The Earth is Weeping
mrgrieves08 | tucson | 06/07/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As you probably already know, this film concerns the blatantly unfair trail and conviction of Leonard Peltier, for the alleged crime of murdering two FBI agents at the Pine Ridge Reservation in 1975. The documentary begins by putting the incident in its proper perspective by showing that the Pine Ridge Reservation, at that time, had one of the highest per capita murder rates in the entire US, with the vast majority of those crimes, even today, still filed as "unsolved" (Check out Ward Churchill's "Indians are Us" and Agents of Repression for a detailed account of the killings in question). In fact, from 1973 to 1976 at least 69 Aim members and supporters were murdered?and not one person was ever convicted, or even investigated, for these brutally horrific crimes. Why were these deaths not investigated you may ask. It is because the victims were primarily American Indians involved with AIM who were actively involved in the struggle to retain the lands lawfully granted to them in the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868 against the federal gov't and the corrupt, unelected BIA administration of Dick Wilson. Many have openly claimed that Wilson and his so-called "goon squad" were responsible for these killings, but no investigation was ever conducted by State law enforcement officials or by the FBI; and yet the incident that led to the shooting that left two agents and one Indian dead, centered around an investigation concerning a pair of STOLEN COWBOY BOOTS. You can draw your own conclusions from that.
Although three men were originally charged with the murder of the agents in a separate trial preceding Peltier?s illegal extradition from Canada, the first two defendants were determined to be not guilty of all charges?their acts viewed as self defense. After this embarrassment the FBI decided that Peltier would be convicted at all costs and set about the task of ?constructing? a case against him. After a trial marred by official perjury, witness intimidation and clearly manufactured evidence, Leonard Peltier alone was convicted, but then, only after the original judge was inexplicably removed from the case and replaced with one "friendly" to the FBI by a prejudiced jury of his ?white? peers. This film shows the disturbing details surrounding how Peltier was ultimately convicted by this court presided over by an obviously prejudiced judge and jury on what amounts to a mountain of manufactured evidence, witness tampering, and lies.
As the film and the FBI's own evidence shows there is absolutely no proof that has not been exposed as fraud, that links Peltier to the murder weapon or the red van (Peltier drove a pickup truck) that the agents reportedly followed onto the reservation. The FBI goes so far as to argue that ?people in this part of the country call a pickup truck a van and vice versa??to explain just one glaring inconsistency in the government?s case. The FBI's own statements are filled with inconsistencies and outright falsehoods, which resulted in the Federal Judge Edward McManus of the first trial harshly rebuking them for their shameful, reckless and unlawful behavior. In the video the FBI spokesman's dishonesty is clearly, if not painfully, apparent. Simply watch this video and decide for yourself. You will be surprised and certainly appalled by what you see.
?Incident at Oglala? is a vitally important document detailing a form of repression and cultural genocide that has continued, although in differing forms, since the arrival of Columbus, against Native Americans. The Dali Lama, Nelson Mandela, Bishop Desmond Tutu, The European Parliament and Amnesty International have all urged that executive Clemency be granted to Peltier based on the facts of this case and the massive miscarriage of justice that it represents. This important film is a must see for anyone who cares about the ideals of freedom and justice in this country and the shameful realities that, all too often, hide behind those noble-sounding terms. For as long as men like Leonard Peltier and Mumia Abul-Jamal remain imprisoned, none of us are completely safe from the same treatment.
An absolute, must-see!
zarings3 | 07/04/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I knew little about Leonard Peltier's situation which is why I wanted to watch this documentary. I can not believe this man is still in jail, over 20 years later. His situation is a perfect example of a government who would do what is necessary to "solve" a murder. Never mind that the case had a million holes in it that were never answered. This is the kind of thing that is not supposed to happen in America (event though it does all the time). This should be required viewing for every person in America (the land of the free!)."
Leonard Peltier is Innocent!!!
Samantha M. Peterson | Dunellen, NJ United States | 05/23/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This documentary makes it painfully obvious how weak the government's case against Leonard Peltier really is. The fact that he was actually convicted scares me to death! Despite the fact that it was a tragedy that those two agents died that day, they had to have known the risk they were taking by storming onto a reservation, where the people lived in fear everyday that they could be killed. Regardless of what actually happened that day, and who was reponsible for those deaths, the fact of the matter is that the way the prosecution handled their case against Peltier, and the resulting conviction is a travesty of justice! Just about every claim, or piece of evidence mentioned by a government representative interviewed for this documentary was disproved by the defense, or even just plain fact. Reasonable doubt is an understatement here. And what about the fact that no one was ever tried for the death of Joe Stuntz? The government was so outraged that two of their agents had been killed, but they forgot that they are also sworn to defend and protect the residents of the Indian reservations as well! This documentary will be hard to watch, and it will make you angry that something like this can happen in the "Land of the Free", but as Americans, it is our duty to act on behalf of our fellow Americans when they are victimized in this way."
Something to Learn About Today
Betsy | Greensboro, NC | 01/21/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Recently, I had the opportunity to give a short presentation in one of my English classes at Guilford College. The focus of my presentation was "Prison Writings, My Life is a Sun Dance, by Leonard Peltier. I am sad to report that not one student in the room knew who Leonard Peltier is. This is a class that is for continuing education adult students, ages 24 and up. I think it is important for all of the citizens of the United States of American to know who Leonard Peltier is, especially in the New World, post 9/11. I think it is important for us to ask ourselves this; is it possible that our government is capable of what the Indians have been saying that they are capable of for a very long time? If you think that these are important issues, I urge you to watch this documentary, and to read books by Leonard Peltier, and others who were part of the movement. Look at the history of AIM, and the people who were there and lived their lives in the midst of what was going on in the Pine Ridge Reservation in 1975. All you have to do is Google Leonard Petier and you will see that there is an enormous amount of information out there; including the FBI web page that states their case in the deaths of FBI agents Coler and Williams. I strongly urge you to review the evidence from both sides. It may seem like an over whelming task, and it is. Leonard Peltier has been in prison for 30 years now and I'm not sure that we really know exactly what happened that day on June 26, 1975 at the Jumping Bull camp. More recently, one of the murders of Anna Mae Aquash Pictou has been sent to prison and another has the US pursuing extradition from Canada. There have been aqusations among AIM members, and sad days for the Indian communities. But to me, the bottom line is this; there was a lot going on in Indian Country, particularly on the Pine Ridge Reservation, in the 1970's. There is no doubt in my mind that there was deep government corruption involved, and it continues today, just as Jack Abramoff has just demonstrated. We need to take a much closer look at the FBI's involvement of the Jumping Bull incident, the GOON squads that held the Pine Ridge residents in a state of fear, and the tactics used by the FBI to obtain Leonard Peltier's extradition from Canada. The evidence, or sometimes the lack there of, speaks volumes. It's worth looking into in these days of Homeland Security. I believe that Russell Means said it best went talking about US Indian Policy. To summarize it, he said that the US government has taken what they learned through following Indian Policy and are now applying it to the American people. Look at these things, and think long and hard about them. Perception changes as so many years pass and things change. It is what we have learned from the past that teaches us how to protect that which we love today."