Important Message from the Official Leonard Peltier Ad Hoc Committee
Sunday, August 20, 2023
Greetings from the International Leonard Peltier Ad Hoc Committee (Ad Hoc Committee). In defense of the Ad Hoc Committee, I want to say that most recently, Jean Roach, representing the group that has taken over the International Leonard Peltier Defense Committee (ILPDC), put out a statement accusing people of the Ad Hoc Committee of working with the federal government. I want to unequivocally state that is not true, and it is definitely counterproductive to the potential freedom of Leonard Peltier. Jean also made the statement that we were controlling Leonard Peltier’s thoughts, which is unequivocally not true as well. However, I do want to point out that in what she said, Jean basically acknowledges that we are in fact working directly with Leonard Peltier and she is not, nor is her ILPDC.
Leonard over the past year has told Jean and her entourage of partners that he did not want them to represent him any longer because they were misusing funds, having pot parties, and drinking, and basically supporters had seen them advertising their parties on their personal Facebook pages, especially Jean Roach. It is with deepest regret that I have to talk about these issues at a time when a man’s freedom is at stake and when every political opinion for his release is needed and is at stake.
In Jean’s statement, she also named off numerous accomplishments of the ILPDC, and while the accomplishments she mentioned were brought about, it was not by her but by members of the ILPDC over time. What Jean has done is go to places where Leonard Peltier has supporters already, gather up a group, do a photo op, collect money, and go smoke some marijuana, and quite often, brag about it on social media. This is counterproductive to support for Leonard and we have lost many supporters as a result of it. And she talks about calling people feds. The most noteworthy thing she has done since being involved with the ILPDC, is getting her sister released from federal prison, and since then she has done things that neutralized the efforts of the ILPDC and neutralized long-term supporters at times. And that is what she’s trying to do now.
This is the first time I have publicly spoken on this level about this particular issue. I myself have been called such names in the past, as well as probably every AIM leader and organizer that has done anything that is recognizable or noteworthy. And it’s the same with other organizations and individuals who are standing up for human and Indigenous rights all over the world – the enemy does its best to neutralize people. The most common thing I have noticed in human rights movements is that people who have made accusations about others, calling them informants or operatives, have had charges against themselves connected to drugs or other issues.
I have repeatedly said this over the years: we can fight amongst ourselves, with each other, when we run out of oppressors. And that has not happened yet. It probably won’t happen in our lifetimes. Every person that is willing to stand up and speak out is needed. Every person that stands up and speaks out for what is right needs a clear mind and clear thoughts. Every person who stands up and speaks out needs the trust and confidence of supporters. Every person that stands up and speaks out needs their level of integrity to be in place, even when no one is looking.
Leonard Peltier asked the people of the Ad Hoc Committee to form, and he personally selected each person for their abilities and past work. I myself have worked as an Interim Director five different times; each time Leonard would ask me to come aboard when he was having difficulties, and this time is no different. Over the last 47 years, we’ve come up against many difficulties and that is because we face the most powerful police force and powerful government in the world. And when I say “we” it is not the ILPDC of the past or the Ad Hoc Committee we have today that I speak of, but it is about Native people. Native people who have had to work together over generations from the past to now, to protect their resources. Today, Native people face an enemy that is just as deadly and divisive as the ones our ancestors faced, and we cannot afford to lose because our very environment is at risk today.
One of the things that makes Leonard Peltier’s case so different from others is that every piece of evidence used to convict him has been proven false in court, and his imprisonment affects the lives of every American citizen. He has consistently put forth environmental justice and human rights values with his case. He has encouraged people to stand strong for these values. He’s encouraged people to plant trees for the children of our future, the air of our future, and the soil of the future. He’s consistently encouraged people to put together programs for children at Christmas time and wintertime, and to create programs including clothing and propane donations to keep the elderly and other community members warm for the winter. And when someone comes along and uses his name to party, he becomes very incensed by that, as it challenges his values. And he has consistently told Jean to keep his name out of her mouth. And she has responded in the most negative sense, in such a way that I won’t even repeat here.
The objective of the legal team is not only to get him free, and in the meantime, to get him transferred to a lower security place so that as an elder he can have access to better care and treatment while awaiting his release, but also Leonard is very adamant about wanting to get back his name as the International Leonard Peltier Defense Committee. At present the ad hoc committee has an attorney who is working with other lawyers and members of a legal team on measures that will bring about his release.
And again, I want to reiterate Leonard’s words: do not send any money to the ILPDC because it does not represent him and it is not helping him. They’re using him to party. It’s a case of singing to the choir, collecting money, and taking credit for work other people are doing now and did in the past.
With the posting of this statement, I have no doubt that it will generate another tirade of negative accusations and unfounded name calling. I would encourage you, if you have any doubts to the truthfulness of my words, to contact Leonard Peltier yourself. He is of sound mind, though he does have some health issues. You can write to him here:
Leonard Peltier #89637-132, USP Coleman 1, P.O. Box 1033, Coleman, FL 33521-1033
With respect to hearing accusations, which, without proof are just unfounded rumors, I would like to encourage you, if it causes you to doubt in some way, to do your own research about the accusations, and also research the person who made the accusations to find out what their motive is.
This has been one of my most difficult writings I have made in the movement. And I look forward to the time when we can all be on the same page as supporters of one another.
In the spirit of all those, down through the ages, who have stood for what was right and did their best to right what was wrong,
David Hill, Choctaw
Interim Director of the International Leonard Peltier Ad Hoc Committee