Mr. Leonard Peltier was arrested in Canada on February 6,1976. He was extradited from Canada in December of the same year on the basis of a false affidavit signed by Myrtle Poor Bear, a Native American woman known to have serious mental health problems.
In fact, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) produced more than one false affidavit.
Affidavit 1, dated February 19, 1976
Here, Special Agents David Price and William Wood had Myrtle Poor Bear recount how it was she who overheard the planning of the Northwest AIM group to lure Special Agents Coler and Williams to their deaths in an ambush. There was no claim Poor Bear witnessed the shoot-out, but that she heard Leonard Peltier order the agents killed beforehand, and that he later “confessed to her.”
Affidavit 2, dated February 23, 1976
With this affidavit, Price and Wood had Poor Bear present herself as being Peltier’s “girl friend,” and as overhearing planning for an ambush. However, with this affidavit, Poor Bear was presented as having witnessed Peltier killing the agents. Details on an escape route apparently were designed to explain away the Bureau’s embarrassing inability to apprehend suspects at the scene of the shoot-out. The method of killing coincidentally corresponded to the FBI’s contrived “execution” scenario.
Affidavit 3, dated March 31, 1976
This affidavit was eventually submitted to the Canadian courts. Here, the agents totally abandoned the notion of Poor Bear’s having overheard planning for an ambush. Instead they have her provide considerable detail as an “eyewitness.” Any alleged confession on the part of Leonard Peltier was not included.
Leonard Peltier was extradited from Canada to the United States. Today, the government concedes that, in fact, Myrtle Poor Bear did not know Leonard Peltier, nor was she present at the time of the shooting. She later confessed she had given false statements after being pressured and terrorized by FBI agents. Myrtle Poor Bear sought to testify in this regard at Leonard Peltier’s trial. However, the judge barred her testimony on the grounds of mental incompetence. In addition to being a violation of Leonard Peltier’s rights, the United States government committed fraud on the court during the extradition proceedings and violated the sovereignty of Canada. The U.S. government has made no attempt to correct this wrong and, to date, the illegal extradition has not been corrected by the Canadian Court.