On June 26, 1975, two FBI agents entered the Jumping Bull Ranch. A shootout left them both dead. Leonard Peltier won’t qualify for a parole hearing until 2024. He is presumed innocent.
The controversial miscarriage of justice has had repercussions right up to Presidential level. When Bill Clinton decided not to give a pardon to Peltier but instead pardoned the fugitive billionare racketeer Mark Rich, Hillary Clinton’s supporter David Geffen shifted his favour to back Barack Obama in the presidential race.
The documentary (see embedded video above) Incident at Oglala, narrated by Robert Redford, examines the case as does Democracy Now in this segment which includes a short interview with Bill Clinton.
Juan Gonzalez of Democracy Now explains:
“The shootout occurred two years after the American Indian Movement (AIM) occupied the village of Wounded Knee for 71 days. The occupation of Wounded Knee is considered the beginning of what Oglala people refer to as the “Reign of Terror.” During that time, some 64 local Native Americans were murdered. Most of them had ties to AIM. Their deaths went uninvestigated by the FBI.”
The Leonard Peltier site has more information here. Peltier is very much a cause célèbre with his case highlighted by everyone from Rage Against the Machine, U2 and Pete Seeger to Vivienne Westwood.
He even stood for Presidential office in 2004, receiving 27,000 votes in California – the only ward to allow his nomination.