Sunday, July 25, 2010
Available for $20.00 (USD) plus S&H
Sizes: S, M, L, XL, 2X, 3X
Funds from the sale of this shirt go to support the Preston Randolph production, "Wind Chases the Sun," a new documentary about Indigenous activist Leonard Peltier.
For more information, visit the film store at http://www.windchasesthesun.com/.
- Have You Thought of Leonard Peltier Lately? by Harvey Arden
- In the Spirit of Crazy Horse by Peter Matthiessen
- Prison Writings: My Life Is My Sun Dance by Leonard Peltier
- The Trial of Leonard Peltier by Jim Messerschmidt
Related articles by Zemanta
- The Leonard Peltier Story (stillisstillmoving.com)
Friday, July 23, 2010
Please join us in welcoming our newest LP-DOC Chapter: Center Ossipee, NH, USA. Coordinated by Lynn Clarke, the chapter will engage in fundraising, event planning and management, and public education to raise awareness of the Peltier case. Already, Lynn is planning an event that will feature the art of Leonard Peltier. The Center Ossipee chapter also has established a Web presence to promote activities on Leonard's behalf in New Hampshire and the surrounding region.
LPDOC Chapter - Center Ossipee, New Hampshire, USAWe invite others of you to partner with us to formulate strategies, devise fundraising ideas, and build public support. Your participation is imperative to our survival and Leonard's freedom. We are available to assist you with registration and address your chapter's needs. Please contact us with any questions or concerns: email@example.com.
We, the peoples and nations of Earth:
considering that we are all part of Mother Earth, an indivisible, living community of interrelated and interdependent beings with a common destiny;
gratefully acknowledging that Mother Earth is the source of life, nourishment and learning and provides everything we need to live well;
recognizing that the capitalist system and all forms of depredation, exploitation, abuse and contamination have caused great destruction, degradation and disruption of Mother Earth, putting life as we know it today at risk through phenomena such as climate change;
convinced that in an interdependent living community it is not possible to recognize the rights of only human beings without causing an imbalance within Mother Earth;
affirming that to guarantee human rights it is necessary to recognize and defend the rights of Mother Earth and all beings in her and that there are existing cultures, practices and laws that do so;
conscious of the urgency of taking decisive, collective action to transform structures and systems that cause climate change and other threats to Mother Earth;
proclaim this Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth, and call on the General Assembly of the United Nation to adopt it, as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations of the world, and to the end that every individual and institution takes responsibility for promoting through teaching, education, and consciousness raising, respect for the rights recognized in this Declaration and ensure through prompt and progressive measures and mechanisms, national and international, their universal and effective recognition and observance among all peoples and States in the world.
Article 1. Mother Earth
(1) Mother Earth is a living being.
(2) Mother Earth is a unique, indivisible, self-regulating community of interrelated beings that sustains, contains and reproduces all beings.
(3) Each being is defined by its relationships as an integral part of Mother Earth.
(4) The inherent rights of Mother Earth are inalienable in that they arise from the same source as existence.
(5) Mother Earth and all beings are entitled to all the inherent rights recognized in this Declaration without distinction of any kind, such as may be made between organic and inorganic beings, species, origin, use to human beings, or any other status.
(6) Just as human beings have human rights, all other beings also have rights which are specific to their species or kind and appropriate for their role and function within the communities within which they exist.
(7) The rights of each being are limited by the rights of other beings and any conflict between their rights must be resolved in a way that maintains the integrity, balance and health of Mother Earth.
Article 2. Inherent Rights of Mother Earth
(1) Mother Earth and all beings of which she is composed have the following inherent rights:
(a) the right to life and to exist;
(b) the right to be respected;
(c) the right to regenerate its bio-capacity and to continue its vital cycles and processes free from human disruptions;
(d) the right to maintain its identity and integrity as a distinct, self-regulating and interrelated being;
(e) the right to water as a source of life;
(f) the right to clean air;
(g) the right to integral health;
(h) the right to be free from contamination, pollution and toxic or radioactive waste;
(i) the right to not have its genetic structure modified or disrupted in a manner that threatens it integrity or vital and healthy functioning;
(j) the right to full and prompt restoration the violation of the rights recognized in this Declaration caused by human activities;
(2) Each being has the right to a place and to play its role in Mother Earth for her harmonious functioning.
