Leonard Peltier & Lenny Foster at U.S. Penitentiary in Coleman, Florida in January 2014.
Published January 19, 2017
WASHINGTON – Len Foster (Diné), the longtime spiritual leader of Leonard Peltier, says President Barack Obama missed an opportunity for reconciliation with Native Americans when he refused to grant the Petition for Clemency for Peltier, who has been in prison for over 40 years.
Earlier on Tuesday, Peltier’s name appeared on the January 18 list of commutations denied by Obama as issued by the Office of the Pardon Attorney. Peltier’s attorney Martin Garbus was also notified. (Pardon Attorney’s Letter)
“I really thought Obama ‘got it’ when it comes to Native Americans. I thought he saw the need for some healing to take place for Native Americans with this country. I think he missed an opportunity for reconciliation to take place,” Foster told Native News Online on Tuesday evening. “I am very sad. Leonard Peltier does not deserve to die in prison. It serves no purpose at this point.”
Earlier Tuesday, Peltier said in an email: “If I should not [receive clemency] then after we are locked in for the day I will have a good cry and then pick myself up and get myself ready for another round of battles until I cannot fight [any] more. So, don’t worry. I can handle anything after over 40 years.”
The International Leonard Peltier Defense Committee said in a release after the announcement:
It’s hard to bear such a blow, though. And make no mistake — Leonard has been hit hardest of all. But let’s not mourn so very long. Instead, let’s move ever forward. Channel your grief and anger in a positive way. Remember that Leonard still needs our help. He needs quality health care and a transfer to a medium security facility, among other things. We’ll always work towards freedom for Leonard, but these actions may help to make his life more bearable until freedom is won.
Now, we urge you to write to Leonard and help to keep his spirits up. Tell him you won’t give up, that you’ll walk the rest of the way with him. Send cards and letters to:
Leonard Peltier #89637-132
USP Coleman I
PO Box 1033
Coleman, Florida 33521