indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+ indianz.com on soundcloud
phone: 202 630 8439
Fredericks Peebles & Morgan LLP
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines
Print   Subscribe
Statue of imprisoned activist Leonard Peltier coming down in D.C.

Filed Under: Education | Law | National | Politics
More on: aim, barack obama, crime, dave archambault, dc, doj, fbi, leonard peltier, museums, rigo 23, south dakota, standing rock sioux
     
   

The wooden statue of imprisoned American Indian Movement activist Leonard Peltier. Photo: AU Museum at Katzen

A statue of imprisoned American Indian Movement activist Leonard Peltier is being removed from the campus of American University in Washington, D.C.

The 9-foot-tall wooden statue is located outside of the AU Museum at the Katzen Arts Center. Its placement there in early December was announced by the school with the following disclaimer: "American University regards this statue as an exhibited piece of art and takes no position on the advocacy movement."

But administrators changed their minds just days after hearing from the Federal Bureau of Investigation Agents Association, a non-profit organization of active and retired agents. The group sent a letter to university president Neil Kerwin on December 29 to complain about the installation.

"The subject matter and placement of the piece improperly suggested that American University has assumed an advocacy position of clemency for Mr. Peltier, when no such institutional position has been taken," a statement announcing the removal of the statue on Monday read. "Further, the nature and location of the piece called into question our ability to honor our responsibilities to ensure the security of the art and the safety of our community."

In a December 22 post on Twitter about the statue, the AU Museum highlighted the history of presidential pardons. Peltier's supporters -- a group that includes nearly every major tribal organization, Republican and Democratic politicians and human rights groups around the world -- have asked President Barack Obama to release the activist from prison, where he is serving two life sentences for the murders of two FBI agents in 1975.

"Mr. Peltier has been in prison for 41 years," Chairman Dave Archambault of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe wrote in a December 22 letter to the president. "He is in ill health; requires urgent, specialized medical treatment; and just lost his youngest son. Continued incarceration serves no purpose."


Tom Poor Bear, the former vice president of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, poses with the feet from the wooden Leonard Peltier statue. Photo: peltierstatue

Peltier, who is a citizen of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians, was convicted in 1977 for the murders of FBI agents Jack R. Coler and Ronald A. Williams. The incident took place on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota in June 1975, a time of "tumultuous history," Archambault noted in his letter. Just two years earlier, FBI agents laid siege at Wounded Knee on the reservation and mistrust of law enforcement ran strong.

Throughout numerous legal appeals, Peltier has steadfastly denied being responsible for the deaths of the two men. His stance has derailed his chances for parole so supporters believe a pardon, commutation or other executive action is the only way he can enjoy freedom again.

But those efforts have consistently run into fierce opposition from the law enforcement community. The late Janet Reno, who was the first woman to serve as Attorney General of the United States, faced intense pressure at the end of the Bill Clinton administration to push for Peltier's release.

Reno, who passed away on November 7, refused to disclose her position on the issue. Former president Clinton ultimately left office without taking action.

Peltier's supporters essentially gave up once George W. Bush took office. Obama, who has promoted his policy advances in Indian Country, has granted 70 pardons and more than 1,000 commutations, according to the Department of Justice.

Artist Rigo 23, also known as Ricardo Gouveia, created the statue based on a recent self-portrait from Peltier. He took it on a cross-country journey from California and stopped on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation before coming to D.C.

"Leonard Peltier has now spent four entire decades behind bars for a crime he has not committed even though, by most countries’ standards, he has now fulfilled both of the consecutive life-sentences to which he was wrongly sentenced," Rigo 23 wrote on the statue's website.

Peltier's efforts are being discussed on the nationally-broadcast Native America Calling on Tuesday.

