73 year old Leonard Peltier’s Health is Slipping Away

73 year old Leonard Peltier’s Health is Slipping Away

Posted By Jazmyn Espinoza-Church September 12th, 2017 Last Updated on: July 23rd, 2018

“I’m one step back from passing away.”


Native American political prisoner and activist Leonard Peltier has been imprisoned for more than 40 years, denied pardons even despite his health deteriorating throughout his sentence.

Very recently, though, it seems his health is slipping and he is very much aware of it. In early September, he was transported to an outside hospital for what he called a “routine heart stress test”. The test results were alarming-3 clogged arteries. The doctors scrambled to operate immediately, ending in a triple bypass, which is major surgery for anyone let alone a 73-year-old prisoner.

In an email from the International Leonard Peltier Defense committee sent on Sep 2nd he gives us more insight into what happened:

Good morning, everyone. OK. I know everyone did not know this, but it’s been a rough ride for me, BUT I’m one step back from passing away.

I was taken to an outside hospital in Leesburg, Fla., for what I was told was a routine heart stress test. And it turned out that they found clogged arteries, three of them! They decided to operate right away, and I just returned from triple-bypass heart surgery. My chest was opened and they took arteries from my legs and placed them in the blocked arteries. I had to be given a liter of blood. Now I am back at the prison and getting around in my wheelchair. They said this would help my shortness of breath and the pressure in my chest.”

The Great Grandfather and former member of AIM (the American Indian Movement) is currently serving time for the alleged murder of two FBI agents during a shootout on the Pine Ridge Reservation.

The Indigenous community was deeply saddened in January when President Obama denied him pardon for his charges, despite already serving 40+ years.

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About Jazmyn Espinoza-Church

Jazmyn Espinoza-Church is a bestselling Native American Author, advocate for Native youth, and freelance journalist. When she's not writing or mentoring she can be found in her Michigan home, hanging out with her fiance and two sons.

TAGGED:    activism    Culture    Events    Indian Country    Indigenous    mostpopular    Native    Native American    Pine Ridge  
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Salute to Leonard Peltier, who like many other innocent ones should be set free ; especially in this covid19 virus ridden conditions all over the planet. A lifetime of lockdown for no reason. Makes a mockery of the meaning of justice.


the shame is on the political practices which we see happening more clearly all the time. when the fbi
has agents that state he is innocent and the man who did the acts of death has stated his guilt then the crime is on the government and it shows.
my prayers that we are a better people and that this were different
I am sad for your suffering

Lisa womack

Ive always been an obama supporter but finding this out pisses me off! He shouldnt be there in the first place! How dare them keep denying him parole. Its a crime what they have done to him . I believe the great spirit will reward him for his suffering. God bless him!


I have to agree with u. If u go over his trial papers u can find that he is not guilty. The legal system sucks and Mr Pelletier is an innocent person. It’s a shame that the AIM is looked at in this way. The AIM has done nothing to any body at any time in my life. Mr Petllier I wish him well and from the bottom of my heart, I wish they would release him to enjoy his life with the Native people,s .. They let Omar Kadar out after killing a US soldier and rewarded 10,000,000 million dollar,s. How the shit did this happen?

Blue shirt

Peltier was not innocent it’s nice of all those people to be supportive. But you need to have been privy to what took place


how is ‘serving’ 2 life sentences for killing 2 people justice? and what exactly does that mean? how long is a ‘life’ sentence? is it 2 of his lives or the number of years of the age if those killed? this justice system is flawed.

Sharon L McDowell

As a fellow African American, I was very disappointed to learn that President Obama did not pardon Leonard Peltier. There are too many innocent people populating jails and prisons for crimes they didn’t commit. I became a follower and supporter of Mr. Peltier in 2000 while attending Western Michigan University and view him as a Civil Rights pioneer for Native American people and all people who are struggling to survive in a racist environment and society. And just like Mr. Peltier, I am also a triple bypass survivor since 2002 and I’m still here. My prayers, love, and peace go out to Leonard Peltier and his family and I will have faith that Mr. Peltier will soon get justice. FREE LEONARD PELTIER NOW! Sharon L McDowell

Stacy Bartlett

We must never forget this terrible stain in our history. We must never forget Leornard Peltier, a man known as one of the leaders of The American Indian Movement . They tried to protect the elders and the land. Ultimately 2 FBI came to the Pine Ridge Reservation looking for Jimmy Eagle who supposedly stole a pair of sneakers. A firefight broke out and the 2 FBI men were killed as were Native Americans.

Peltier, Bob Robideau and Dino Butler were arrested for the murders of the FBI men. Peltier escaped to Canada, but was eventually caught and fought extradition to the United States, even as Bob Robideau and Darrelle “Dino” Butler, AIM members also present on the Jumping Bull compound at the time of the shootings, were found NOT guilty on the grounds of self-defense by a federal jury in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Peltier returned too late to be tried with Robideau and Butler, and he was subsequently tried separately and found guilty. The Feds were pissed they lost the case against Robideau and Butler so they were out for blood with Peltier. There were even threats to his life by the FBI in prison. So he had no choice but to escape. He was caught and tried in L.A., I had the privilege of knowing some of his friend and spent some time with some of his family. I attended the sentencing portion of the trial for the escape and they sentenced a man already serving 2 life terms to the maximum sentence of 7 years. When he was given his legal right to address the court, after speaking only a few words he was forced out of the courtroom in shackles and chains and was not allowed to finish his statement. Leonard Peltier is a wrongly convicted man who has served 42 years in prison. Leonard is an artist and has been nominated for a noble peace prize 6 times. He is also a Father, Grandfather and Great Grandfather who needs to spend what is left of his remaining days on earth with is family. We must never give up on Leonard Peltier, we must never forget he is an innocent political prisoner. We can never get rid of this stain on our American history but there is still time to improve upon it. Never forget Leonard Peltier.

R Foster

I agree He was never one of my Presidents as a Matter of Fact none a Them . Obama freed many but deny Leonard Freedom I protested and march for his Freedom .But America Justice is not Fair. They had no proof of the. Shooting and for hom to be in Prison For such a long time. The Q is can you tell if that Is Justice. America treat the Natives like Dirt and America will not change. they are Born Deceivers.

S. Rose

My prayers go out from my heart to our brother Leonard….may the Creator heal him completely.

bolo bad elk

Well this shows how a government is discrimination against a race and don’t have to provide due process of court and the f.b.I has no authority to tell a president not to let a prisoner release.

Jimmy Lynn bowling

My Heart And Prayers Are With You And Your Family.

Pamela HP Peltier

What harm can he do now, the man is 73yrs old..it’s all a conspiracy as the truth has not been told, yet. But someday Peltier will have his day in court for his Innocent even though he may not see it in his lifetime but his family and friends will. Justice will prevail.

David "Two Bears" Strahler

The Native American people have long suffered because of our government injustices, a practice that still exists to this day. Leonard Peltier was trying to organize his people to bring back the ways of his people with the AIM movement and was rubbing someone in Washington the wrong way. His people were not allowed to settle their inner tribal problems without government interference. The judicial decided to make Leonard an example to all of the Native Americans to just do what the Government tells you to do and nothing more. Leonard is a true warrior for the rights of his people and I hope he is freed to join his people once again. David Two Bears

I agree He was never one of my Presidents as a Matter of Fact none a Them . Obama freed many but deny Leonard Freedom I protested and march for his Freedom .But America Justice is not Fair. They had no proof of the. Shooting and for hom to be in Prison For such a long time. The Q is can you tell if that Is Justice. America treat the Natives like Dirt and America will not change. they are Born Deceivers.

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