Monday, August 31, 2015

September 2015 : A Month of Remembrance

September 2015
A Month of Remembrance

This month’s call to action is inspired by Joan Rodriguez --  @Joanie39 on twitter. Sadly, Joanie passed away last February, before seeing her tireless work to free political prisoner Leonard Peltier come to fruition. She shares a September birthday with Leonard, so it seems appropriate designate our September actions for Peltier a commemoration of her tireless work for his freedom.

If you used social media at all to follow indigenous issues online, you could not miss Joanie’s tremendous energy directed toward gaining freedom for Leonard. For well over 5 years, she took action daily, asking White House asking for Clemency for Leonard and other political prisoners through twitter and Facebook. She was relentless – like a force of nature.  Her constant dedication to indigenous sovereignty, environmental justice and human rights issues inspired many online activists to work a little longer, a litter harder and to speak out a little louder for a better world. 

Joanie led an exemplary life devoted to all forms of social justice activism.  She influenced hundreds of people without ever meeting them in person.  Her use of every form of communication available to her, demonstrated that ordinary citizens are capable of taking meaningful action to increase awareness and bring the issues that they are passionate about to the forefront of public discussion. Joanie always showed remarkable clarity and determination in everything she did online. She truly personified the spirit of indigenous resistance to cruel, arbitrary colonial authority. In her work for Peltier, she was a formidable force. If every person of conscience would do a small fraction of what Joanie did every day of her life, Leonard Peltier might very well be a free man today.

Please consider honoring Joanie’s memory by continuing the work that was so important to her. The best gift that Leonard can receive on his birthday is the hope and encouragement that he will one day be free.  Please send cards and letters letting Leonard know he is not forgotten. Write to him and tell him what you are doing on his behalf to help him win his freedom.  Make a commitment to keep him in your daily thoughts. 
Send birthday wishes, cards and letters to:
Leonard Peltier
USP Coleman I
P.O. Box 1033
Coleman, FL 33521

Presently, the only person who can grant Leonard Peltier his freedom is President Barack Obama. It is imperative to help him remember what he stood for before becoming President and to reach him on a human level.

We are calling on all Leonard’s supporters throughout the world to join efforts to make a stand for Leonard Peltier this month.  His life is in Barack Obama’s hands. Seven past administrations have failed to gather the courage to address the fabricated evidence and constitutional violations in his case. President Obama’s is Leonard’s last hope for freedom, so we must use all of our intelligence and creativity to find a way to reach him.

We encourage everyone to :

·        Raise awareness of Leonard’s case on social media, face-to-face and one-to-one by telling his story to friends, family, neighbors co-workers and everyone you meet

Information can be found at:

For the sake of your integrity, please make sure that the information you pass on is accurate and current.

·        Start or strengthen local campaigns for executive clemency

·        Make it a daily habit and include action for Peltier as part of your routine. After your morning coffee call.

·        CALL the White House comments line: 
1-202-456-1111 (Comment Line) or
1-202-456-1414 (White House switchboard)

·        EMAIL: 

Send an email to President Obama using this form:


On your work break, post to Facebook or send tweets to
@POTUS @BarackObama @WhiteHouse @TheJusticeDept @LorettaLynch @MichelleObama

·        WRITE:

Compose and then post open letters to Obama on your Tumblr, blogs, and Facebook pages. Tell the President that you want him to review Leonard’s case and get back to you with his reason for taking or not action. Personalize your letters by including the reason why you are personally invested in seeing Leonard free.

·        SIGN and CIRCULATE Petitions:

Ask President Obama to use his presidential powers to release the documents that the FBI is withholding, to investigate the 69 murdered AIM activists from the COINTELPRO Era and to give Leonard’s request for clemency serious consideration.

·        Create new means of communication. Create art, poetry music and share it with your community.

With Joanie’s passing, we lost a great ally and a brave activist. If you remember her efforts online to free political prisoners, please honor her compassionate heart and determined spirit by making September 2015 a month of memory and witness to the injustice done to Leonard Peltier by the United States government.  Please help to extend her legacy beyond what her years allowed. Keep fiery passion for justice alive and alit on the earth. This month, remember why she cared so deeply. Please, remember why you care and act accordingly.

Monday, August 3, 2015


Racial violence against Indigenous people reached a disturbing high during the month of July 2015. Our women and our spiritual leaders died under mysterious circumstances in the Colonizer’s prisons. Our children received no justice in the Colonizer’s courts of justice when drunken white men abused and dehumanized them. Our mentally ill brother in anguish was offered no comfort and slaughtered by police. Our homeless people were set on fire. Those seeking healing from the spiritual poison of alcohol were gunned down. And most horrifying of all, our gentle elders, following their original instructions to help strangers in need, were gunned down in exchange for their kindness.  All this cruelty and barbarity happened in one month. 

What is even more disturbing than all this violence and hatred aimed at indigenous peoples, is the media silence on the crimes of July. All of these hate crimes received very little attention in the mainstream media:

July 6, 2015:  Sarah Lee Circle Bear of Clairmont, South Dakota died While in police custody. Her complaints of extreme pain were met by jeers to “stop faking it” and later she was found unconscious in a holding cell in Brown County Jail in Aberdeen.

July 10, 2015: Choctaw Medicine Man and Native American activist, Rexdale W. Henry died mysteriously in his cell in the Neshoba County jail
July 11, 2015: Ruben Abeita, a homeless Native man, was asleep on the curb at about 8 p.m. on July 11 when a couple hurled fireworks at him, causing his clothing to catch fire. They brought their children with them to witness this abuse of another human being who never did anything to them.

July 12, 2015: Paul Castaway, a Rosebud Sioux tribal citizen, was fatally shot during an encounter with police. The police lied and claimed he ran at them officers armed with a 
knife. Later, video and eyewitnesseswhy  at the mobile-home park where the incident occurred contradicted the police account and revealed that Castaway was actually holding the knife to his own throat.

July 18, 2015:  A white man gunned down two Northern Arapaho men, James “Sonny” Goggles and Stallone Trosper in Riverton, WY.  Stallone was murdered after being shot in the head while he was sleeping in a detoxification center. Another Native man, James “Sonny” Goggles, Jr., is still in serious condition after also being shot in the head. The man used a common racial slur for Native Americans and claimed he was tired of "homeless" people causing problems in the city parks.

July 28, 2015: The residents of the Pine Ridge reservation found out there will basically no consequences for the 1% who poured beer on 7 Native children while hurling racist insults.

July 30, 2015: On the Crow Indian Reservation near Pryor, Montana, two elders, Jason Shane, and his wife Tana Shane were murdered for not having enough money to give to a man who tried to rob them. Their daughter, Jorah was shot in the head and the back when she tried to run away.

July was a month of staggering violence and racial hatred. We need to come together with others who understand this country’s history of brutality and institutionalized violence toward people of color. Our indigenous women face sexual assault at a higher rate than white women face. Our men face imprisonment and police brutality at a much higher rate than the white population. It only seems logical that indigenous people come together with Black Lives Matter movement who live the same daily Colonial oppression and have the same understandings of the Colonial context of violence that we do. #BlackLivesMatter and #NativeLivesMatter are the same movement, based on the same real life experiences of institutionalized racism and hatred. Maybe it’s time we acknowledge it and find creative ways to support our true allies in our common struggle to maintain our identity and our dignity under Colonial occupation.