3) Every being has the right to wellbeing and to live free from torture or cruel treatment by human beings.
Article 3. Obligations of human beings to Mother Earth
(1) Every human being is responsible for respecting and living in harmony with Mother Earth.
(2) Human beings, all States, and all public and private institutions must:
(a) act in accordance with the rights and obligations recognized in this Declaration;
(b) recognize and promote the full implementation and enforcement of the rights and obligations recognized in this Declaration;
(c) promote and participate in learning, analysis, interpretation and communication about how to live in harmony with Mother Earth in accordance with this Declaration;
(d) ensure that the pursuit of human wellbeing contributes to the wellbeing of Mother Earth, now and in the future;
(e) establish and apply effective norms and laws for the defence, protection and conservation of the rights of Mother Earth;
(f) respect, protect, conserve and where necessary, restore the integrity, of the vital ecological cycles, processes and balances of Mother Earth;
(g) guarantee that the damages caused by human violations of the inherent rights recognized in this Declaration are rectified and that those responsible are held accountable for restoring the integrity and health of Mother Earth;
(h) empower human beings and institutions to defend the rights of Mother Earth and of all beings;
(i) establish precautionary and restrictive measures to prevent human activities from causing species extinction, the destruction of ecosystems or the disruption of ecological cycles;
(j) guarantee peace and eliminate nuclear, chemical and biological weapons;
(k) promote and support practices of respect for Mother Earth and all beings, in accordance with their own cultures, traditions and customs;
(l) promote economic systems that are in harmony with Mother Earth and in accordance with the rights recognized in this Declaration.
Article 4. Definitions
(1) The term “being” includes ecosystems, natural communities, species and all other natural entities which exist as part of Mother Earth.
(2) Nothing in this Declaration restricts the recognition of other inherent rights of all beings or specified beings.
Adopted by the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth on April 22, 2010, in Bolivia - Updated May 12, 2010
Sunday, July 18, 2010
Thursday, July 15, 2010
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
July 14, 2010
Media Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Call for Videos: Citizens tell their Story of Human Rights Abuses in the U.S.
Nationwide, United States of America: You now have a chance to speak at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. Through the Testify! Project you can submit 30 second to 2 minute video testimony on human rights violations in your community. Selected submissions will be played for UN officials during preparation for the first ever UN review of the US Government’s entire human rights record, called the Universal Periodic Review (UPR).
WHAT: The Testify! Project documents human rights violations in the United States using short videos and 1 page written testimonies. These videos and testimonies are an important way to explain to the US Government and representatives from the rest of the world whether the U.S. is complying with its human rights obligations and how it can improve.
Submissions should tell a story about an injustice occurring in your area and suggest a solution to the US government. Submissions can focus on virtually any social justice issue, including but not limited to: labor rights; women's rights; immigrant rights; access to necessities like food, housing, education, health care; discrimination based on race, gender, sexual orientation, disability or identity; environmental (in)justice; racial profiling; censorship; and any other rights mentioned in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights or other key human rights documents.
WHERE: This online contest is centered on www.TestifyProject.com. Videos can be uploaded directly to the YouTube Group at:
WHEN: A compilation of submitted videos will play in Geneva, Switzerland at the UN in September and again right before the U.S. government is reviewed as part of the UPR on November 5th, 2010. Finalist videos will be shown in their entirety. Each deadline will have one winner, receiving the following prizes:
1) To qualify to join a US Human Rights Network delegation to Geneva to present your story to UN delegates in-person, submit your video on or before August 20th at 11:59 pm.
2) To qualify for a new Flip Camera, to continue your video activism, submit your video by October 8th at 11:59 PM EST.
