Pardon Leonard Peltier Now
I went to a talk he gave at a campus church in the 1990s. Afterwards there was a reception at the Memorial Union. In the walk to the Union I got to talk with him a bit. He was very gracious, down to earth, engaging.PBS's NewsHour had a nice remembrance today.
The subject of his talk was the imprisonment of Native activist Leonard Peltier. It was my introduction to Madison's posturing "left." Instead of asking questions or contributing to the conversation, one person after another stood up to brag about how "I was there when...!" or "I'm the editor of the Progressive, and...!" or some such. It was pretty incredible - a one-upping fest.
Matthiessen handled it deftly and with mirth, but he eventually tired of the onslaught. He finally had said all he had to say, and ended the contest. He was focused on his purpose for being there - to talk about the imprisonment of Leonard Peltier and the context in which it took place. Having accomplished that, he called it a night and left.
R.I.P. We cherish these examples of how to live our lives. If we're lucky we can pass it on to others.
Maybe as a tribute to Matthiessen the president could give Leonard Peltier a pardon. Actions speak louder than apologies. Here's a hashtag: #PardonLeonardPeltierNow.
For an explanation of why Leonard Peltier should be pardoned, click here.
You can sign a petition to pardon Leonard Peltier here.
Robert Redford is also campaigning for a pardon for Leonard Peltier.
The title of Peter Matthiessen's book about Leonard Peltier is In the Spirit of Crazy Horse.
In Open Salon you can read Heidi Herron's story about Leonard Peltier.
Here's a song by Leonard Peltier's friend and colleague John Trudell.
This is from Brewer and Shipley. Here's the original Jim Pepper version.
Here's some Native music.
Here's Johnny Cash singing the Ballad of Ira Hayes.
Here's an album with Native flute player R. Carlos Nakai. Playing with him is Nawang Khechog, a Tibetan flute and didgeridoo player. I worked with him at the Omega Institute in 1993. When he came to Madison a few years later he arranged an introduction to the Dalai Lama's friend and teacher Geshe Sopa at nearby Deer Park Monastery. I still have the piece of PVC pipe he gave me in a didgeridoo class he taught at Omega. Unfortunately, it's too late in the game for me to try to play again. Circular breathing would probably result in no breathing.
Here's an interview with Geshe Sopa.
NPR did an interview yesterday with a woman who was sexually assaulted at Amherst College and has gone public with her story. I posted this comment, and a few others in response to some dumb other comments. It led to another comment in the Harvard Crimson.
R.I.P. also to Mickey Rooney. He wasn't exactly my all-time favorite actor, but he had his moments, especially The Black Stallion. He was a trooper, acting until his death. His last movie, Night at the Museum 3, will be out this year.