In the 1960s and 70s, rising leader of the American Indian Movement Leonard Peltier was known for providing mutual aid from his auto shop and advocating for Native civil rights.
After a controversial trial concerning the deaths of two FBI agents, Peltier was sent to jail to serve two life sentences. Despite cries for clemency from the likes of Mother Teresa and Nelson Mandela, Peltier has spent over half his life in jail. This week, Elise tells his story.
Then, Olivia talks about her time down at the People vs. Fossil Fuels action in Washington DC. She witnessed the first occupation of the Bureau of Indian Affairs since the Trail of Broken Treaties in 1972 (which Peltier participated in). The demands of both occupations are eerily similar.
Plus, we talk about how to get involved in current urgent actions, which climate activist is a fan of Rick-rolling, and Elise’s vote for best environmental film.
Story #1: Leonard Peltier (Elise)
He Killed Two FBI Agents. Or He Was Framed. After 40 Years, Will Obama Free Leonard Peltier?, Mother Jones, May 2016
After 38 Years, Time To Release Indigenous Leader Leonard Peltier, Amnesty USA, Feb 2014
Leonard Peltier, Britannica
The Leonard Peltier Trial: An Account, Famous Trials
Leonard Peltier, Wikipedia
Indian Boarding Schools’ Traumatic Legacy, And The Fight To Get Native Ancestors Back, NPR, Aug 2021
RESMURS Case (Reservation Murders), FBI
Trail of Broken Treaties, Wikipedia
Story #2: People Vs. Fossil Fuels & DOI Action (Olivia)
Invitation from People Vs. Fossil Fuels
Statement from occupation at Bureau of Indian Affairs central office, Indianz
Police and climate activists hurt in clashes at Interior Dept., Washington Post
Demands from the organizers of the October 14 2021 Bureau of Indian Affairs occupation:
We will no longer allow the U.S. government to separate us from our relationship to the sacred knowledge of Mother Earth and all who depend on her. Her songs have no end, so we must continue the unfinished work of our ancestors who have walked on before us.
Because of colonization, our mission has been passed on generation after generation — to protect the sacred. Just as those who walked before us, we continue their song and rise for our youth, for the land, and for the water.
Politicians do not take care of us. Presidents will break their promises but Mother Earth has always given us what we need to thrive. We will not back down until our natural balance is restored.
For the land, for our waters, for our future — we must fight now so our young will thrive.
You can arrest us, tear gas us, poison us but there will always be more hearts to continue the song until we are all free.
Another world is possible.
Our demands for the President of the United States are:
-Abolition of the Bureau of Indian Affairs
-Restoration of 110 million acres (450,000 km2) of land taken away from Native Nations
-Bring Home Our Children Buried At Your Residential Schools
-Restoration of treaty-making (ended by Congress in 1871)
-Establishment of a treaty commission to make new treaties (with sovereign Native Nations)
-Honor the Treaties
-No new leases for oil and gas or extractive industry on public lands
-Free, Prior, and Informed Consent
-Reclaim and affirm health, housing, employment, economic development, and education for all Indigenous people
-Restoration of terminated rights
-Repeal of state jurisdiction on Native Nations
-Federal protection for offenses against Indians
Summary of the 1972 Trail of Broken Treaties Demands:
- The United States Federal Government should retract the component of the 1871 Indian Appropriations Act which eliminated the power of the Indian Nations to contract constitutionally bound treaties with the U.S. government.
- The United States Federal Government should establish a Treaty Commission that will have the power to contract new treaties to ensure the future of the Indian Nations. In addition, it should be established that no terms of existing treaties can be violated.
- The Federal Government should pledge that they will meet with four American Indian representatives before June 2, 1974 in order to discuss the future of the Indian Nations. The national media should be present for this meeting.
- The President of the United States should establish a committee consisting of both Indians and non-Indians to examine treaty commitments and violations.
- Treaties that have not been ratified should be presented to the Senate.
- All American Indian peoples should be considered to be in treaty relations with the United States Federal Government.
- The United States Federal Government should ensure that there is judicial enforcement and protection of the treaty rights of American Indians.
- The United States Federal Government should provide a new system of federal court jurisdiction through which American Indians can address treaty or tribal rights. This system of jurisdiction must apply both in cases between American Indians and between American Indians and non-Indians. It is of utmost importance that leaders of the Indian Nations take part in the process of interpreting treaties.
- The Congress of the United States should relinquish their control over Indian Affairs and instead create a joint committee. This committee is to be called the “Committee on Reconstruction of Indian Relations and Programs”. The members of the committee must be willing to commit significant amounts of their time to restructure Indian relations in America.
- By July 4, 1976 the United States Federal Government should restore a permanent Native American land area of no less than 110 million acres (450,000 km). This area should be perpetually non-taxable by the federal government. In addition the Termination Acts of the 1950s and 1960s should be immediately repealed.
- There should be a revision of 25 U.S.C. 163. This revision will call for all Indian rights to be restored to individuals that have lost them due to issues with enrollment. In addition, American Indians must be able to qualify for membership in more than one tribe and not be prohibited from receiving dual benefits.
- Congress must repeal state laws passed under the Public Law 280. PL280 allows for people not belonging to the Indian community to gain control over governing in reservation areas. The law takes away American Indians’ ability to govern themselves without external conflict.
- All violent offenses against Indians should be treated as federal crimes and the persons committing the crimes must face penalties under federal prosecution. Congress should also create a national federal Indian grand jury. This grand jury should consist only of Indians that are chosen by the President as well as by Indian people. In addition this jury will have jurisdiction over non-Indian peoples living on Indian reservations.
- The Bureau of Indian Affairs should be dismantled by 1976 and a new government structure that maintains Indian-Federal relations should be established.
- The new structure that will replace the Bureau of Indian Affairs will be called the “Office of Federal Indian Relations and Community Reconstruction”.
- The “Office of Federal Indian Relations and Community Reconstruction” will promote equality between the Indian Nations and the federal government and seek to remedy the wrongdoings of the federal government against the American Indians.
- Congress should enact a statute that allows for trade, commerce, and transportation of Indians to remain outside the jurisdiction of the federal government. American Indians within reservation areas should have immunity from federal and state taxation.
- The United States government should recognize and protect the spiritual and cultural integrity of the Indian Nations.
- Forms of Indian organization should be consolidated so as to regain the unification of the Indian Nations.
- The United States Federal Government should focus on the improvement and creation of better housing, education, employment and economic development for the American Indians.
Greta rickrolling the audience of Climate Live 2021:
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