of our ( forebears precipitated the great bloodletting that rid Indian Country of Indians and damned the few survivors to POW camps (now called reservations) where they remain the poorest, most diseased, and worst schooled among us. The link between our myth-making and their destitution is direct. For to forget that our nation virtually destroyed theirs is to absolve ourselves of a duty to make amends. We have been absolving ourselves for half a millennium now.

The consequences are written all over America's most populous reservations, where half the men and women have no work, half their children drop out of school, and still greater majorities, adult and adolescent, rot slowly from addiction to drink and drug. The reservation birthright is an eightfold risk, compared to other Americans, of dying of tuberculosis, a twofold risk of dying in infancy, and a three- or fourfold risk of dying by one's own hand while still a child. On reservations like South Dakota's Pine Ridge, a boy born in 2008 can expect just 48 years of life, a girl 52. Tell them they should give thanks on this day.

Indians have, of course, tried to better their lot. But they are cursed by a dependence on the kindness of strangers far surpassing that of others who were once written out of the American dream. Blacks and Latinos, say, make up 12 and 15 percent of America and are clustered powerfully in cities and regions like the South and Southwest. But Indians make up just 1 percent of America and are thinly scattered across its lands. They haven't the numbers to demand power. Nor have they the natural resources to build wealth, power's proxy. (Only a tiny handful of America's 562 tribes, to dispel another myth, enjoy casino or mineral riches.)

And so Indians are reduced to asking our leaders to do what is right because, quaintly, it is right, not because it will win them votes or dollars. Morality has always been a weak political card, but our nation has come to a rare moment when there is at last a chance--call it a hope--that the card might play. For the man just elected president, now of necessity coldly calculating what his America can and cannot achieve, was shaped among the colonized peoples of Hawaii, Indonesia, and Kenya and by a family sensitive to the costs of colonialism. In his broad mandate for change there will be room for a few deeds of mere moral, rather than electoral, worth. These are thin reeds against the winds of Realpolitik, which will howl at Mr. Obama to ignore--that is, condemn--America's Indians just as his recent predecessors have done. But forgive Indians and their friends if for now they cling to those hope-giving reeds.

What, specifically, Indians hope for is no mystery. They hope our new president will end their Eternal Depression (compared to which our Great Depression was a curio) with a New Deal: a CCC, a WPA, an NYA, and all the rest of FDR's alphabet-soup work programs, only under Indian control. They hope our new president will return a few of their stolen lands; for a start, the federal tracts in the Black Hills, sacred to the Lakotas and seized by rankest theft, can be given back without disturbing a single acre owned by a white man. They hope our new president knows, or learns with grief, that tribal colleges and universities--born only a generation ago in trailer homes but already, in the greatest Indian victory since Little Bighorn, turning dropouts into graduates by the thousand--have never received even half the funds our niggardly Congress has authorized for them over the years. They hope our new president will raze the corrupt and soul-crushingly inefficient Bureau of Indian Affairs and erect in its place a truer friend of, by, and for Indians.
And they hope our new president will free at last Leonard Peltier, the Mandela of Indian Country. Peltier has been imprisoned these 32 years for killing two FBI agents, an act he may or may not have done. What is certain is that he and his people returned the FBI's fire only after years of savage provocation, that his trial was one of the grossest railroadings in the history of American courts, and that our government's guilt far outstripped anything he stood accused of. The man has done time enough. So has Indian Country. Let us hope that may change.

Place a bid

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Friday, November 28, 2008

This Week from Indian Country Today

Leaders meet to discuss reconciliation

WASHINGTON – Indigenous leaders from North and Central America recently gathered to discuss the significance of governmental apologies involving historical injustices committed upon Natives. Read more »

Top Headlines

Indigenous and Latin American leaders optimistic about Obama
Groundbreaking PBS series nears completion
Indian Health Services celebrates American Indian Heritage Month
Class II regulations still hot
Native veteran raises profile of disability lawsuit


Great Lakes

Lead Editorial

The politics of special rights
Are American Indians and Indigenous peoples generally, asking for special rights or exception from the rules of everyone else? Do the powers of self-government, control over territory, Indian employment preferences, and protection of sacred sites constitute special rights, or privileges, that are not available to everyone else within the nation?
Read more »

For news you won't get from Indian Country Today, see Censored News.