WHY: For the very first time, the United States faces a review of its entire human rights by other countries as part of the UPR. This new review process, developed in 2006, reviews every country in the world by the same standards. The United States government will have to answer questions from other countries about how well the US follows the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the UN Charter, and international human rights treaties. You can read some basic facts about the Universal Periodic Review at www.ushrnetwork.org/campaign_upr & www.ohchr.org/en/hrbodies/upr/pages/BasifFacts.aspx.
To be sure that the questions asked and recommendations made reflect what is happening here in the United States, we need you to tell your story. Individuals and non-profit organizations from the U.S. will share your stories at an event at the UN in Geneva this September to influence the questions that are part of the November review. Testify! Project submissions will show these delegates what violations we are facing in the United States.
Please see the attached flyer for this project, with more details and sample videos at www.testifyproject.com.
Sunday, July 11, 2010
FAST 4 FREEDOM IN SAN FRANCISCO AUGUST 6TH - SAVE THE DATE! SPREAD THE WORD!
"Because so many are starving for FREEDOM" (from the call by family members of prisoners)
Fast 4 Freedom is a day of fasting and solidarity actions on Friday, August 6th initiated by family members and loved ones of prisoners locked up across California.
The Bay Area CURB Alliance will be sponsoring a fast and rally from 12 noon-1:00 pm at the State Building in San Francisco where Mark Leno, Senate Public Safety Committee, Tom Ammiano, Assembly Public Safety Committee and Fiona Ma, Assemblywoman from San Francisco, all have their local offices. (More details to follow).
We will be spreading awareness about the many extreme injustices currently faced by prisoners, their families and their communities.
Our demands include:
End Three Strikes
Reduce the Prison Population NOW
Release Prisoners Eligible for Parole
Release Sick, Aged and Terminally Ill prisoners
Family Visits for All Prisoners
End the Death Penalty
Education Not Incarceration
Stop All New Prison Construction including New "Mental Health" Cages being built in Chino and Vacaville
We want to note that August 6th is the day that Johannes Meserle is sentenced for the killing of Oscar Grant and it's also the 65th Anniversary of the U.S. bombing of Hiroshima!
JOIN US ON TO FIGHT FOR FREEDOM AND JUSTICE ON THIS IMPORTANT DATE!
CURB ALLIANCE (Member organizations include Critical Resistance, All of Us Or None, Families to Amend California's Three Strikes, California Coalition for Women Prisoners, Youth Justice Coalition, Legal Services for Prisoners with Children, American Friends Service Committee and many more....)
Anti-Prison People’s Movement Assembly
Thursday, June 24th, 2010
US Social Forum 2010, Detroit, MI
The problem: The United States is a prison empire, founded on the legacy of slavery, which uses racist mass incarceration, widespread criminalization, torture and the targeting of political dissidents to try to solve its fundamental economic and social problems. It locks up more people than any other country on the planet. The prison system is a central node in an apparatus of state repression; it threatens our communities and weakens our resistance and movements for justice. Repression is a tool used to maintain state power, and the prison population represents the most oppressed sectors of society: people of color, the poor, First Nations communities, immigrant communities, working class women, queer and transgender people, and organizers from many communities.
Because we share a vision of justice and solidarity against confinement, control, and all forms of political repression, the prison industrial complex must be abolished. We envision a movement and a society free of racism, Islamophobia, sexism and homophobia.
