Urgent-ACTION Alert-A Message From the Leonard Peltier Defence Committee


 
"No human being should ever have to fear for his own life because of
political or religious beliefs. We are all in this together, my friends, the
rich, the poor, the red, white, black, brown and yellow. We share
responsibility for Mother Earth and those who live and breathe upon her
..never forget that."
                                                     Leonard Peltier

 

 

 

Please click here to join our Freedom of Religion for Native American
Inmates Petition:

http://www.PetitionOnline.com/inipi/petition.html

 

Religious freedom is a fundamental right of all, including American Indians
yet the struggle to preserve and protect our religion has always been a
difficult one. More so when incarcerated Native Americans are concerned who
tend to be given second rate acknowledgement by prison officials and
mainstream faiths. In 1984 Robert Wilson, (Standing Deer) Albert Garza and I
fasted for 42 days to draw worldwide attention to the deplorable conditions
at the USP Marion and to no longer allow the United States to continue
denying Native American brothers and sisters the right to practice our
religion. For over 500 years our religion has been trampled on and
disrespected by those who invaded our lands, and who  have tried to take
away our culture, our traditions, our language, our history, and our
religion. When we fasted for 42 days we did not fast out of depression or
despair, but with a joyful commitment of total love and dedication to our
people. We were willing to fast until we were granted our constitutional
right to practice our religion or until we returned to our Creator. In
retaliation for our 42 day fast we were held in solitary isolation for 15
months with nothing in our "cages" (cell) except for a steel bunk and
toilet. The door to the "cage" (cell) was never opened unless we were
handcuffed behind our backs, and four guards with clubs were present to
supervise our every move. After a year of confinement attorney Margaret Gold
filed a lawsuit against the Federal Bureau of Prisons that secured in having
each one of us transferred to a separate maximum security prison where we
were allowed to practice our religion.

 

In 1985 I was transferred to USP Leavenworth; Alfred went to USP Lewisburg
and Standing Deer to USP Lompoc.

 

As of August 15, 2005 I have been at USP Lewisburg and since November 2006 I
have not attended an inipi ceremony (sweat lodge). When I say I have not
attended an inipi ceremony, I must add I have refused to attend an inipi
ceremony, as my way of refusing to participate in the ongoing disrespect for
our religion and sacred ceremonies by the USP prison system. I can not allow
the United States to continue denying Native American brothers and sisters
the right to practice our religion. The trend within the past several years
throughout the United States prison system has been to restrict the
traditional spiritual practices of Native Americans. Nationwide the current
trend of prison officials is to limit the amount of time Indian prisoners
can participate in inipi ceremonies, talking circles and spiritual
gatherings. The new restrictions in U.S. prisons are racist and undermine
the sacredness of our traditional ceremonies. Those restrictions include
time limits and the rationing of firewood for the inipi and an English-only
mandate. Mandating the English-only requirement for the ceremony is
discrimination and racist, because the Native language is used and needed
for the songs and prayers to be blessed by the Creator. The new restrictions
include a four-hour time limit on the Sweat lodge ceremony, which is
unrealistic since the inipi includes the heating of the stones, which takes
two hours, and two hours for the actual ceremony. The stones need to be
heated for at least two hours, otherwise they are cold and the ceremony is
neither complete nor beneficial to the healing and prayers.  The rationing
of firewood in U.S. prisons has deliberately undermined the heating of the
stones for ceremony. Rushing through an ancient ceremony is not proper, it
is very sacred. The deliberate attempt to shorten the hours and circumvent
the ceremony is sacrilegious and undermining the seriousness and sacredness
of the spiritual healing and blessings. Traditional ceremonies are to be
held in the ancient and sacred way and manner. Prison chaplains continue to
oversee American Indian ceremonies. The supervision of our inipi by the
chaplain is not necessary, because it takes time away from other spiritual
and cultural activities. These include talking circles, drumming sessions
and Pipe ceremonies that also mandate the presence of the chaplain. During
the inipi Ceremony, tobacco, or kinnikinnick (a mixture of sage, cedar and
sweet grass) is used for our sacred pipe or Canupa. Very limited amounts of
tobacco are allowed for our sacred pipe ceremony. I am a pipe carrier and am
not allowed to smoke my pipe with tobacco, kinnikinnick is also not
available. I have asked to smoke my pipe in the sacred lodge area and have
been told that while the present Chaplain is working for the USP Lewisburg,
I will not have access to my pipe.

 

A part of the ceremony is having a meal after the ceremony has been
completed. The USP prison system is denying us the right, to eat this meal
after our ceremony. The Native American brothers, are the only group that
receives only two meals on the day we have our ceremony. This also changes
the way our inipi ceremony has been taught to us by our ancestors.

 

 

I ask that those of you who can practice your religion freely do so and keep
those of us who continue to fight for our religious freedom, preservation of
our Culture, traditions, language, history and dignity in your thoughts and
prayers.

 

Yours in the struggle,

Until freedom is won,

 

 

Leonard Peltier

 

Leonard Peltier Defense Committee

Website: www.leonardpeltier.net <http://www.leonardpeltier.net/

Email: info@leonardpeltier.net

Address:

LPDC

 3800 N. Mesa

# A2

El Paso, Texas 79902

Action Alert: The Leonard Peltier Defense Committee kindly requests that you
take a few minutes to read the information on the following petition that
the LPDC will be sending to the Human Rights Council of the United Nations
and to the Special Rapporteur on Religion of the United Nations Council on
Human Rights. This will recognize the urgent need for international
oversight and further investigation of the serious ongoing human rights
violations, in order to insure that the freedom of religion for Native
Prisoners is protected.

Our goal is to submit the petition by September 12, 2007. We kindly ask that
you help support this petition by sending it to your lists. Please forward
this email in its entirety, do not modify, edit, remove or add to this
petition.

Together with your support and help, we can help to make a difference for
Leonard Peltier and all of our brothers and sisters.

Respectfully,

Leonard Peltier Defense Committee

 

Please click here to join our Freedom of Religion for Native American
Inmates Petition:

http://www.PetitionOnline.com/inipi/petition.html

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About kiwihighlander

I was born in New Zealand (Kiwi) I do not necessarily agree with or endorse all of the views presented here. This is a learning curve! I have a wide range of interesting trivia or facts on a variety of topics with-in this blog, also like to show a presentation of some of my photography & art. Hope your day has been kind :-)
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