28 Nov 2008: Today's Democracy Now!

Winter Soldier on the Hill: War Vets Testify Before Congress
War veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan came to Capitol Hill earlier this year to testify before Congress and give an eyewitness account about the horrors of war. Like the Winter Soldier hearings in March, when more than 200 service members gathered for four days in Silver Spring, Maryland to give their eyewitness accounts of the injustices occurring in Iraq and Afghanistan, “Winter Soldier on the Hill” was designed to drive home the human cost of the war and occupation—this time, to the very people in charge of doing something about it. [includes rush transcript]

Also see:

Studs Terkel 1912–2008: A Democracy Now! Special Tribute to the Beloved Oral Historian and Broadcaster
The legendary radio broadcaster, writer, oral historian, raconteur and chronicler of our times, Studs Terkel, died last month at the age of ninety-six in his home town of Chicago. Today, a Democracy special tribute: we spend the hour on Studs Terkel. Over the years, Terkel has been a regular guest on Democracy Now! We play a wide-ranging interview we did with him in 2005. We also feature a rare recording of Terkel interviewing the Rev. Martin Luther King at the bedside of the gospel singer Mahalia Jackson. “My curiosity is what saw me through,” Terkel said in 2005. "What would the world be like, or will there be a world? And so, that’s my epitaph. I have it all set. Curiosity did not kill this cat. And it’s curiosity, I think, that has saved me thus far.”

Western Shoshone protest, call for help for Mount Tenabo

Western Shoshone protest, call for help for Mount Tenabo
By Brenda Norrell
Shoshone protest photos at Censored News

CRESCENT VALLEY, Newe Sogobi (Nevada) -- While most Americans enjoyed Thanksgiving this week, Western Shoshone protested the devastation on their sacred Mount Tenabo, as Barrick Gold ripped out pine trees by the roots on this ceremonial mountain for gold mining.

As Barrick Gold continues its practice of genocide, targeting Indigenous Peoples territories around the world, Barrick is destroying Mount Tenabo for one of the United States largest open pit gold mines. The Cortez Hills Expansion Project is at the flank of the mountain where Shoshone carry out sweatlodges and other ceremonies.

Shoshone called for help and an immediate encampment to protect sacred Mount Tenabo.

Earlier this week, several Western Shoshone tribes and non-profit indigenous and environmental organizations filed a restraining order in the federal District Court in Reno against the construction of the proposed mine site.

Unable to wait for the hearing that is scheduled for early next week and the mine's continual slaughter of the pinion forest, the Western Shoshone grandmothers and supporters traveled to the site demanding Barrick to stop cutting the trees.

"As heavy machinery used to tear out the pinion trees came to halt upon the arrival of the Shoshones, Barrick Gold employees ignored the Shoshone's demand that they cease the clear cutting. They witnessed piles of pinion and other trees strewn across the landscape and unfenced polluted ponds," Western Shoshone said in a joint statement.

"Today we went to a war zone, a war zone against the trees by the Barrick Gold Company. If people can eat or drink gold to sustain life, maybe we can call it a sacrifice of the life of trees, trees that gives us pine nuts and other medicinal uses," said Carrie Dann, Western Shoshone grandmother and executive director of the Western Shoshone Defense Project.

The Western Shoshone had lived in the area of Mount Tenabo since the beginning of time.

Today it is the homelands to local Shoshones and continues to be the home to Shoshone creation stories, spirit life, medicinal foods and plants as well as a site for spiritual and ceremonial practices. Mount Tenabo is in the heart of Western Shoshone territory and is part of the ancestral lands that has been identified and recognized as Western Shoshone territory through the ratification of the Treaty
of Ruby Valley between the Western Shoshone and the United States.

"The mining company and the Bureau of Land Management are trespassing on the Western Shoshone treaty land and are destroying our mountains, trees, food, medicine and leaving dirty polluted water ponds that are wide open making it unsafe to the birds and animals. Why doesn't the mining company go dig up the Vatican or the Mormon Tabernacle instead of Western Shoshone lands, I'm sure they will find gold there, because this is what you are doing to our mountains and trees," said Mary McCloud, Western Shoshone grandmother.

