Toronto vigil to remember that, as of February 6, 2013, Leonard Peltier will have unjustly spent a total of 13,505 days in some of the worst prisons in the U.S.
Toronto (06 Feb. 2013) - The 20th Annual Traditional Prayer Vigil and Feast for Leonard Peltier is being held on February 6 in Toronto. The vigil commemorates the date of his arrest in Canada on this date in 1976.
This year, the vigil recognizes and acts in solidarity with the IDLE NO MORE movement. In light of the continued efforts of community members to protect Indigenous rights and the Land, Elders and speakers will offer prayers and raise awareness of the common struggles during Peltier's time with today's issues.
The people who demanded change in the 1960s and 1970s share the same strong spirit as those who continue to do so in the grassroots movement today.
Supporters in the United States have seen an increase in efforts to win Peltier's release on compassionate grounds.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) was one of the organizations campaigning to have President Clinton grant Peltier a pardon in the final days of his administration.
This years vigil guests include:
- Howard Elijah (Oneida), vigil Elder;
- Paulette D'Autueil, director of the International/U.S. LPDOC, and long-time advocate for justice for political prisoners. Paulette will give an update on Leonard's health and the latest efforts for his release;
- Mike Kuzma, Peltier's attorney and an expert on FBI FOIA documents;
- Frank Dreaver, Plains Cree from Mistawasis FN, Treaty 6 and long-time spokesperson in Canada with the Canadian LPDCC defense;
- Lee Maracle, Sto:Loh Nation, author, grandmother and mentor at First Nations House, University of Toronto;
- Greg Dreaver, Indigenous Nationhood Movement and
- Chippewa Travellers, Aniishinaabeg Family Drum and Singers (Neyaashingaming First Nation).
This day is seen as an opportunity to raise consciousness on Peltier's ongoing political imprisonment, representative of the injustices still present in the U.S. and Canada.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE