Cambridge Encyclopedia » Cambridge Encyclopedia Vol. 45

Leonard Peltier - Early life, Murder conviction, Shootout at Jumping Bull Ranch, Post-trial debate and developments

Ojibwa-Lakota activist, born in Grand Forks, North Dakota, USA. Growing up poor, he was moved to action by the abuse and suffering of his people. He participated in the Trail of Broken Treaties (1972) as a member of the American Indian Movement. He was arrested (1976) and convicted (1977) and sentenced to two life terms in prison for the murder of two FBI agents in a shoot-out near Pine Ridge, SD. His controversial trial was criticized in works such as Peter Mathieson's In the Spirit of Crazy Horse (1980), and his continued presence in jail was claimed by some as a symbol of injustice and political oppression. Many appeals were made for his release, but none succeeded.

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