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"The personal specifics of my life are unimportant.  Being an Indian, that's what's important.My autobiography is the story of my people,    the Indian people of this Great Turtle Island.  My life has meaning  only in relation to them.   It's insignificant in and of itself. Only when I identify with my people do I cease being a mere statistic, a meaningless number, and become a human being.

"American Indians share a magnificent history _ rich in its outstanding  diversity, its integrity, its spirituality, its ongoing unique culture  and dynamic tradition. It's also rich, I am saddened to say, in tragedy,  deceit, and genocide.  Our sovereignty, our nationhood, our very  identity - along with our sacred lands - have been stolen from us in one  of the great thefts of human history.  And I am referring not to just  the thefts of previous centuries but to the great thefts that are being  perpetrated on us today, at this very moment.  Our human rights as indigenous peoples are being violated every day of our lives - and by  the very same people who loudly and sanctimoniously proclaim to other  nations the moral necessity of such rights."

"I know who and what I am. I am an Indian - an Indian who dared to stand up to defend his people. I am an innocent man who never murdered anyone nor ever wanted to. And, yes, I am a Sun Dancer. That, too, is my identity. If I am to suffer as a symbol of my people, then I suffer proudly.

" I will never yield."  

 ---- Lenord Peltier

                                     An Eagle's Cry

                    Listen to me!
                    I am the Indian voice.
                    Hear me crying out of the wind,
                    Hear me crying out of the silence.
                    I am the Indian voice.
                    Listen to me!

                    I speak for our ancestors.
                    They cry out to you from the unstill grave.
                    I speak for the children yet unborn.
                    They cry out to you from the unspoken silence.

                    I am the Indian voice.
                    Listen to me!
                    I am a chorus of millions.
                    Hear us!
                    Our eagle cry will not be stilled!

                    We are your own conscience calling to you.
                    We are you yourself
                    crying unheard within you.

                    Let my unheard voice be heard.
                    Let me speak in my heart and the words be heard
                    whispering on the wind to millions,
                    to all who care,
                    to all with ears to hear
                    and hearts to beat as one
                    with mine.

                    Put your ear to the earth,
                    and hear my heart beating there.
                    Put your ear to the wind and hear me speaking there.

                    We are the voice of the earth,
                    of the future,
                    of the Mystery.

                    Hear us!

Leonard Peltier, Ojibway/Lakota from "Prison Writings: My Life is my  Sun Dance" by Leonard Peltier, Edited by Harvey Arden.

Copyright © Leonard Peltier