Earlier this year, Barrick attorneys halted release of a book exposing the global genocide and atrocities of Barrick Gold. The book launch for Noir Canada: Pillage, corruption et criminalité en Afrique, edited by Alain Denault and the Collectif Ressources d'Afrique out of Montréal, was halted when the authors and publishers (Édition Écosociété) received letters from a law firm representing Barrick Gold, according to the Dominion in Canada.

Barrick has also sued The Guardian and The Observer over published articles about the Bulyanhulu massacre in Tanzania.

The book exposes Barrick's advantageous mining contracts, partnerships with arms dealers and mercenaries in the Great Lakes region, miners buried alive in Tanzania, an "involuntary genocide" by poisoning in Mali, brutal expropriations in Ghana, using people from the Ivory Coast for pharmaceutical testing, devastating hydroelectric projects in Senegal and the savage privatization of the railway
system in West Africa.

For more information, or to help, Western Shoshone:

Western Shoshone Defense Project

So-Ho-Bi (South Fork) office:
775-744-2565 (fax and phone)

Main office:
P.O. Box 211308
Crescent Valley, NV 89821
Newe Sogobi
775-468-0237 (fax)

Peltier family members work to revive support

Peltier family members work to revive support
Associated Press, Published Wednesday, November 26, 2008

FARGO, N.D. (AP) _ After following Leonard Peltier's movement from one federal prison to another, a group seeking to free him has settled in the same city where he was convicted more than 30 years ago in the execution-style killings of two federal agents.

Peltier's sister, Betty Ann Peltier-Solano, and niece, Kari Ann Cowan, are trying to revive a group that went dormant a few years ago. They have changed its name from the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee to the Leonard Peltier Defense Offense Committee, and they hope political changes will help their cause.

"There has been a lot of depression, with him being in jail for nothing and being so far away," Peltier-Solano said from the committee's Fargo headquarters, which is filled with Peltier's artwork. "I just felt like hopeless. Now that I'm here and doing this, I feel more like I'm doing something."

Peltier, 64, is serving two life sentences for the deaths of FBI agents Ronald Williams and Jack Coler, who were shot in the head at close range after being injured in a shootout on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in 1975. His trial was held in Fargo.

Peltier says tribal officials on the Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation, where he grew up, have agreed to take him as part of a prison transfer. He believes he has the legal right to parole.

"The law says they have to grant me parole," Peltier told The Associated Press. "I want to go home to North Dakota."

Peltier's supporters, who say he was framed, plan a rally in front of the federal courthouse in Fargo on Friday. American Indian activist and actor Russell Means is scheduled to speak.

"Somehow they've made an industry out of Leonard Peltier and raising money," said Drew Wrigley, the North Dakota U.S. attorney who in 2005 argued against one of Peltier's failed appeals.

"That's their right to do that," Wrigley said. "We are going to continue to fight to uphold a just verdict. He should be in prison for the rest of his natural life."

Peltier-Solano and Cowan said they believe Barack Obama's election may open the door for Peltier's release. Cowan saw momentum for a presidential pardon when Bill Clinton was president but said Clinton changed his mind at the last minute.

"He was packing his stuff. He was ready to go," Cowan said of Peltier.

Former South Dakota Gov. Bill Janklow, a Republican who was that state's attorney general in 1975 and was at the scene of the killings, argued against a pardon in a one-on-one meeting with Clinton.

"Look, it's not my job to decide whether he gets out," Janklow said. "But the first step might be the acknowledgment of wrongdoing. Leonard Peltier is an uncaring, unrepentant, cold-blooded murderer."

Peltier has been shifted among several federal prisons in recent years, including Leavenworth, Kan., Terre Haute, Ind., and Lewisburg, Pa., where he currently is held. His relatives say he has a number of health problems including diabetes, arthritis and the loss of vision in one eye after suffering a minor stroke.

David Hill, one of Peltier's former AIM associates who calls himself an adviser to the defense committee, said another legal appeal is coming.

Hill said that when Peltier was convicted, he was told he would eligible for parole in 30 years. Parole in the federal system was eliminated in 1984, but Peltier qualifies under a grandfather clause, Hill said.

