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

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Leonard Peltier

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Supporters of Leonard Peltier continue to express grave concerns with regard to the denial of justice and due process to Mr. Leonard Peltier, and his ongoing detention at Leavenworth Penitentiary. Mr. Peltier has been incarcerated for twenty-seven years, despite the clear indications of misconduct, including the falsification of evidence, by various U.S. officials which lead to his conviction, as set forth in Attorney Jennifer Harbury's Statement of Fact. He is now fifty-eight years of age and his health is deteriorating.

The facts of this case have long been the subject of intensive investigation and documentation. If you are unfamiliar with this case, please take the time to first read "The Case of Leonard Peltier: Statement of Fact" by J. Harbury. Then return to the Reading Room for additional case related online book excerpts, documents and other reference materials.

The case of Leonard Peltier did not take place within a vacuum of history. June 26, 1975 --- the day of the shoot-out at the Jumping Bull Ranch on Pine Ridge Reservation --- cannot be viewed as an isolated incident. Rather, the politically charged events surrounding or directly impacting the case were not only local and regional in scope, but national and international as well. A comprehensive understanding of the Peltier case can be gained only through exploring specific incidents prior to the shoot-out, and in analyzing how the broad political ramifications of those particular events shaped the reactions and actions that occurred at the Jumping Bull property on that fateful day in June, 1975.

In the reading room you will find links to relevant historical background information, trial transcripts, copies of documents received via the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), link to audio clips, as well as other related and substantive information.

Book Excerpts: Recommended Online Reading

| Blood of the Land | The Trial of Leonard Peltier | In the Spirit of Crazy Horse |
| The COINTELPRO Papers (Online Book) | Agents of Repression |

Blood of the Land by Rex Weyler

Blood of the Land:
The Government and Corporate War Against First Nations
by Rex Weyler *
(Excerpts and reprints with the author's generous permission)
Chapter 3: "State of Siege"
Chapter 4: "Due Process"
Chapter 6: "The Star-Spangled Archipelago"
[Excerpt #1] Related to Eda Gordon's affidavit stating that interviews with trial witnesses confirmed FBI coercion.
[Excerpt #2] Regarding Anna Mae Aquash

"White crimes against Indians ... are not merely "regrettable history" but continuing cultural genocide --- an all-American holocaust against people whose title and sacred relation to valuable land challenges both profits and the American way of exploitation .... A shocking story, and very well told."

----- Kirkus Reviews

This is the story of the most expansive geographic invasion and cultural extermination of all time: the occupation of the Americas by the Europeans. It is also the story of the resistance to that occupation, a resistance of 500 years which continues to this day. Blood of the Land is a searing indictment of the ongoing government and corporate destruction of the Native Peoples of North America. While focusing especially on the U.S. government's retaliation against the leaders of the American Indian Movement, Blood of the Land ranges widely to chronicle the widespread struggles between First Nations and industrial "development," including a history of the subjugation of Canada's Native Nations, and their current hope for justice. Blood of the Land is essential reading for everyone struggling for a sustainable, harmonious and just society.

* A Recommended Book

Book: The Trial of Leonard Peltier

The Trial of Leonard Peltier

by Jim Messerschmidt © 1983 * (reprinted with permission)
Forward by William Kunstler

"This book scholarly documents better than any other to date the role of the FBI as a political police intent on destroying any possibility of social change in this country. The trial of Leonard Peltier, analyzed so well by Jim Messerschmidt, is a legal outrage of the highest order."

--- Michael Ratner, President, National Lawyers Guild

"The Trial of Leonard Peltier should be read and widely distributed. In this well-documented and researched study, the author clearly and convincingly presents how U.S. courts and law-enforcement officers often bend, misuse and break the law when those in power perceive real or imagined threats. Leonard Peltier was convicted solely because of his race and political beliefs. I hope this book will awaken public awareness and spur action to correct that gross injustice."

