July 5, 2005

For more Info:
Lakota Student Alliance
PO Box 225
Kyle, SD 57752

Press Statement

Kyle SD--First of all, the Lakota Student Alliance would like to thank AIM Political Prisoner Leonard Peltier for allowing us to be actively involved in his campaign for freedom. The struggle for Leonard Peltier's release is very important to the World as well as the Great Sioux Nation. The circumstances which convicted him and the ongoing efforts to keep him jailed are cause for concern, as well as his failing health. We must never forget Leonard in our hearts, unless we want these same circumstances to repeat.

The Lakota Student Alliance would like to thank the various performers and guest speakers of the Oglala Commemoration Event. Your generosity and dedication to a very important Lakota issue is truly an inspiration to those of us having to live a daily struggle on this Reservation. We thank the sponsors to this event who have constantly supported the LSA security and the LSA coordination. We wish to thank all of those involved with the annual Oglala Commemoration Event—held on the anniversary of the shootout at Jumping Bulls property in 1975 including the families of [deceased] Wallace Little Sr & Jr, Joseph Stuntz, Harry and Cecelia Jumping Bull, William Good Voice Elk Sr. We thank the American Indian Movement, the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee, all Peltier support groups, and the Lakota Oyate.

However, we must regretfully state to all involved with this event, that the Lakota Student Alliance must now withdraw our participation as coordinators, directors, and members of a committee that conducts activities on the June 26th annual event. Our resignation from involvement in this annual event does not necessarily mean that the LSA will cease in our efforts to assist with Leonard Peltier's freedom. We are simply moving on from this day forward.

The LSA started this event in June 2000 with the help of the LPDC and Andy Mader, then of the Arizona AIM chapter. On this journey we met wonderful people such as Lisa Reinhold, Ann Wayquay Scopetti, Barry and Gina Landeros-Thomas. Of course we already knew our elder Grandma Rosalyn Jumping Bull from our younger years and previous gatherings. These people have generously donated a great deal of their time and talent to assist with this event.

The initial Idea of the LSA effort at Leonard's freedom was to form a committee—as an organized effort—to tell the story of contemporary history, to the future leaders of this Lakota Nation. It is our hope that the wounds from the 70s Reign of Terror on Pine Ridge suffered by our people, deceased and living, would lead to healing. We felt that a history similar to the 70s era, which many of us had endured and survived must never be repeated again. With a healing, we as a unified Lakota nation, would be stronger to pursue the restoration of the Sacred Black Hills (He Sapa) to the Great Sioux Nation. As a unified nation, together we would be better equipped to stop the ongoing assaults against our people by the oppressive state. So that the many issues we face daily, could be properly addressed and healed in a sacred manner.

As children, we were witness to an undeclared civil war on our lands. We later learned that those traumatic experiences were initiated by United States govt agents, bureaucrats, and policy makers. We witnessed many brutal assaults against our parents, brothers, sisters, grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles, from GOONs and often WASICU in the bordertowns. We know what War is, which is why we understand the necessity for peace and solidarity.

The issues of Leonards freedom, of the Pine Ridge Reign of Terror, the unresolved casualties, are paramount to understanding the sacrifices already made by many. Leonard Peltier is a living casualty. His confinement in a small square cell is what many younger Lakota people have been made to feel. Peltier can attest to this growing epidemic when he refers to US prisons as the “the fastest growing Indian Reservations in America.” His personal health and wellness is a major concern for those not with him daily. When “disruptions” occur within his struggle to be free, it affects him in many ways that we don't think about.  Disruptions and animosity within his support movement adds to his living casualty. There is great disharmony when the animosities intensify.  When we as coordinators, begin to feel responsible for failing to keep the harmony while Leonard cannot, we experience a continuous downward spiral.

We must remember our Lakota oral histories and traditions which urge us into being the protectors and not the disrupters. As organizers within the larger matrix, we see our people continuing the oral histories, as well as the harmony.  But things get messy as usual. Disruption and disharmony find a way in, as most organizers can relate. We cannot be involved in that mess.  We blame ourselves for any inconsistencies or unpredictable circumstances which may have offended any of our associates. We ask anybody who may have been offended to accept our apologies.

With this conclusion, we humbly offer our withdrawal from the annual event. We reaffirm our commitment to the freedom of Leonard Peltier and justice for the Reign of Terror.

PS: On this sad day we also wish to offer our condolences to the family of grandpa Calvin Jumping Bull, Rosalyns brother. Calvin passed away on July 1. He dedicated himself to helping the younger Lakota generations to be proud of speaking their indigenous Lakota Language. He was an instructor to many of the LSA members. He will be remembered and missed by many.
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