"The law mandates that he be released if he hasn't been a problem since he's been in prison. And he's been a model prisoner," Hill said. "As Indian people, we will no longer tolerate him being in prison like this — illegally, unjustly, immorally."

The Peltier committee said the case will be handled by Portland, Ore., attorney Marc Blackman, who did not return phone messages left by The Associated Press.

Said Wrigley, "It's our position that parole is not an option that should be exercised."

The change to a Democratic president means that a new federal prosecutor likely will be named to replace Wrigley, who said the Peltier case was the first file he read when he took over as the state's top federal prosecutor seven years ago.

"I was 5 or 6 years old when that case was first handled here," Wrigley said. "Down the road, there's going to be someone else out there, maybe someone who hasn't even decided to be a prosecutor, who will be doing everything he or she can to ensure that Leonard Peltier stays in prison."

Source URL:

Peltier Message on the Day of Mourning


Greetings to my relatives, friends and supporters:

As the National Day of Mourning commemorates it 39th anniversary, I find myself approaching my 33rd year and I can’t but help to see the striking similarities between why you are there, and I am here in this prison. And it is the denial of the truth by people who can make a difference. And it doesn’t help matters any that those who do know, enable the myth of “Thanksgiving”. But we must continue to change that.

I hope that this will be the last statement I will have to write to you from prison on this National Day of Mourning. I tell you this because I want to believe that I can stand here with you next year a free man.

It would be an honor for me to stand in your circle to mourn the people who have fallen in the path of colonization. I carry many names and memories of friends and relatives who have passed on in defending the people. Many people whom I want to remember their sacrifice for me. Those names begin with Joe Stuntz and hopefully have ended with Standing Deer. In between I want to remember Rocky Duenas, Dallas Thundershield, Bobby Garcia, and Standing Deer. Many of my family and friends who have passed on and I could not be there weighs on me because they have suffered also through the years of my living nightmare.

We’ve been through a lot, but we are still here and we are the evidence of the Western Hemisphere being populated before the first real immigrant arrived on our shores and they have a holiday for him. And all we have is a Day of recognition tomorrow. So lets use the Native American Heritage Day as another page in writing the truth of our history. My Sister Betty Ann and others will be carrying the truth in Fargo where I was railroaded by the manipulations of the FBI. It is another day they will pay attention to us. This is how we will keep the faith and remain strong.

So I offer my most humble gratitude to you for being here today and every year. And I would ask everyone to work with my new committee as we prepare for a push to bring me home. Right now the two most important things I would like for everyone to concentrate on is the 30-year mandatory parole law and my transfer. There are plans being made, and they will be released when it is time. You can subscribe to our list serve at the website to stay updated on what we are doing and what you can do to help. I look forward to seeing you here next year.

In the Spirit of Crazy Horse,

Leonard Peltier

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Reservations make blue marks in red states

Reservations make blue marks in red states
By Doug Meigs, Today correspondent

Story Published: Nov 25, 2008

NEW TOWN, N.D. – Native communities across the belly of the United States appear turquoise pebbles in a crimson belt.

North Dakota south to Texas all went red for John McCain on Nov. 4. No surprise to Marcus Wells Jr., Chairman of North Dakota’s Three Affiliated Tribes.

“North Dakota is no different than a lot of conservative states, we just weren’t ready,” Wells said.

He endorsed Barrack Obama, but he lives in a historically Republican state. The last time North Dakota went blue for a presidential candidate occurred in 1964 when Lyndon Johnson won by a landslide.

Wells watched Obama’s acceptance speech on television from his home on the Fort Berthold Reservation in western North Dakota.

“When he mentioned Native Americans, I was so impressed,” he said. “Even here at the state level, our congressmen barely use that open-mindedness because they don’t want to lose votes.”

A blue Mountrail County marked the most concentrated area of Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara living on Fort Berthold.

Elsewhere in North Dakota, the Chippewa on Turtle Mountain produced a blue mark over Rolette County. Fort Totten’s Spirit Lake highlighted Benson County. Likewise, the Standing Rock Sioux marked Sioux County.

Across the swatch of Republican red, blue reservation counties joined urban centers and college towns in a county-by-county breakdown of the presidential election.

