Press Release

For Immediate Release

Press Release National Contacts:

Hope Alvarado, University of New Mexico 505-319-7394

Mitchell Harry University of Nebraska-Omaha 209-271-4557

Call for National Student Day of Action: Demand Obama Grant Clemency to Leonard Peltier!

On February 27, 2016, students across the country are calling for a National Day of Action to demand that Obama grant clemency to Leonard Peltier. Peltier is an American Indian Movement (AIM) activist and 40 year political prisoner of the United States government.


We uphold that Peltier has been wrongfully charged with the killing of two FBI agents and is unjustly incarcerated. February 27 is an historic date for the American Indian  Movement (AIM) movement. On this day in 1973 activists began a second occupation of Wounded Knee for 71 days. This was to protest the  failure of the United States to fulfill treaty obligations and the corruption of the Oglala tribal government. February 27th is now known as Wounded Knee Liberation Day.


This is the last year of Obama’s presidency, and what many activists believe to be the last chance for Peltier to be granted clemency. We call on all progressive student organizations nationally and internationally to join us by taking action to demand Peltier’s freedom!


As soon as I heard about it I started organizing. Leonard deserves to come home, he’s an almost forgot hero and champion for native peoples. He did so much for so many without asking for anything return, so I believe it’s our turn to do for him, to educate this generation, stand up as one voice and demand they let an innocent man come home.

Mitchell Harry, Omaha, Nebraska, Nebraska-Omaha Intertribal Student Association


Leonard Peltier is a hero of the people who are fought for the liberation of the First Nations people against the settler colonial US state. RSCC honors the contributions Peltier and the American Indian Movement made to the struggle for all oppressed people for liberation. We demand the complete and unconditional liberation of Peltier and all political prisoners from US prison, and call all student groups throughout the country to join the fight to see Peltier free this year.

Percy Lujan, NYC, Lehman College,  Revolutionary Student Coordinating Committee New York City


Upon the 40th anniversary of his imprisonment by the U.S. government, Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) demands clemency for Leonard Peltier. Peltier is a 71 year old Chippewa-Lakota activist who was involved in the American Indian Movement (AIM), currently held in a maximum penitentiary for fighting for indigenous rights and self-determination. The fight to free Peltier is an important part of the larger struggle for freedom for all political prisoners, and genuine self-determination for indigenous people of the U.S.!

Danya Zituni, University of South Florida, Students for a Democratic Society  


I am participating in the national day of action for peltier because I believe that it is wrong ethically, morally and spiritually to imprison a man, who is suffering physically, mentally & emotionally. The health problems he has should he taken care of. This man has done so much good for our native peoples.

Hope Alvarado, University of New Mexico, Kiva Club


“The students of Fort Lewis College are participating in the National Student Day of Action: Demand Clemency Now for Leonard Peltier because a nation that holds political prisoners is NOT a “land of the free”. Native People have seen their rights as human beings trampled on by the United States of America ever since its inception. From land theft, to massacres, to boarding schools, to sterilization, and more – an endless parade of violations of the most basic human rights. The Leonard Peltier case, it’s manufactured evidence, and the lies by representatives of the Federal government are just one more example. It all must stop. The “land of the free” must be free for all, or it is nothing but a lie.” 

Ken Walker, Fort Lewis College, Sociology Club


I will participate in the Leonard Peltier day of action in order to uphold the national liberation movements, and political prisoners, as SDS’ national line dictates. Political repression has a particular character in relation to those from US internal colonies. Thus, an imprisoned Indigenous man parallels the position of Indigenous nations today, and to struggle for the freedom of Leonard Peltier is a necessary struggle in the fight for the liberation of Indigenous nations in general!

Elizabeth A’ya University of South Florida, Students for a Democratic Society


“I’m participating in the day of action because Leonard Peltier and the American Indian Movement as a whole are examples of legitimate resistance against an unjust set of realities. AIM itself was created out of the need to address the rampant unemployment, poverty, racism, and police harassment which confronted Native Americans. This day of action, and much more afterward, are needed not just because a man fighting against the actually violent United States government has been locked up for a “crime” which two other people were acquitted for, but also because those meager conditions of existence are still forced upon Native American peoples.”