Related Stories:
Oglala Sioux Tribe credits the late Janet Reno for Indian Country initiatives (11/07)
Leonard Peltier: My last best hope for freedom lies with President Barack Obama (06/30)
Jasmine Heiss: There's still time for President Obama to set Leonard Peltier free (05/23)
Cutcha Risling Baldy: Don't let Leonard Peltier die in prison system (02/08)
Frank Hopper: Leonard Peltier persecuted by FBI even behind bars (12/07)
Leonard Peltier paintings being removed after complaint (11/16)
Cynthia Dunne: Justice has been served in Leonard Peltier case (07/27)
Editorial: We need to be careful about who we choose as heroes (06/19)

Copyright © Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Stay Connected:
On Facebook

On Twitter

On Google+

On SoundCloud
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Federal court blocks attempt to condemn lands on Navajo Nation (5/26)
Bill removes blood quantum requirement for Five Civilized Tribes (5/26)
Mark Trahant: Voting is just sooo hard in the era of Donald Trump (5/26)
Ryan Benally: Bears Ears was false promise for Native Americans (5/26)
Adrian Jawort: Should non-Natives ever write about our people? (5/26)
Native turnout fails to sway closely-watched election in Montana (5/26)
Eastern Cherokee council ousts chief for only 2nd time in history (5/26)
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe into election season with crowded field (5/26)
Lacrosse documentary 'Pride of a Nation' opens to strong reviews (5/26)
Seminole Tribe working hard to rid new casino of Trump's influence (5/26)
Lawmakers once again seek fixes to 'broken' Indian Health Service (5/25)
Secretary Zinke headed to National Congress of American Indians (5/25)
Bureau of Indian Affairs opens listening sessions on reorganization (5/25)
Kevin Washburn: Indian Country feels the pain with Donald Trump (5/25)
Yakama Nation landowners weigh offers as buy-back winds down (5/25)
Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe cannabis consultant found not guilty (5/25)
Secretary Zinke plans to work with tribes on drilling push in Alaska (5/25)
Republican candidate to replace Ryan Zinke charged with assault (5/25)
Democrats drop Andrew Jackson from name of event in Arkansas (5/25)
Chickasaw Nation breaks ground on $10M casino by Texas border (5/25)
Washoe Tribe celebrates 1st anniversary of unique gaming facility (5/25)
Keweenaw Bay Indian Community shares update on casino work (5/25)
Trump administration ready to let Cobell program run out of funds (5/24)
Northwest tribes slam Trump's budget for cuts to Indian programs (5/24)
Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe finds one bright spot in Trump's budget (5/24)
Pascua Yaqui Tribe reports jury conviction of non-Indian offender (5/24)
YES! Magazine: Native birthing center maintains tribal traditions (5/24)
Peter d'Errico: Founding Fathers conspired to take land from tribes (5/24)
Eastern Cherokee chief questions fairness of impeachment hearing (5/24)
Another guilty plea in theft of gaming funds from Winnebago Tribe (5/24)
Tribes clear legislative hurdle in bid for new casino in Connecticut (5/24)
President Trump confirms Indian Country's worst fears with budget (5/23)
Office of Special Trustee pitches lower budget as 'taxpayer' savings (5/23)
Steven Newcomb: Monuments to white supremacy harm our people (5/23)
Two more spills of oil from Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota (5/23)
Native woman in skirt and sandals wins ultramarathon in Mexico (5/23)
Brothers from Huichol Tribe murdered as drug war rages in Mexico (5/23)
Iowa Tribe misses deadline again to launch internet poker project (5/23)
Mississippi Choctaw citizens request vote on $25M casino project (5/23)
Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe must wait to restart work on casino (5/23)
Documents show few meetings between Secretary Zinke and tribes (5/22)
Landowners on 2 reservations in Nebraska receive buy-back offers (5/22)
Human Rights Complaint: 'We are only letting the white people in' (5/22)
Mark Trahant: Funds for Indian health in danger under Republicans (5/22)
more headlines...

Home | Arts & Entertainment | Business | Canada | Cobell Lawsuit | Education | Environment | Federal Recognition | Federal Register | Forum | Health | Humor | Indian Gaming | Indian Trust | Jack Abramoff Scandal | Jobs & Notices | Law | National | News | Opinion | Politics | Sports | Technology | World

Indianz.Com Terms of Service | Indianz.Com Privacy Policy
About Indianz.Com | Advertise on Indianz.Com

Indianz.Com is a product of Noble Savage Media, LLC and Ho-Chunk, Inc.