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A Message From Leonard Peltier

(Now serving his 30th continuous year in maximum-security federal custody, and approaching his September 12th birthday, Indigenous American political prisoner Leonard Peltier wrote the following greetings to friends and supporters who gathered in New York City on March 6, 2006 to remember and honor this remarkable man. Wrongfully convicted of murdering two FBI agents on South Dakota's Pine Ridge Reservation in 1975, US Attorneys familiar with the case admitted years ago that they don't know who killed the agents. Edited for length -- Editor)

Greetings My Relatives:

I say 'relatives' for we are all related in some way. Sometimes sitting here in my cell, looking through my glasses, they no longer take the blur away like they once did. I think about the lifetimes I've spent behind these walls. Sometimes for a prisoner, it's like you've died to your friends and family, except you can talk with them on occasion.

I have spent my life trying to make a difference in the world, for the better. Sometimes someone notices in some way and says thank you for something I was involved with. However, my greatest joy comes from someone saying that something I said or was involved with inspired them to be better than they were or seek for themselves to make the world a better place.

I remember in my youth that I had a hard time expressing deep feelings, but after years of losing friends and relatives who were very close to me, I have come to cherish the opportunity to speak to you even though it be by letter or some other way.

When you're 30, you can hardly imagine dying. When you're 61, you know it's entirely possible and could come anytime. Having said that, I want to say a few things from my heart to your heart.

Seek the Creator in all the things you do. Cherish your time with one another. Develop your personal self-discipline, which is the key to all success. Develop a sense of happiness within you that none can take away. Develop who you are and remain true to your higher self, and your integrity will be an inspiration to others.

Show your strength when necessary, even if it is in being gentle or humble. Speak of others in private the same way you would in their presence. Do your best to find the good in all people, and stand and speak up against wrongdoing.

Respect the earth where you stand. Many parts of Mother Earth are also held captive behind concrete and steel. Do your best to recognize inspiration from the Creator and avoid listening to your own, especially when you are tempted in contradiction of your higher values.

We must each, in our own way, in our own time, be part of the cure against the sicknesses of greed, wealth mongering and nature destruction that faces all mankind.

Never be too proud to say you were wrong or too fearful to stand up for what you know is right. Don't expect to not get hurt by life, just because you've done your best to do what's right. Especially, don't lose your sense of humor, even when the laughter is at your own expense.

I want to thank all of you for remembering me. Most of all I want to thank all of you who have chosen to make a difference for the betterment of this world.

For more online information on Leonard and the continuing campaign to win his freedom, email requests to the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee at

You can write Leonard at:

Leonard Peltier 89637-132
USP Lewisburg
PO Box 1000
Lewisburg, PA 17837

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