In South Dakota, Standing Rock (which straddles the North Dakota border) marked Corson County in blue. Likewise, Lake Traverse influenced Roberts, Marshall and Day counties; Cheyenne River colored Dewey County; Pine Ridge highlighted Shannon County; Rosebud marked Todd County.

The patchwork of blue counties is especially evident with Montana’s reservations: Crow in Big Horn County, Fort Peck in Roosevelt County, Flathead in Lake County, Blackfeet in Glacier County, Rocky Boy in Hill County, Fort Belknap in Blaine County.

Wyoming, however, appeared an outlier for Obama’s reservation pattern in the four-state region. Fremont County, with the Wind River Reservation, went red for McCain.

The last time any of the states favored a Democratic presidential candidate occurred in 1992 with Montana. Before 1992, the last time was 1964, when Johnson secured all four states.

Nevertheless, Alyce Spotted Bear, former chairwoman of the Three Affiliated Tribes, led a grassroots campaign to make sure Fort Berthold stood out in blue.

“I had never seen our people so enthusiastic about a candidate,” Spotted Bear said. “The interest in him extended from the very old to the very young. It wasn’t just voting age people. There were a lot of people who can’t even vote who were so interested in Obama.”

She spearheaded an Obama-week, Oct. 13-17, to promote the candidate. The week included daily events, such as an Obama t-shirt contest and promotional give-aways. On the final day, they hosted a rally that included a comedic sketch borrowed from Saturday Night Live’s Tina Fey/Sarah Palin interview.

On Election Day, the Fort Berthold Obama Committee canvassed the reservation’s five segments with phone calls and doorbell ringing. The committee even provided transportation for those unable to access poll booths.

“There were so many individuals who were very disappointed that North Dakota didn’t go blue, and they said, ‘Oh well, their vote didn’t count because of that,’” Spotted Bear said. “But I was telling them, ‘Don’t feel bad because their vote does count in the popular vote.’ Their congressional representatives can go and look at the blue pockets of voters in North Dakota, and when you go look at them, you see the Indian reservations are all blue.”

Because many reservations fall within multiple counties, the Native voting block is often diluted with off-reservation votes. Spotted Bear said this occurred on Fort Berthold.

Fort Berthold falls within five counties. When North Dakota’s electoral map is broken down by individual counties, the Native voting block is only visible in Mountrail County – the heart of the reservation.

Spotted Bear said non-Natives who live opposite the reservation border overshadowed the tribe’s vote in McKenzie, McLean, Dunn and Mercer counties. All include reservation lands but went red for McCain.

The Three Affiliated Tribes’ push for Obama began after Chairman Wells met Obama at the North Dakota Democratic Convention in Fargo on April 4. Representatives from North Dakota’s Standing Rock, Fort Totten and Turtle Mountain reservations also met Obama at the event and endorsed his bid for the presidency.

Up until that meeting, Wells said he had been a Hillary Clinton supporter. He actually had preferred McCain to Obama. As a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army, he felt deep respect for McCain’s service and support of American troops.

At the convention, Obama’s speech about “Hope” and “Change” convinced Wells to endorse Obama instead.

Wells’ mother had designed a star-spangled star quilt as a gift for the former senator. Ron His Horse Is Thunder, Standing Rock Sioux Chairman, then draped the red and blue over Obama’s shoulders.

Source URL:

26 Nov 2008: Native News from

Counties raid Cayugas’ cigarette stores (NEW YORK) -- Authorities in two upstate New York counties raided cigarette shops operated by the Cayuga Indian Nation on Tuesday.

Washington may limit Internet cigarette shipments (WASHINGTON) -- Attorney General Rob McKenna says he'll ask the Legislature to ban the shipment of Internet cigarettes to anyone other than licensed wholesalers or retail stores.

The Begich Treaty: The Villages Signed on with Their Votes (ALASKA) -- During his campaign for the US Senate, Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich co-wrote a letter to Governor Sarah Palin, widely circulated by his campaign, that decried the lack of governmental response to the crises then confronting Native residents of Alaska villages.

