Leonard Peltier, to some, is the country’s most unjustly convicted political prisoner. To others, he’s a cop killer who should never again see the light of day.
Either way, nearly four decades after his conviction for killing two FBI agents in a 1975 shootout on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, Peltier remains incarcerated at a federal maximum-security prison in Florida.
Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush both denied Peltier’s applicants for grants of clemency. Barring that action from President Obama, the 70-year-old Indian activist and self-taught, prolific prison artist is likely to die behind bars.
Chauncey Peltier, 49, a life-long Oregon resident and Leonard Peltier’s oldest son, is fighting to make sure that doesn’t happen.
Long reluctant, on the advice of his father, to get involved in the “political stuff,” the younger Peltier has just taken over as interim head of the [International Leonard Peltier Defense Committee – the most prominent of several international groups advocating for Peltier’s release.
The committee is trying to generate a worldwide push for clemency, as well as carrying on an informational campaign rooted in the notion that Leonard Peltier was wrongly convicted.
“Now matter how someone looks at my dad’s case, it’s clear that he’s served more than enough time,” said Peltier, who grew up in the Hillsboro area and now lives in Banks. “It’s time to set him free.”
Visit CL Peltier Art Gallery at www.peltierart.com.