Leonard Peltier: Disappointments do not just come on Christmas
COLEMAN, FLORIDA – Leonard Peltier, Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians, who has been imprisoned for the past 37 years, issued a Christmas message on Christmas Eve.
Peltier is serving a life sentence in the U.S. Penitentiary in Coleman, Florida. He was accused of the 1975 murders of two FBI agents on the Pine Ridge Reservation. He was convicted in 1977.
Here is Peltier’s Christmas message released earlier on Christmas Eve:
Greetings my relatives, friends, and supporters:
In this season of giving, receiving and acknowledgement of blessings, I want to acknowledge all of the people who have helped me all of these years and I want the supporters outside the United States to know I appreciate them also. Sometimes I am at a loss for words.
Some of you probably have experienced moments like that when you are overwhelmed with thoughts and remembrances of loved ones that for some reason you cannot see or who have gone on.
I know a lot of you are concerned about the children and getting them gifts for Christmas; I was listening to a program recently that was talking about just such things and how everyone was so concerned at this time of year.
I want to just touch on that for a moment. I would like to say there are so many of our children around the world that need our help all the rest of the year, and that their disappointments do not just come on Christmas or some other holiday- they come every day when they do not have enough to eat or they do not have someone to care for them. I want to encourage you all to think of these things and also about our elders, and the people suffering in hospitals, and of course in prisons, where just receiving a letter in the mail is like a holiday to them, or an elder who sees a familiar face and it is like a holiday to them, or a child who gets to eat all he wants … that’s a holiday.
Among our people there was always a celebration of the Solstice which usually falls around the 21st of December. There were always prayers at these times and often ceremonies; but gift-giving was a year-round thing that our people did.
Maybe I am being a bit over sensitive or sentimental at this time of year, as are a lot of people, but again I want to thank you for all the support you have given to me, and for the gifts you have given the children on the reservations and the letters you write to me and to other men and women in prisons. I know there are groups that get together, like the one in Portland Oregon that regularly writes letters to prisoners. These things are greatly appreciated and I have no doubt that you will be blessed by these good things you do. I know some of you in your giving sometimes might be extending your resources, but I recall one time in a fasting ceremony that I was doing; I was told, those who give of their extra are appreciated and blessed but those who give what they cannot afford– that is sacred.
I pray in a sacred way, that each of you will be blessed this coming year. Find a sacred way you can help heal the Earth, heal our troubled children and make a better place on this planet for all to dwell.
Jesus, Mohammed, Buddha, Gandhi, Black Elk, Chief Seattle, all of the well known spiritual leaders in the past had one thing in common: they were willing to think and act outside the box. In a world filled with materialism, those of you that have been helping protect the Earth, the children, the elders and victims of injustice are of that same caliber.
I pray that you enjoy your holidays, that you feel the blessings of your actions, and that the Creator speaks to you in a kind and gentle way. Give someone a hug for me, and tell them, “This is from Leonard Peltier.”
Your friend always,
In the spirit of Crazy Horse