The work to dismantle the prison industrial complex and build stronger communities includes:
• Supporting the efforts of diverse anti-prison organizations as part of a shared movement against repression in all its forms, including political, racial, gender, sexual, economic, disability and age, legal status, HIV status, national origin, immigration status, and alleged gang affiliation;
• Fighting for the full civil and human rights of currently and formerly incarcerated people and affirming the rights of currently and formerly incarcerated people to speak in their own voice on all matters pertinent to their existence and well-being;
• Eliminating the stigma that inhibits currently and formerly incarcerated people and their loved ones from speaking out;
• Supporting leadership and leadership development of currently and formerly incarcerated people, and ending all forms of discrimination based on legal status for formerly incarcerated people;
• Organizing for the immediate release of all political prisoners and prisoners of war from grand juries, jail, detention, trial or prison;
• Demanding the immediate end to the death penalty, life without parole, solitary confinement, mandatory minimums, the incarceration of youth in adult facilities, behavior modification/communication management units, all forms of torture, the war on drugs and the criminalization of youth, immigrants and gender nonconforming people;
• Promoting physical, mental and emotional health and healing inside and outside of prisons, including humane models of and access to health care and substance abuse treatment that do not expand the prison industrial complex;
• Opposing all new jails, prisons, juvenile or immigrant detention facilities and supporting methods to immediately reduce the current prison population, including sentencing and parole reform, and eliminating prisons for profit;
• Challenging the institutions that prop up the prison, including the police, military, ICE, governmental legislatures, and other forms of colonial rule;
• Creating community-based models of restorative and transformative justice in the present. Working for a world where violence and captivity are taboo, and where communities are capable of responding to harm in ways that support the self-determination and dignity of all people.
To realize these visions and goals, we commit ourselves to the following actions. We ask participants at the 2010 US Social Forum to consider participating in or endorsing these actions in solidarity:
• We resolve to hold coordinated local days of action for Juvenile Justice during the week of December 6, 2010; against the prison industrial complex on International Human Rights Day on December 10, 2010; and in solidarity with other movements and days of action against criminalization and confinement;
• We resolve to support the call by groups led by formerly incarcerated people to hold a national strategy session, led by and for formerly incarcerated people, within two years;
• We resolve to support reunification of families torn apart by the prison industrial complex, including by supporting the full repeal of the federal Adoption & Safe Families Act;
• We call for a paradigm shift in language, so that our language reflects our objectives for full human and civil rights for all people. Specifically, we commit ourselves, and ask that people and organizations do the same, to not refer to people with convictions as “offenders” or “ex-offenders,” but rather as “formerly incarcerated people.” We reject the logic of abandonment that distinguishes between “violent” and “nonviolent” people, and we call on organizations to struggle for all people regardless of the nature of their crime;
• We commit to supporting economic development opportunities for people before and after incarceration, and sustainable alternatives for communities that currently depend on prisons for their sustenance;
• We call on organizations in all social movements to review their hiring process, bylaws, and internal culture to determine if there are any barriers to full employment or inclusion of people with convictions;
• We commit ourselves to developing communication tools that allow us to share victories, strategies, lessons and stories, and ask allied movements to support this process;
• We ask that this Resolution from the Anti-Prison PMA be submitted to the World Social Forum in Dakar as part of a desire to engage in international dialogue about ending the global prison industrial complex.
We call on others in the United States, and around the world, to join us in these actions to advance our shared visions. Another World is Possible, Another U.S. is Necessary!
Peoples Movement Assembly: Indigenous Sovereignty
US Social Forum 2010, Detroit, MI
As older brothers and sisters of this land, we do not want another U.S.; but the return of our Ancestral homelands and the right to self-determination. We want others to understand our unique history as the first recipients of systematic oppression & institutional racism in this hemisphere, to understand the colonization of our homelands and the exploitation of the natural resources of Turtle Island. In order to work together, we need non-Indigenous entities to become educated on our history and issues from our perspectives, to RESPECT and HONOR our identity, spirituality, traditional ceremonies and related protocol. We ask that together we work toward the well-being of our communities, our children, future generations, other life forms, the plant and animal nations and Sacred Sites. We want others, to RESPECT and HONOR our expertise in all areas of this land from North to South, and that of Indigenous peoples respectively on other continents. We want to see more representation of Indigenous peoples in the USSF planning process and more Indigenous participation. We want an opening plenary at the next USSF to set the context of our struggles from our perspectives. We will take the lead on our own issues as decision makers and we ask for support on our work in Environmental, Social, and Economic Justice dealing with issues of: energy development (specifically: TARSANDS, coal, uranium, gold, gas & oil, and other extractive industries); green jobs; disparities due to income, environment, and substance abuse; the banning of ethnic studies programs; preservation of Indigenous languages and life-ways; funding for health-care; imposed political borders and immigration issues; food-sovereignty; protection of Sacred Sites and WATER; repatriation; privatization of natural resources & life-forms; commodification & tokenization of Indigenous images & knowledge; continuity of spiritual & healing practices; and the unrestricted access to and use of our traditional medicines and healing practices. We ask you to support us by connecting your work to the local Indigenous communities’ struggles in your area. We call for an annual international day of action between October 11-15 to unite against dirty energy projects and to celebrate our living Indigenous cultures, languages, spiritual practices, sovereignty, and nations. As the caretakers of the land we have a responsibility to honor, love, and give back to our Mother Earth, therefore WE DEMAND that the governments of the U.S. and Canada fully adopt the U.N. Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples without qualifications. We support the existing actions and policies that promote our work by other entities, such as Bolivia’s Declaration on the Rights of Mother Earth. We will move forward by working together collaboratively, involving Youth and Elders, to heal from external and internalized oppression to restore BALANCE and to build healthy relationships around the world.
