I’ve been a supporter of Leonard Peltier for many years now. He has been in prison in the United States for 35 years, more than half his life, as a result of a trial based on a flawed and dishonest case full of perjured testimony and false evidence given by the FBI.
Leonard is a Native American activist, considered by Amnesty International and many others to be a prisoner of conscience. You can find out the details of the case and his present situation on http://www.whoisleonardpeltier.info/.
I’ve got to know Leonard through a long exchange of letters and books and thought our new website would be a great place to make some of this public – and give you some insight into a very special character.
Here are the first of the letters which Leonard has now agreed to share with you. Although both our letters are written by hand, we’ve decided to type them so they can be read more easily.
4 August 2010
Dear Miss Vivienne!
As always it is great hearing from you. Hey I was just being honest; it is exciting to receive your letters, being as I find you a brilliant unique lady!
Before I forget, “Yes” I did receive the books you sent, quite some time ago it seems, I just did not know who sent them, they are very expensive books I might add, especially the Rembrandt book!! Thank you. Although they are great books I must admit I did read them before, we studies Rembrandt in College. I attended St. Mary’s College, took Prison Course (5) when I was at LVN (Leavenworth USP), but now I have my own copies for my Private Collection…Again, thank you very much as I did enjoy them again.
I do understand the Humanist theory, and more and more all the time as I age…And I also believe very strongly we earth people are not alone in the many vast universe(s). I also understand life comes in many different forms, as science is proving I might add! Some life is completely invisible to the naked eye! But to answer your question, Yes I’d love to work with you, on one condition! That you will guide me and help me to write things!! Or correct me and edit me I meant! And you’re welcome to quote me!
One of my first cousins is coming to visit this weekend. I have not seen him in over 40 years that I can remember. This is going to be cool I am sure. The two days we are allowed will be filled with question after question! Our mothers were sisters, both deceased now. I am awaiting approval for one of my grandsons to visit. He will bring one of my great grandsons – I have 11 great grandchildren so far. The sad part is that I have not seen any of them. I’m too far from home!
It’s a cloudy day here so it is a little cooler but humid as hell! I believe we are going to have a mild winter here in the USA, maybe not as some years when the summer was hot but we had a very cold winter.
9 November 2010
It is more than 2 months since I wrote to you. I spent all my spare time in August re-writing my manifesto. August is the one quiet time in the fashion business and I was waiting for a block of time to write. So I kept my head down and did just that. I think my manifesto is now clearer and more profound. It is still not finished – you know it is only 20 little pages – but I have nailed it and I know how to finish it. I need about 3 more days to do it. Anyway I really am pleased with it. But it was surreal it took so long – I really think it took between 600 and 700 hours – you know when you count the days and writing 8 or 10 hours a day. One interesting thing is that you form the ideas by the actual writing; you think you know what you want to say and then you realize there is more to it and by re-thinking the idea starts to ‘come’ because you are trying to find a way to communicate. (I say ‘come’ because the idea seems to have a life of its own).
For the last month I have been trying to re-launch my website – collecting all the ideas and the manifesto is the focus of the website. The website has to connect with what I am trying to do re STOP climate change but the Manifesto is really the centre of this. The Manifesto is about the fact that we are dangerously without culture and how to GET culture – through art of course and the way it connects with STOP climate change is – we are an endangered species. How do you ‘Get a Life’ for future generations (instead of mass deaths) and what about your life now? How do you ‘Get a Life’ now? (Ans. Culture).
Leonard it sounds boring when I just try to sum it up but it really is exciting. I will let you know all about it and send you the finished! Manifesto. The name of the TV programme I want to do would be called ‘Get a Life’.
Dear Leonard, for days, at least for the last 3 weeks I have thought of you because I wanted so much to write to you. Just shows you how busy (but not always) I am. (We did a super fashion show and collection – I will send you pictures.) There is no excuse except that you need a bit of mental space before you sit down to write a letter and when I get home at night even then it doesn’t seem possible after I’ve cooked and eaten – together with my husband.
Very important. Thank you so much for your letter. I’m re-launching my website now. And I will put in the space we keep for you all the lovely things you say about your life, e.g. people will be so interested about your cousin coming. It is all these ordinary things we all experience but people will imagine themselves in your shoes and get a real idea of the importance of your life and what is important to you.
Leonard, did you receive ‘1984’ and ‘Brave New World’? I want to tell you why I think they’re so important. Did I tell you that I consider them to be the most important books in English in the 20th century? ’1984’ is about Power for the Sake of Power, ‘Brave New World’ is about Organization for the sake of Organization. We could put our comments on the website ‘Get a Life’.
Let me know as urgently as possible. And let me know about your cousin’s visit and good luck seeing your grandson.