Map cutout from "In the Spirit of Crazy Horse" by Peter Matthiessen

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Leonard Peltier

 ---- The Artist

* Archived Page January 2003

Painting is a way to examine the world in ways denied me by the United States Justice System, a way to travel beyond the walls and bars of the penitentiary.

Through my paints I can be with my people, in touch with my culture, tradition, and spirit. I can watch little children in regalia, dancing and smiling, see my elders in prayer, behold the intense glow of a warriors eye.

Leonard Peltier Painting

Photo by Jeffry Scott / Impact Visuals

As I work the canvas I am a free man. I hope that each day, each time you look at these paintings, you are inspired to partake in the long struggle for human rights of indigenous people, of All people who suffer oppression economically, socially, and spiritually.

Justice is not a flexible tool and unless we all do our part to ensure that justice is applied equally to all human beings, we are party to its abuse. We must stand together to protect the rights of others. No child should go hungry, no woman denied the right to earn a living, no person refused health care or an education, no prisoner held for political reasons.

I thank you for caring. Were it not for the compassionate people, all hope for the future would be lost.

In the Spirit of Crazy Horse,

Leonard Peltier Signature


Samples of Leonard's Recent Original Artwork

"Home of the Brave" by Leonard Peltier

Win in His Hair

"Home of the Brave"
24x34 Oil 2002

"Wind in His Hair"
24x30 Oil 2002


The Artist ----

Born on the Turtle Mountain Reservation in North Dakota, Leonard Peltier's self-taught style is an outgrowth of drawing and carving lessons he received as a child from tribal elders. Leonard began working with pastels in 1983, proving he had the talent to put what he saw on paper. His spirit began to know a freedom never before experienced. Although limited by the prison, Leonard has emerged as a master of Indigenous Art.

"There is a commissary at Leavenworth Penitentiary where I can purchase limited supplies. They have a small variety of materials available and most are of poor quality. Sometimes I can order supplies through art magazines or catalogs; however, prison approval is usually not given for special orders."

Leonard's artwork reflects his beliefs and commitment to Native American culture. He realizes the difficulty his people are having as they try in today's society to live in the way the Great Spirit set forth for them. It is his peoples' struggle to survive and the desire to portray their cultural beauty that inspires him to paint.

In 1986, Leonard suffered a stroke which left him about eighty per cent blind in his left eye. "My eye problem has slowed me down considerably, but I am still inspired. Having people buy my artwork and sharing my paintings makes me feel real good."

Leonard's Paintings are collected by such noted personalities as Oliver Stone, Peter Coyote, Jane Fonda, Val Kilmer, Michael Apted, Shep Gordon, Oliver Shanti and many international dignitaries and religious leaders.

The Writer ---- Prison Writings: My Life Is My Sundance