Friday, July 9, 2010
Free Our Minds, hosted by Donna Wallach, will air this Saturday, 10 July, from 6:00 - 8:45 p.m. You can listen online on the Free Radio Santa Cruz website at http://www.freakradio.org/listen.html. Follow the instructions for how to listen online.
* Delaney Bruce with the Leonard Peltier Defense Offense Committee who will give a report about Leonard's health, his legal status, the US Social Forum and the UN.
* Kathy Sheetz, who was on the Challenger I of the Freedom Flotilla, one of two US flagged boats that was sabotaged by the Israeli Navy before the boats arrived to the meet-up point, she will tell us what happened on the boat, how the Israelis treated her and how they stole her identity and upcoming actions by Free Gaza USA.
* Thandisizwe Chimurenga, journalist who has been reporting from the Johannes Mehserle trial, she will talk about the jury, the trial and the judge.
* Hans Bennett, an independent multi-media journalist and founder, or is it co-founder of Abu-Jamal News, http://abu-jamal-news.com/ among other websites for justice. Hans will be talking about Mumia Abu-Jamal.
Monday, July 5, 2010
June 26, 2010 - Oglala, SD
We began gathering at the Little Family Cemetery around noon to another gorgeous day in the making. Once again we greeted old friends and many new one this year. The turnout was great. As Galeson Eagle Star welcomed eveyone, Fred Cedar Face started with prayers. Prayers were said for the heaing of the Oglala People, for those who have passed on and for Leonard's freedom and health, and that he may join us one day soon in this day of remembrance.
An honor song was sung by Creek Side Drum this year. We offer our sincere condolences to the Good Voice Elk family for the loss of their loved one during this time.We had many travelers this year, coming out as far as California, Kansas, Ohio, Montana and Wyoming, we also had some visitors from the French Support Group; it was good to see new faces and to know that Leonard is not forgotten, nor is the Incident at Oglala. Also in attendance was Bob Robideau's family.
The March to the Jumping Bull Property was spirited; many banners were carried as we walked in prayer to the beat of the drum. Arriving at the Jumping Bull Property we were greeted by Ivis Long Visitor, as he welcomed everyone and started the Remembrance of all those who have walked on.The late Bob Robideau's widow Pilar and Cousin Jim all the way from Spain shared a special word, via telephone.Roselyn Jumping Bull shared some words about the gathering. Owen Black Elk spoke words of love for his niece Mariah LeAnn Montileaux; Mariah tragically ended her life this past November.An example of our Native youth who are filled with despair and hopelessness and lacking resources and alternatives seek to end their lives. This year's school supply drive was done in her memory; filled back packs were given out to the children at the property, and several boxes of supplies were given to her family to distribute to her classmates as a remembrance of all those whose lives she so profoundly touched in her short life.Involving Native youth in helping to define their futures is one of the Committee's goals, and it was a group of six students from California who stepped up to the plate to make a difference. These students came from UC San Diego, UC Irvine, UC Davis, and Cal Sate Fullerton; they arrived and presented the Committee with school supplies for the drive as well as toys for the woplia/giveaway.
