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.

Home » Featured » 73 year old Leonard Peltier's Health is Slipping Away

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  

31 thoughts on “73 year old Leonard Peltier’s Health is Slipping Away

  1. 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.

    • karenj says:

      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

  2. Lisa womack says:

    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?

  3. Blue shirt says:

    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

    • naysayers says:

      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.

  4. 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

  5. Stacy Bartlett says:

    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.

    • 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.

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

  7. bolo bad elk says:

    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.

  8. Pamela HP Peltier says:

    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.

  9. David "Two Bears" Strahler says:

    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.

  10. Running Doe/tsalagi says:

    smoke and prayers go up for you my brother, Uhaloteka is with you always, all blessings and prayers

  11. Mona Monahan says:

    My heart is aching. He is such a strong noble man. To not release him for gods last times is cruel and inhuman. My prayers to the creator are with you great warrior. I’m so sorry that all the letters , phone calls etc have not produced the needed and just result. You have only goodness and peace in your heart. My thoughts and prayers are still with you

  12. Joost Oud says:

    I send blessings for Leonard’s health and may he soon be freed from prison. I am not Native American, yet I feel a strong connection with their way of being and worshipping. I shall offer prayers with my medicine drum for his release.

  13. Simon Gowen says:

    This is just typical of an out dated judicial system in what is meant to be a world leading country. It’s despicable. The whole case against Mr Peltier is riddled with flaws and inconsistencies. Is just no one over there has the balls to do the right thing.

  14. Janie McAndrew says:

    I wish you had been a part of my life. You a such an honor to the Native American People. I am Irish and I know how much the Native American’s did for the Irish during the famine. I hope in the next world you will be treated with the honor and respect you have earned in this life. I look forward to see you in the next world where the color of your skin does not matter. There are no words to start to tell you how sorry I am for what my people have done and still do to your people. My own family is bi-racial so I know what the look is when I go places. I will send you prayers, love, joy from my heart, mind and spirit. Love, Janie McAndrew

  15. Ellie ashby says:

    I am saddened to hear that he is still in prison. Why would a traitor be released but a person fighting for rights is not. 40 years is long enough. He needs to be able to spend time with his family before he goes to be with the Creator.

    • Veronica Crowder says:

      he is one of my ancestors, my grandmother on my mother’s side is one of his siblings Ila Nancy Peltier Robinson.

  16. Fred Ryan says:

    I learned a long time ago,When you have an Indian for a friend You gotta friend for life.. So true..
    With that I have leonard Peltier on my Prayer list.. I think it is important stuff.
    Also talking to my N.A. friends and collegues, I asked them, Why do you not have your own political
    party? You sacred people could well take over the administration of this country in a noble way..
    Well, My friends asked me, “Why don’t you help with something like this”??.. OK, with that I did..
    I thought and prayed to Waken Tonka and received this vision.. Here is what I came up with..
    My Native American inspired political Party… TAPP ROOT.. This is important.
    TAPP= True American Patriot Party .. Root= Realizing our only time.. TAPP ROOT.. I have been
    keeping this quiet and you are the first to know.. I have been told that this by my NA Friends
    that this will really take off.. And yes, I have a manafesto.. Our first thing is to protect our Mother
    the earth.. Stop the ariel spraying and the poisoning of the earth.. Next up, the prevention of these
    wars, forever.. Please give me feed back.. And I’d like your help……With Much Love..
    Leonard Peltier For TappRoot Spiritual advisor & Patron.
    Fredy Ryan, Portland, Oregon
    503-286-3597 Home
    503-235-9559 Grand ave, boxing gym 2PM
    [email protected]

  17. One would of thought after what happened to his own race from the white people Obama would have given Leonard Peltiers a pardon. Obviously he thought he was white or fear of upsetting Europeans. So shameful of him.’

    • Náshashūk says:

      As an Afro-Oglala born on Pine Ridge, I must agree with every fiber of my soul!!! That single act of denying Leonard’s pardon destroyed Obama’s entire body of work and exposed his true heart.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Free Email Series: What to Expect at Your First Pow Wow