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Peltier, Leonard (b. 1944)

Heather Squire


Leonard Peltier is an American Indian Movement (AIM) activist who was sentenced to two consecutive life sentences for the alleged murder of two FBI agents in 1975. During and since the trial, a number of inconsistencies in testimony and evidence have come to light; however, Leonard Peltier remains in prison as of 2008. Peltier is considered a political prisoner by Amnesty International, the National Congress of American Indians, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and other national and international groups. Peltier was born in Grand Forks, North Dakota in September 1944. When he was 4 he went to live on Turtle Mountain Reservation in Belcourt, North Dakota with his grandparents. He spent his early years at Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) schools and attended his first political meeting in 1958 regarding the BIA's plans to “terminate” Turtle Mountain Reservation. Inspired by the Alcatraz occupation and other actions, Peltier continued to become more politicized about the plight of Native Americans in the US, and finally joined AIM in 1972. Peltier went on to join AIM's “Trail of Broken Treaties” caravan to Washington, DC, and would end up spending five months in jail soon after for alleged attempted murder after an altercation with police. Those charges were dropped in 1978. After the 1973 Wounded Knee siege that was planned by fellow AIM activists, a paramilitary group ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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