Reservations make blue marks in red states (NORTH DAKOTA) -- Native communities across the belly of the United States appear turquoise pebbles in a crimson belt. North Dakota south to Texas all went red for John McCain on Nov. 4. No surprise to Marcus Wells Jr., Chairman of North Dakota’s Three Affiliated Tribes.

Domenici seeks funding for Indian needs (NEW MEXICO) -- Republican Senator Pete Domenici is joining a push to get the federal government to fund a $2 billion initiative that would provide emergency funding for public safety, water projects and health care for American Indians.

Division requests assessments on effects from uranium mining (ARIZONA) -- The Navajo Division of Health has asked two federal agencies to support comprehensive assessments and research related to impacts on the Navajo Nation from past uranium mining.

Tribal housing agencies file lawsuits against HUD (COLORADO) -- Three American Indian tribes' housing agencies have filed lawsuits against the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, claiming it illegally reduced the amount of annual block grant funding they're entitled to under federal law.

On a mission to heal / Tlingit culture gives Franks strength to reach out through her pain (ALASKA) -- Her youngest son shot himself in the head with the Winchester 30-06 he got as a birthday present from his father. Two days later his father died of colon cancer.

Tribe's pharmacy has grand opening (MICHIGAN) -- The four-color ribbon stretched from cleaning products to tissues - and when it was cut, the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe formally celebrated the grand opening of mid-Michigan's newest pharmacy, the tribally owned Cardinal Pharmacy.

Guests or hosts? Native Americans at the first Thanksgiving (ILLINOIS) -- So you think you know all about the first Thanksgiving, right? Then answer this. What was the name of the tribe who celebrated with the Pilgrims following that first harvest?

More headlines...

News from Indianz.Com

Website: American Indian Inaugural Ball (11/26)

Yellow Bird: Thankful for family on Thanksgiving (11/26)

Kevin Abourezk: Frank LaMere celebrates in January (11/26)

Thanksgiving event riles parents in California (11/26)

Conjoined Cheyenne River Sioux twins doing well (11/26)

Commentary: Native villages voted for Mark Begich (11/26)

Three tribes sue HUD over housing block grants (11/26)

County authorities raid Cayuga Nation smoke shops (11/26)

Editorial: Save North Dakota student powwow (11/26)

Navajo basketball players settle police lawsuit (11/26)

Oglala Sioux Tribe seeks return of Episcopal land (11/26)

San Manuel woman remains in jail after arrest (11/26)

Navajo woman sentenced to life for murder (11/26)

Cherokee Nation chief plans bid for re-election (11/26)

Tribes sue to stop construction of major oil pipeline (11/26)

Southern Ute Tribe seeks to regulate air quality (11/26)

Saginaw Chippewa Tribe diversifies economy (11/26)

Editorial: Indian ancestors deserve proper burial (11/26)

Former Interior official pleads guilty to corruption (11/26)

Menominee Nation seeks halt to casino decision (11/26)

Seminole Tribe in talks over disputed compact (11/26)

Auburn Tribe scales back casino expansion (11/26)

Big drop in Saginaw Chippewa gaming payments (11/26)

Connecticut casinos seek to extend liquor sales (11/26)

More headlines...

26 Nov 2008: Today's Democracy Now!

As Obama Considers Napolitano For Homeland Security Chief, A Look at Her Immigration Policies as Arizona Governor
President-elect Barack Obama is on track to name Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano as homeland security secretary. Napolitano is a two-term governor, as well as a former U.S. attorney and state attorney general for Arizona. She was the first governor to call for National Guard troops to secure the US-Mexico border. We take a look at her immigration policies with Aarti Shahani, a researcher with Justice Strategies [includes rush transcript].

A Conversation With South African Poet and Anti-Apartheid Activist Breyten Breytenbach on His Own Imprisonment, South Africa's "Failed Revolution," Nelson Mandela and Barack Obama
We speak with exiled South African poet, writer, painter, and outspoken activist for justice, Breyten Breytenbach. He was jailed for more than seven years under the apartheid regime, during which he wrote perhaps his most famous book, “The True Confessions of an Albino Terrorist.” His brother was the head of the special forces in South Africa. Breytenbach has written a new article for Harper’s Maggazine titled, “Mandela’s Smile: Notes on South Africa’s Failed Revolution.”

