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LPDOC Board Member reports on visit with Leonard at Coleman

September 6, 2012

From Leonard Peltier Defense Offense Committee

I went to Florida to visit Leonard last month and was supposed to see him on a Sunday but, as it is all too common at Coleman 1, the prison was in lock down and that means that all prisoners are confined to their cells and no visits are allowed. I decided to wait for the lock down to end and that meant a wait of almost a week. I was able to get in on the following Friday . Coleman is out in the middle of the Florida flatland’s and is not an easy place to get to, but who am I to complain? Coleman Federal Prison is some 1800 miles from the Dakota’s and the distance makes visits from Leonard’s family members very rare.

Leonard was in a pensive mood and spent a lot of the time reminiscing on life as a child at Turtle Mountain and the schools he attended, including the residential schools. He seemed to want to talk about certain memorable times in his life. Traveling to California to work as migrant farm workers with his Uncle Billy and his cousins, and the hard times he experienced in Residential Schools. And he remembered key moments in his legal history and key mistakes made by some of his lawyers. He spoke of what those mistakes has cost him and more then that, he remembered times when things might have gone very differently for him.

I know he is strong and I know he is very resilient and that he has been able to endure all that they have done to him. Just last summer he spent more then sixty days in a sweat box of a hole at Lewisburg for something he did not do. That period in the hole has had a lasting effect on his health and he told me he has had a very hard time recovering from it. He did not speak of his other health issues. He did not have to.

I remember many years ago he told me how important it was that the people continue to participate in the ceremonies and to pray every day, but then he added something I have never forgotten. He said, “But someone has to actually do the work. Someone has to stand up in the courtroom or in that arena and say the words that need to be said.

I know he has been a very large part of the efforts to ensure that Native prisoners have access to their sacred objects and ceremonies but even that has been a very hard fight,The long standing issue of the old falling down sweat lodge at Colman was resolved just this week when the cedar poles needed to build a new one were brought in and a new sweat lodge was built by Leonard and the other 20 Native American inmates at Coleman 1. They still hope to have visits from Medicine Men of their choosing in the near future.

Late in our visit he spoke lovingly of his children and grand-children and I could only try to imagine how much he misses them.

When I was leaving he shook my hand, and said he hoped I would come back again soon and he asked me to ask his supporters to come back together again and to join the effort and help him now. He is a man who knows that his options are few and that time is no longer on his side. He has not received anything resembling justice to this day, and he can see that he has a very small window of opportunity that may allow him to make yet another plea for his life before a sitting President. This is the sixth President to live in the White house since he entered the Federal Prison System 37 years ago. None of this is new to him. All he has left is hope. And sadly he has little faith that the law will ever work for him, no matter how many times his rights have been violated.
But mostly he hopes that we will come back together again to support him while this small window is open.
Please contact your Congressmen and Women and ask them tojoin Congressman John Lewis of Georgia and others in seeking justice at last for Leonard Peltier. And please write to the President and call the White House Comment line every week.

Please contact your local newspapers, magazines and radio stations and ask them to consider writing or speaking about this case. Millions around the world will agree with you. And please send contributions to the LPDOC as the work is costly and will require a lot of travel and expenses to coordinate the events that are going to take place in the next few months.**
Please join us in our efforts to shed light on this innocent man who has now spent more then half his life in prison.
With respect
Jack Magee LPDOC National Board
**LPDOC P.O.BOX 7488 FARGO, NORTH DAKOTA 58106

I went to Florida to visit Leonard last
month and was supposed to see him on a
Sunday but, as it is all too common at
Coleman 1, the prison was in lock down
and that means that all prisoners are con-
fined to their cells and no visits are al-
lowed. I decided to wait for the lock down
to end and that meant a wait of almost a
week. I was able to get in on the following
Friday . Coleman is out in the middle of
the Florida flatland’s and is not an easy
place to get to, but who am I to complain?
Coleman Federal Prison is some 1800
miles from the Dakota’s and the distance makes visits from
Leonard’s family members very rare.
Leonard was in a pensive mood and spent a lot of the time remi-
niscing on life as a child at Turtle Mountain and the schools he at-
tended, including the residential schools. He seemed to want to talk
about certain memorable times in his life. Traveling to California to
work as migrant farm workers with his Uncle Billy and his cousins,
and the hard times he experienced in Residential Schools. And he
remembered key moments in his legal history and key mistakes
made by some of his lawyers. He spoke of what those mistakes
has cost him and more then that, he remembered times when
things might have gone very differently for him.
I know he is strong and I know he is very resilient and that he has
been able to endure all that they have done to him. Just last sum-
mer he spent more then sixty days in a sweat box of a hole at
Lewisburg for something he did not do. That period in the hole has
had a lasting effect on his health and he told me he has had a very
hard time recovering from it. He did not speak of his other health is-
sues. He did not have to.
I remember many years ago he told me how important it was that
the people continue to participate in the ceremonies and to pray
every day, but then he added something I have never forgotten. He
said, “But someone has to actually do the work. Someone has to
stand up in the courtroom or in that arena and say the words that
need to be said.
I know he has been a very large part of the efforts to ensure that
Native prisoners have access to their sacred objects and cere-
monies but even that has been a very hard fight,The long standing
issue of the old falling down sweat lodge at Colman was resolved
just this week when the cedar poles needed to build a new one
were brought in and a new sweat lodge was built by Leonard and
the other 20 Native American inmates at Coleman 1. They still hope
to have visits from Medicine Men of their choosing in the near fu-
ture.
Late in our visit he spoke lovingly of his children and grand-children
and I could only try to imagine how much he misses them.
When I was leaving he shook my hand, and said he hoped I would
come back again soon and he asked me to ask his supporters to
come back together again and to join the effort and help him now.
He is a man who knows that his options are few and that time is no
longer on his side. He has not received anything resembling justice
to this day, and he can see that he has a very small window of op-
portunity that may allow him to make yet another plea for his life be-
fore a sitting President. This is the sixth President to live in the
White house since he entered the Federal Prison System 37 years
ago. None of this is new to him.
All he has left is hope. And sadly he has little faith that the law will
ever work for him, no matter how many times his rights have been
violated.
But mostly he hopes that we will come back together again to sup-
port him while this small window is open.
Please contact your Congressmen and Women and ask them to
join Congressman John Lewis of Georgia and others in seeking jus-
tice at last for Leonard Peltier. And please write to the President
and call the White House Comment line every week.
Please contact your local newspapers, magazines and radio sta-
tions and ask them to consider writing or speaking about this case.
Millions around the world will agree with you.
And please send contributions to the LPDOC as the work is costly
and will require a lot of travel and expenses to coordinate the
events that are going to take place in the next few months.**
Please join us in our efforts to shed light on this innocent man who
has now spent more then half his life in prison.
With respect
Jack Magee LPDOC National Board
**LPDOC P.O.BOX 7488 FARGO, NORTH DAKOTA 58106

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