March, Rally for Leonard Peltier

As individual fingers we can easily be broken,
but all together we make a mighty fist.

— Sitting Bull

Feb. 4 will be an international day in solidarity with Leonard Peltier, and a Northwest regional march and rally will be held in Tacoma. This march is answering the call by the Leonard Peltier Defense Organizing Committee (LPDOC) for marches and rallies to be held on this day around the world in support of clemency for Peltier.

In 1977, Peltier was convicted and sentenced to two consecutive terms of life in prison for the murder of two Federal Bureau of Investigation agents during a conflict at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. Efforts continue across the country and overseas to have him released on the grounds that he was wrongly convicted and is being held as a political prisoner. Peltier’s saga has served as a focal point of activism ever since his conviction.

Of all the regional marches in Tacoma, 16 since 1992, this is the most important one yet according to organizers. The New Leonard Peltier Clemency Campaign is building and public support is critical.

The march begins at noon – gather at Portland Avenue Park (on Portland Avenue between East 35th and East Fairbanks streets). From there, the march travels through downtown Tacoma for a rally at the U.S. Federal Courthouse, 1717 Pacific Ave.

The rally will be co-emceed by Matilaja, a Yu’Pik Eskimo from Mountain Village Alaska, and member of Northwest American Indian movement since 1973, friend of Peltier for 38 years and member of Tacoma Chapter LPDOC; and Steve Hapy, a longtime Peltier and Native struggles activist and organizer with the Tacoma chapter of LPDOC.

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Additional highlights of the rally:

Drum: Albert Combs and Coastal Hand Drum Singers

Welcoming: Deeahop Conway – Puyallup Tribal member, Tacoma Chapter LPDOC

Peltier’s case and update: Arthur J. Miller, Northwest regional organizer LPDOC, Tacoma Chapter LPDOC, longtime union member and human rights activist

Keynote speaker: Ramona Bennett – Puyallup Tribal elder, lifelong friend of Peltier, grandmother, great-grandmother

Chester Earl: Puyallup Tribal member

Zoltan Grossman: Evergreen State College faculty in geography and Native studies in Olympia; former board member of Midwest Treaty Network in Wisconsin

Closing words: David Duenas, Puyallup Tribal member

Join Tacoma Chapter LPDOC on Facebook at HYPERLINK “http://facebook.com/tacoma.lpdochttp://facebook.com/tacoma.lpdoc. Subscribe to: Northwest Peltier Support at: nwpeltiersupport-subscribe@lists.riseup.net.

For more information, visit www.whoisleonardpeltier.info.

Published in the Tacoma Weekly – Thursday, 26 January 2012

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