Mark Einstadt, Delaware County Community College, Revolutionary Student Coordinating Committee Philadelphia


List of participating and endorsing organizations:

*The International Leonard Peltier Defense Committee has both endorsed and supported the organizing of this call*

Kiva Club – UNM

Red Student Faction – UNM

Revolutionary Student Coordinating Committee

New York City Students For Justice in Palestine

Revolutionary Alliance of Trans People Against Capitalism

UNM Students for Justice in Palestine

Mecha de UNM

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network

Al-Awda New York: The Palestine Right to Return Coalition

NYC Free Peltier

Lifee Organization

Wood Stock Earth Blog

Students Organizing Actions for Peace – UNM

Fort Lewis College: Sociology Club

New Students for a Democratic Society (SDS)

Diné Relief Initiative





Action Ideas and Resources

Here are a list of ideas & some resources to use for your event or action on February 27, 2016:

  1. Hold a teach in at your University or College using the film “Incident at Ogalala” as a guide. The film can be found and screened online here. After the screening you can encourage people to write letters to the White House calling for Obama to grant executive clemency to Leonard Peltier. You can also ask people to Call the White House 202- 456-1111 or 202-456-1414 and demand clemency for Leonard Peltier.

You can find a template letter for people to copy ideas of what to write here.

General tips for holding a teach-in:

  1. Decide with your group what you want to do, for example: a film screening or a short talk.
  2. Contact us so we can add your organization to the list of endorsers and put your event on the list so that others in your area can find out about it.
  3. Make a plan to ensure basic things get done for example: booking a room with audio visual equipment, printing out hand outs, assigning roles like sign in table or mc, doing outreach either on campus or on social media, sending out press releases, buying envelopes and stamps, and making sure that all letters make it to the post office, etc.
  4.  Remember that a teach-in is an excellent opportunity to learn, ask questions, and get to meet people who share values (like Freedom for Leonard Peltier), which can hopefully lead to taking action.

2. Hold an information picket or rally at your University or College to raise awareness             about Peltier’s case and calling for President Obama to grant executive clemency.                   Ideas for signs could include “Demand Clemency for Leonard Peltier” or “Clemency               Now for Leonard Peltier” and a banner idea could include  “Call the White House 202-           456-1111 or 202-456-1414 and demand clemency for Leonard Peltier”.

Here is a template for a flier that your student group can hand out:                                                Who is Leonard Peltier Flier Template

3. Hold an information picket or rally in your City (off campus) near a federal                             courthouse or a popular spot for protests that you know about.

General Tips to Prepare for a Picket or Rally:

  1. Coordinate with your group.  Decide what kind of action you want to have.
  2. Contact us so we can list your organization as an endorser and add your action to the list so that others in your area can find out about it.
  3. Make a plan to ensure basic things get done for example: signs get made, press releases are sent out, fliers are printed out, outreach is done, speakers are lined up, sound systems are ready, and if need be permits are filled out.
  4. Wear appropriate clothing and have water on hand to ensure that people stay hydrated.
  5. Stick to messaging and keep it simple: Clemency for Peltier Now!
  6. It is important to remember that this day, February 27, 2016, is Wounded Knee Liberation Day and is a day for Leonard Peltier. Any actions that are taken will reflect back on the efforts of people who are working hard to get a loved and respected family member and friend out of prison.

4. Introduce a Resolution to your Student Government

Here is a sample resolution.

Some other Resources:

Make sure to check out the Official Leonard Peltier Defense Offense Committee Website

Make sure to like and subscribe to the National Student Day of Action facebook page.

Change your cover photo on facebook to this:

free peltier facebook cover photo




Who is Leonard Peltier?

Leonard Peltier is an activist, artist, humanitarian, and writer. He is most widely known for being a member of the American Indian Movement (AIM) for which his involvement has resulted in him serving nearly 40 years in prison for the killing of two FBI agents that he did not commit. For people who do not know much about Peltier’s case and particularly young people he wishes to be known as, “somebody that stood up for his people’s rights and who tried to stop the Termination Act and all the other crimes committed against my people. Peltier is widely supported by nobel laureates, scholars, foreign parliaments, civil rights activists, artists, celebrities, Native American and tribal leaders, unions and other individuals or organizations.