-- Lennox S. Hinds, Permanent UN Representative, International Association of Democratic Lawyers, Professor, Criminal Justice, Rutgers University

Chapter Two: "The FBI: At the Pine Ridge Reservation" from The Trial of Leonard Peltier by Jim Messerschmidt

Chapter Five: "Corporate Expansion & Indian Survival"
"In this final chapter we look specifically at why the events surrounding 26 June 1975 occurred at Pine Ridge." ---- Messerschmidt

Online Chapter: Go to first page

"A Comparison of the Two Trials" --- Author Jim Messerschmidt compares the two trials (Butler-Robideau and Peltier) and displays how the FBI had a tailored fit the second time around.

Foreword by William Kunstler

Chronology of Events

Please note that the above linked pages contain scanned images from Messerschmidt's book. HTML text PDF file versions of these pages will be online soon.

* A Recommended Book

Book: In the Spirit of Crazy Horse

In the Spirit of Crazy Horse
by Peter Matthiessen *

"The first solidly documented account of the U.S. government's renewed assault upon American Indians that began in the 1970's"

-- Dee Brown, author of Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee

Read the book's Afterword by Martin Garbus

[Washington Post Review] "On a hot June morning in 1975, a desperate shoot-out between FBI agents and Native Americans near Wounded Knee, South Dakota, left an Indian and two federal agents dead. Four members of AIM, the American Indian Movement, were indicted on murder charges, and one, Leonard Peltier, was convicted and is now serving consecutive life sentences in a federal penitentiary.

Behind this violent chain of events lie issues of great complexity and profound historical resonance, brilliantly explicated by Peter Matthiessen in this controversial book. In a comprehensive history of the desperate Indian efforts to maintain their traditions, Matthiessen reveals the Lakota tribe's long struggle with the U.S. government, from Red Cloud's War and Little Big Horn in the nineteenth century to the shameful discrimination that led to the new Indian wars of the 1970s.

Kept off the shelves for eight years because of one of the most protracted and bitterly fought legal cases in publishing history, In the Spirit of Crazy Horse makes clear why the traditional Indian concept of the sacred inviolability of the earth is so important, especially at a time when increasing populations are destroying the precious resources of our world.

By the time I had turned the final page, I felt angry enough... to want to shout from the rooftops, 'Wake up, America, before it's too late!' For Matthiessen, in this extraordinary, complex work, powerfully propounds several disturbing themes which the white majority in America will ignore at extreme peril."

-- Nick Kotz, The Washington Post

* A Recommended Book


Book Online

Documents from the FBI's Secret Wars Against Domestic Dissent
By Ward Churchill, James Vander Wall
South End Press ISBN 0-89608-359-4

A Recommended Book

Book Online: Via Paul Wolf's Web Site

Preface - The Face of COINTELPRO

Introduction - A Glimpse Into the Files of America's Political Police

Chapter 1 - Understanding Deletions in FBI Documents


Chapter 3 - COINTELPRO - SWP

Chapter 4 - COINTELPRO - Puerto Rican Independence Movement

Chapter 5 - COINTELPRO - Black Liberation Movement

Chapter 6 - COINTELPRO - New Left

Chapter 7 - COINTELPRO - American Indian Movement (AIM)

Chapter 8 - COINTELPRO - Conclusion: COINTELPRO Lives On


Also by Ward Churchill, read The Covert War Against Native Americans online.

Agents of Repression

Agents of Repression:
The FBI's Secret Wars against
the Black Panther Party
and the American Indian Movement
by Ward Churchill and James Vander Wall

A Recommended Book

"Calling the FBI America's political police, this book examines the agency's harassment, surveillance, and disruption of black and Native American groups in the 1960s and 1970s, and shows how it sought to maintain the sociopolitical status quo within the country. The authors demonstrate how the FBI's covert counter-intelligence program known as COINTELPRO, which was set up to undermine liberal groups, came to symbolize the whole context of ``clandestine political repression activities.'' For students of radical movements and government repression. John R. Sillito, Weber State Coll. Lib., Ogden, Ut."

-- From Library Journal

Read Online: Agents of Repression: Chapter 9, "The Oglala Firefight" from Part III: The FBI on Pine Ridge, 1972-76

Read Excerpt: The Execution of Anna Mae Aquash from Chapter 7, "Assassinations and Bad-jacketing"