Since his imprisonment began in 1976, Leonard Peltier has depended most on the written word to communicate with family, friends, and supporters. In this way, he records his thoughts, concerns, and emotions; and discusses Native issues, American and international politics, and strategies to win his freedom. Over the years, he has honed his writing skills and developed a unique style. Although he has evolved as a writer, Leonard Peltier has not lost his “voice”—or his passion for freedom and the survival of his People.

Leonard often writes articles for publication. The topics vary, but usually touch on his life experiences, current events or trends of most concern to him and, of course, the specifics of his case.

My Life is My Sun Dance

In 1999, Leonard Peltier’s memoir was published—”Prison Writings: My Life Is My Sun Dance” (St. Martin’s Press).

The work received wide acclaim and attracted the attention of luminaries such as Britain’s Queen Elizabeth. As a result, the European Parliament approved a resolution calling for Peltier to be freed and France’s former First Lady Danielle Mitterand—president of the French human rights organization, France Libertés—also called for the release of Leonard Peltier.

Editor Harvey Arden said, “Leonard Peltier’s powerful memoir, a Native American spiritual testament, will shake the conscience of the nation… and the world. It’s a flaming arrow aimed at the circled wagons of American injustice.”

Archbishop Desmond Tutu calls it: “A deeply moving and very disturbing story of a gross miscarriage of justice and an eloquent “cri de coeur” of Native Americans for redress and to be regarded as human beings with inalienable rights guaranteed under the United States Constitution… We pray that it does not fall on deaf ears. America owes it to herself.”

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Prison Writings: My Life Is My Sun Dance


Leonard Peltier