What happened at Oglala?

Leonard Peltier’s case has been shrouded in controversy since his imprisonment in 1977.  He was wrongfully convicted of killing two FBI agents at Oglala on the Pine Ridge Reservation in 1975. The FBI raided Oglala where Peltier and several other AIM members were encamped. The agents came onto the land in an aggressive manner causing the organization to believe they were under violent attack.  This was a valid claim given the culture of fear that had emerged from the history of the FBI training given to the Guardians of the Oglala Nation, a death squad, that carried out the  assassinations of Indigenous activists in Pine Ridge. Over 64 people had been killed and hundreds more injured. During the raid two FBI agents were shot and killed.  Peltier was convicted after allegations were brought to light following the failed conviction of two other American Indian Movement members for the same crime. The case and following conviction was an attempt to silence the American Indian Movement and made Peltier  a political prisoner of the United States Government.

Why are students demanding clemency for Leonard Peltier?

We uphold that Leonard Peltier is innocent and has been unjustly incarcerated as punishment for the deaths of the two FBI agents at Oglala. The FBI falsified evidence against Peltier in order to imprison him and keep him imprisoned. The FBI has publicly admitted to holding Peltier in prison despite his innocence.  Peltier has never received a fair trial, and all other legal options have been exhausted. Now, the only option is to demand clemency.  

Obama has the authority to grant executive clemency. This is the power of a President in federal criminal cases to, in Leonard Peltier’s case, commute the sentence of a person convicted of a crime.

Peltier is now a 71 year old elderly man living in a prison. He has a bad prostate, diabetes, high blood pressure, and has suffered a mild heart attack and stroke. Under the 8th Amendment of the U.S. constitution Peltier should be protected against ‘cruel and unusual punishment,’ however he has been denied adequate health care and his health continues to deteriorate. Peltier has faced many violations to his constitutional rights throughout his case. In normal circumstances, a single violation is enough to set someone free. We wish to see Peltier live out the rest of his life in freedom with his loved ones and with access to adequate healthcare.

Join us as we take action on February 27, 2016, to demand that Obama grant executive clemency to Leonard Peltier. Click on the any of the tabs at the top of the screen to find out more about how to get involved.

For more information about Leonard Peltier and his case please visit his official support page by clicking  here


Find an Event or Action Near You

Create then register your event today! Contact:

Albuquerque, New Mexico

Red Student Faction, Kiva Club, MeChA, SJP, Dine Relief Initiative: February 19th 6:00pm Showing of “Incident at Oglala” with letter writing at the Peace and Justice Center @  202 Harvard SE

February 27th University of New Mexico (front of bookstore): 2:00pm Stand-Out to Demand Clemency. Facebook event:

Chicago TBA

Durango, Colorado

Fort Lewis College Sociology Club: February 27th, 1:00 PM Student Union – Vallecito Room: Teach-in and showing of “Incident at Oglala,” followed by a discussion and call to action. Contact information: Ken Walker, facebook event:

Olympia, Washington

Committee to Free Nestora Salgado: Work Party on Saturday, February 20 at 1:30pm in the library basement room 0412

Wednesday Feb 24th  @The Evergreen State College Informational Rally 12:30-1:30pm and letter writing to Obama for Leonard’s clemency and John Kerry for Nestora’s freedom from 1:30 to 2:30. facebook event:

Omaha, Nebraska

University of Nebraska-Omaha Intertribal Student Association: We will meet 11:30am @ the Central High School (North Parking Lot by the football field)

At noon, we will march to the federal building . Join us in song, prayer, and speakers for Leonard Peltier.

Potluck style community meal following at First Central Congregational Church, 421 s 36th st Omaha 1-5pm. Facebook event:

New York 

Revolutionary Students Coordinating Committee: February 27th, 4pm. Rally at American Indian Museum – One Bowling Green, New York