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Calls for Freedom for Leonard Peltier in Pittsburgh

A cross-country effort to bring attention to the injustice that has been imposed on a Native American leader since the 1970's was brought to Pittsburgh this past Friday.

  On October 10 Stephanie Hedgecoke reported on the online site Worker's World "Longtime political prisoner Leonard Peltier's 'Walk to Justice' has marched 500 miles in four weeks, as of Indigenous Peoples Day Oct. 10, in a 2½-month demonstration, putting pressure on President Joe Biden to grant executive clemency and release Peltier after 46 years in prison."

The walkers expect to arrive in Washington DC in early November. 

On October 28 the caravan reached Pittsburgh, PA.

An outdoor gathering was convened at Schenley Plaza in the Oakland neighborhood of the city.

The walk is a multi-month prayer sponsored by the AMERICAN INDIAN MOVEMENT

The AIM representative in Pittsburgh, Dereck Schuck organized the local activities here.

There were a number of members of our local Council Of Three Rivers American Indian Center present at the event. A powerful offering of songs was offered by Native singers at the sacred drum which included our own Michael Simms, son of Indian Center excecutive director, Russell Simms and organizer of our annual pow wow.

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Comment by Miguel Sague Jr on October 30, 2022 at 12:46pm

Hahom to you sister. Never feel reluctant to express your opinion to me here in a respectful manner. I am willing to entertain your comment with my own opinion, which may or may not be right. I am only a human being. I can only express what I believe as well as I can. Seneko Kakona (abundant blessings) and much respect to you. 

Comment by Michelle Inarú Ropará on October 29, 2022 at 9:14pm

Hahom, my brother.  I really appreciate this answer, and I appreciate you taking the historical misogyny into account.  I feel a lot better now.  Taino ti

Comment by Miguel Sague Jr on October 29, 2022 at 6:28pm

I am acquainted with the case of Anna Mae Aquash and I know the severe damage that this terrible event did to the reputation of the American Indian Movement. I am also aware that over the years AIM has evolved and that some members of AIM have owned up to this shameful chapter of the community's history. In the meantime the American Indian Movement has accomplished a great deal in its general mission of bringing justice to Native people of this country. Nobody can erase the bad things that were done, however when I participate in the current activities of AIM in the present day and I see the many women in power and the many women in charge I am convinced that things truly have changed. Many of the older men who are believed to have been associated with the misogyny of the past have either passed away and been replaced with more enlightened successors, or if still alive have been replaced in their positions of authority by a younger and more aware generation of men and women. I think that to completely turn our back on AIM today for the errors of the past is to throw the baby out with the bath water. 

Comment by Michelle Inarú Ropará on October 29, 2022 at 12:56pm

Greetings and respect, my brother.  I understand that this will not be a popular opinion here, which is why I chose not to share it on FB.  If you haven't listened to Anna Mae Aquash's daughter Denise speak about her family's experience, please do.  If you haven't listened to the women who were formerly associated with AIM speak about the men's behavior, please do.

Denise Pictou Maloney has this to say: "34 years of listening to people tell lies and point fingers...about taboo issues like violence against women and violence within our communities.  That seems to be something that people are not willing to point fingers at family members and community members.  I think my mother's case sends a very loud message to our communities and those people that have that mindset that under no circumstances does the protection of The Brotherhood ever out-trump the murder of a human being, and in this case, one of their own and a woman.  That send a very loud message, I think, to Indian Country for people to understand that...Those involved in my mother's murder chose to protect The Brotherhood...they were trying to protect the movement, and yet, in our eyes, the message that they send to us is that our mother's life had no value when it was compared to the protection of The Brotherhood...Leonard warned us to be careful not to become pawns in the FBI's conspiracy to bring down AIM and to keep him incarcerated...we asked him specifically if he had any opportunity to help us...and we received another letter back stating that he would not participate in incarcerating another Indian man."

Here's what I get from this: Anna Mae Aquash was an activist and a mother.  She wanted to fight for Indigenous rights.  Instead, she was scapegoated, raped, and executed.  This was covered up.  50 years later, there's still no straight answer.  An African American friend of mine has observed that the goal of Civil Rights, in the minds of many black men, is to remove the white man as ruler and to replace him with the black man.  Women are still subjugated.

It seems these AIM men couldn't care less about the rape and execution of a sister, a fellow human being.

I am Indigenous.  But I am a woman first.  Before anything.  I know the same could happen to me.  I feel like I'm putting myself in the way of trouble by writing out my opinion, and by all means, I'm not telling anyone how to feel.  I'm only expressing how I'm feeling.

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