As the United States officially celebrates its "discovery" by a disoriented sailor named Columbus, the Green Party's presidential ticket of David Cobb and Pat LaMarche today repeated their call for clemency for Native American leader and political prisoner Leonard Peltier and for the honoring of treaties with Native American nations.
"As a lawyer, I can say with certainty that Leonard Peltier was railroaded. He has been imprisoned since 1976 following a trial which featured perjured testimony, coerced witnesses and the manufacturing of evidence, all before an all-white jury and a problematic judge. The government has since admitted in open court that they can't prove Peltier is guilty of what he was charged with and it has been revealed that the FBI withheld evidence which would prove his innocence. Justice can only be served in this case by the granting of executive clemency," said Cobb.
Peltier's unlawful incarceration is unfortunately only one example of how the U.S. government has systematically preyed on the indigenous people of this continent. The Green Party platform specifically calls for: recognizing the sovereignty of Native American tribal governments; demanding that the U.S. honor its treaty obligations with Native nations; adequately funding innovative economic development initiatives, education and public health programs; and supporting efforts to make the Bureau of Indian Affairs more responsive to tribal governments.
"The indigenous people of the Americas have no reason to celebrate the arrival of the conqueror Columbus. The Native people of this country deserve to have this holiday renamed in their honor," said Pat LaMarche.
LaMarche, who recently completed her two week "Left Out Tour" focusing on people living on the margins of society, noted that many migrant farm workers from Mexico who work in the U.S. are indigenous people.
"Once again, we see indigenous people being shunned and mistreated by a society totally clueless about the wealth of contributions they make," LaMarche concluded.
The roots of American democracy and the structure of our federal union can be traced to the Iroquois nation. In 1775, before the Declaration of Independence, the Continental Congress sent representatives to meet with the Six Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy at Albany, New York and acknowledged that Congress was using parts of the Great Law of the Iroquois in their deliberations. In May, 1776 the Iroquois chiefs camped in the square outside of Independence Hall as Congress moved towards independence and were welcomed by John Hancock. The Iroquois were inspiration for Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Paine and the Articles of Confederation.
For more information about the Cobb-LaMarche campaign, see http://www.votecobb.org. Information about the Green Party can be found at http://www.gp.org.