It is our hope that this relationship grows and that they will continue to contribute their talents to the Pine Ridge Community. As well may these students be enriched with the sense of participation and accomplishment in their outreach efforts.
As in years past we've had to be flexible, and without Fred & Owens' quick thinking and hard work we wouldn't have had a successful event. At the last minute we had to change our concert location; out of respect to those families in Oglala who recently lost love ones, we turned over the Br. Rene hall for their wake, again, our condolences go out to all the families.
We were not able to serve the meal at the Lakota Dome, so we served the meal and shared the memorial cakes at the property. We owe special thanks to the Wahwassuck young ladies for all their hard work in putting together a delicious meal. With everything said and done, words said, honor songs sang, and food eaten, and giveaways shared, we moved on down to the Lakota Dome.
We wish to express our sincere gratitude to Kevin Lean and Patty Phipps from the Prairie Wind Casino on making this event truly exceptional. The Dome was awesome.
Opening the show was Davidica, a local with a soulful performance; she got us in the mood with passion. Next up were the hard rockers SpyderZback, ending with their special song recently written for Leonard, "A Long Way from No Where". Following was Good Shield, all the way from Northern California; he did an awesome contemporary Native Folk performance. Rounding out the night was Arrow Space rocking us back in time, with special guests Robert and Monte Briggs.Tom Poor Bear graced us with his words and memories. Fred Cedar Face said more prayers and Kari Ann Cowan, Leonard's niece read his statement.
Another year rounded out; all in all, it was a great success.
We would like to thank the following:
Charles Yellow Bird, Ylene Two Lance, Hattie He Crow, Terry Two Lance, Elgin Young Bear, Chris Lone Elk, Leon Eagle, Paula Wahwassuck, and Kenny Black Elk.
Traditional Drum - Creek Side Drum:
Emmanuel Black Bear, Silas Red Cloud, Tim Black Bear and James Franco.
The Jumping Bull Family, Little Family, Cedar Face Family, Black Elk Family, Leonard Peltier, LP-DOC, Prairie Wind Casino, Wal-mart - Chadron, Native American Indian Center of Central Ohio (NAICCO), Buder Native Studies Programme at Washington University, St. Louis, MO, KILI Radio, KDHX - Sara Finke- St. Louis, MO, RezKing@eblogspot.com, DSW, Inc., Scott Air Force Base Group, Good Shield, Davidica, SpyderZback, Arrow Space, Briggs Brothers, Wahwassuck Family, Karen Doris Wright, Cedar Elk Woman, Norris Chee, Native Voices TV, Tom Poor Bear, Pilar Robideau, Robideau Family, Oasis Music, Alliance, NE, Susan Duhn, Rene Bartlett & Alan Grimsley.
There are so many that make this event possible, the names can go on forever. You know who you are and we thank you!
We will be back after a rest,
Oglala Commemoration Committee
Friday, July 2, 2010
"The United States did not follow a policy of genocide; it did try to find a just solution to the Indian problem. The consistent idea was to civilize the Indians, incorporate them into the community, make them part of the melting pot. That it did not work, that it was foolish, conceited, even criminal, may be true, but that doesn’t turn a well-meant program into genocide."
A former agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Ed Woods--who has made it his life's mission to prevent Leonard Peltier's release from prison--recently had the audicity to use the above quote to refute Leonard's use of the word "genocide" with regard to Indigenous Peoples.
For your edification, Ed:
Genocide is the deliberate and systematic destruction, in whole or in part, of an ethnic, racial, religious, or national group.
A legal definition of "genocide" is found in the 1948 United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide:
"...any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:
-- killing members of the group;
-- causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
-- deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life, calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
-- imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; and
-- forcibly transferring children of the group to another group."
Perhaps you'd prefer the term "ethnic cleansing" better, Ed? A 1993 United Nations Commission defined it specifically as "the planned deliberate removal from a specific territory, persons of a particular ethnic group, by force or intimidation, in order to render that area ethnically homogenous."
Simply? Denying historical facts about the ongoing genocide of Indigenous Peoples is just not acceptable.
Shame on you, Ed.
