“I am very hopeful and will raise my voice in any way.” Robert Redford
The above statement by Redford in 2014 related to clemency for Leonard Peltier.
I am an advocate for raising one’s voice, in taking a stand, but I also believe in doing so it should be for valid reasons.
The media characterized this statement along with others made by Redford in an op ed as a renewal of commitment – but I question such a commitment when it fails to acknowledge additional issues surrounding Peltier and incriminating statements made by Peltier himself over the years.
In Redford’s “documentary” titled Incident at Oglala much was made in part of “conspiracies” and the now infamous Mr.X – both presented as fact, and yet the years have shown X was an outright fabrication.
A fabrication perpetuated both by Redford’s unwillingness to address it and Peltier’s historical references to the “truth” of X and what a standup “brother” he was.
If in fact X did exist, which former Peltier attorney Kuzma publicly admitted he did not, the question could only arise how could a stand up brother allow a person who is “innocent” to remain imprisoned and do the time for them?
Then there’s the story about a warrant for Jimmy Eagle that led to agents Williams and Coler being on the rez that was about the theft of an “old pair of boots” as though the feds have jurisdiction over what would amount to a misdemeanor or low grade felony when they did not.
Indeed a pair of boots was stolen, but the warrant was about much more than that, it was about assault and unlawful detention among other things.
I don’t believe Redford has ever addressed the Peltier at gunpoint interrogation of Annie Mae Pictou Aquash or the high probably of her murder being related to Peltier’s boasting in front of her that he had indeed executed at close range at least one of the agents.
No mention was made either of the Wisconsin warrant for Peltier I am convinced led Peltier to believe when Williams and Coler showed up they were after him and precipitated their murder, certainly such things as mentioned would be germane to character and the events that followed.
Nothing, not a single shred of evidence has ever emerged either they or the feds were aware of Peltier’s presence.
If Redford sees himself as a documentarian an obvious subject would be the murder of Annie, Perry Ray Robinson jr. or the destruction of WK2 – but then such a documentary would seriously devalue his previous effort and raise a lot questions.
Peltier isn’t the victim in all this, the survivors of his victims are as are the survivors of AIM’s many victims like Annie’s family and daughters Denise and Debbie who inherited their mother’s warrior spirit and fight on.
In a very real sense Peltier has made victims of his own family in no less a way than AIM has victimized the nations.
It would be one thing if Redford or other Peltier supporters acknowledged the discrepancies in the midst of their support, failing to do so could easily be interpreted as indifference, or an effort to save face.
If the latter, better I think to maintain the distance and silence.