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

"Angola 3" Member to Be Released On Bail After 37 Years


Tuesday, November 25, 2008
CONTACT: Emma Mackinnon 202.302.6920 /

"Angola 3" Member to Be Released On Bail After 37 Years

Conviction Overturned, Judge Rules Albert Woodfox Must be Free During Appeals or Re-trial

Lawyers: Ruling Brings Hope for Remaining Prisoner, Also Spent 36 Years in Solitary for Guard's Murder

Albert Woodfox, who has spent 37 years in prison at Angola Penitentiary, must be released on bail, according to a ruling issued today by United States District Judge James Brady. On September 25th, Judge Brady overturned Woodfox's conviction for the 1972 murder of prison guard Brent Miller. Though the State has announced its intention to appeal that decision, until such an appeal is successful, according to today's ruling, there is no conviction on which to hold Woodfox.

In his decision, Judge Brady wrote:

"[Woodfox] is a frail, sickly, middle aged man who has had an exemplary conduct record for over the last twenty years. At the hearing before this Court on October 14, 2008, testimony was adduced that if released Mr. Woodfox would live with his niece and her family in a gated subdivision in Slidell, Louisiana. Mr. Woodfox has withdrawn that request because of fear of harm to his niece and her family by members... This change was brought about by counsel representing the State of Louisiana contacting the subdivision home owners association and providing them with information regarding Mr. Woodfox. The Court is not totally privy to what information was given to the association but from the documents filed it is apparent that the association was not told Mr. Woodfox is frail, sickly, and has had a clean conduct record for more than twenty years…this Court GRANTS Mr. Woodfox's motion for release pending the State's appeal."

Herman Wallace, who was also convicted in the murder, remains in prison at Angola. He has an appeal pending with the Supreme Court of Louisiana, which is similar in content to Woodfox's successful appeal. The two men were wrongly convicted based largely on the testimony of a fellow prisoner, Hezekiah Brown, a serial rapist who was promised and received a pardon in exchange for his testimony against them. Brown was the sole professed eyewitness to the murder, and none of the physical evidence put Herman or Albert at the crime scene.

Woodfox's legal team is now working with the court to reach an agreement on a suitable release location and plan for Woodfox; once they agree to a plan, Woodfox will be able to leave Angola. The lawyers anticipate the process to take several more days.

Woodfox and Wallace were each held in solitary confinement from the time of the murder until last March, after a federal court concluded that their suit alleging that such confinement for three decades constitutes cruel and unusual punishment could go forward. A third man, Robert King Wilkerson, was held in solitary at Angola at the same time for a different crime; he was released in 2001 after showing that he had been wrongfully convicted. The three are known as the "Angola 3." All black men, they had been organizing nonviolently for an end to gang-enforced sex slavery and for better conditions inside the prison. Angola at the time was known as the "bloodiest prison in the US."

"This is a major victory in a case where justice is long overdue. Albert went into Angola in his twenties, and he's walking out in his 60s. There is no conviction against him now, and the state should not take another day of his life," said Chris Aberle, Woodfox's lawyer.

"In 37 years, Albert never gave up hope that someday he would walk out the gates of Angola. We continue to hope that Herman will join him soon. Neither of these men should have spent a day in Angola for this crime," said Nick Trenticosta, also a lawyer in the case.

The case has attracted attention on the state and national level. Last spring, US House Judiciary Committee Chair John Conyers (D-MI) visited the men, along with Louisiana House Judiciary Committee Chair Cedric Richmond (D-101). Richmond has announced his intention to hold hearings on the case, and Conyers continues to monitor developments.

The state had sought a stay of Judge Brady's ruling ordering a new trial until the appeal process plays out. Judge Brady granted that request. The State must now either win its appeals, or will need to either release or retry Woodfox within 120 days of the end of its appeals.

Judge Brady held an initial bail hearing on October 14th; he postponed issuing a decision at that time to allow for additional depositions to be taken from Angola Warden Burl Cain and from a doctor who had examined Woodfox and his medical records. The State has now conducted both of those depositions.

For a copy of the judgment, to speak with the lawyers, or for any additional information on the case, please contact Emma Mackinnon, or 202 302 6920.