07/12/2010 Update: Ed now accuses us of misquoting him. We did not. The above quote (authored by Stephen Ambrose) was used to make a point... One we heard loud and clear. Ed now states the following:
"This writer subscribes to Ambrose’s conclusions; they are factual and accurate, based on years of intelligent research, and properly summarize the devastation of the Native American historical experience."
And, so, we were not at all mistaken.
Ed, we refer you to the definition of "genocide". The world view, Ed.
But Ed, no doubt, is also a holocaust denier.
Shame, shame, shame.
Thursday, July 1, 2010
When making a phone call to the office of your Member of Congress, be sure to include the following information:
- Who you are. Let the legislator’s office know that you are a constituent, and you may wish to talk a little bit about your credentials where appropriate.
- The issue and your position on it. Whether you're calling a Member of Congress about Peltier's parole, clemency, release of government documents on the case, or the need for congressional hearings be sure to give your position on the issue. Be clear and concise.
- How to contact you. Remember to leave your address and telephone number so that you can receive a response from your Member of Congress.
Note: The same guidelines apply when calling the White House to urge the President to grant a commutation of Peltier's sentence. The following telephone numbers may be of used for this purpose: 202-456-1111 or -1112 (Comments); and 202-456-1414 (Switchboard).
- Find your Congressional District and contact information.
- Send a fax or e-mail to the scheduler requesting a meeting.
- Include the date and time of day you will be available to meet with the member, but be flexible about scheduling your visit because Members of Congress have busy calendars.
- Offer to meet with a staff member if the Member of Congress is not available (i.e., a Legislative Assistant) .
- Include the issue you would like to discuss (Freedom of Information Act reform, for example).
- Provide a phone number and/or e-mail address where the scheduler can reach you.
- Follow up with a phone call in one week's time if you have not heard back from the congressional office.
- When the meeting is scheduled, find accurate information as to the physical location for your legislator's office.
- Be on time for the meeting. Staff in most Capitol Hill and district offices are busy and work on tight schedules. Remember that their time is valuable.
- Establish a rapport. After introductions and handshakes, talk about things or relationships you might have in common. A little bit of research can pay off, so find out all you can about your Members of Congress. For instance, maybe you have a mutual friend, or perhaps you both went to the same elementary school. Thank your senator or representative for all that he or she does on Capitol Hill to represent your state or district.
- If several people will attend the meeting, select a spokesperson. If everyone there will have a role, select one person to move the meeting along in a timely manner.
- State your purpose. For example, you might say, "Congressman Lee, we are here to talk with you about hearings on the long-term effects of COINTELPRO. Specifically, we would like to have your support for hearings on the 'Reign of Terror' on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in the early 1970s."
- Make the issue real. Legislators are people; they are sympathetic to stories about real people. For example, humanize Leonard Peltier by telling the member a little bit about Peltier, the man. If not speaking from personal experience, personalize the events on the Pine Ridge Reservation during the 1970s by sharing published stories. Offer the member a copy of "Incident at Oglala" for viewing or a copy of Peter Matthiessen's book, In the Spirit of Crazy Horse.
- Paint the little picture, but also the big picture. After you discuss how the issue has affected you, talk about the millions of Peltier supporters worldwide. Include names of congresspersons who currently support or have supported Leonard Peltier in the past, as well as mentioning specific celebrities, dignitaries, and luminaries who also support Peltier.
- You should also mention the legislative bodies around the world who have passed resolutions in support of Peltier (e.g., the European Parliament, Belgium Parliament, and more).
- Make a clear request. Tell your Member of Congress exactly what you would like him or her to do, and do not leave without learning the legislator’s position on your issue. For example, you might say that you would like your legislator to sign a letter in support of Peltier's release. Then, ask the Member or their staff to outline the legislator’s current position.
- Very soon after the meeting, write a thank you letter to your Member for taking the time to visit with you.
It's common for some congressional members to view the Peltier case as history and unimportant to today's world. Don't be dissuaded by this. Instead, use some creativity to make the Peltier case current and important in light of the issues of the day, as well as the political landscape in Washington, DC.