Birthday Party For Leonard Peltier
by Arthur Jacobs
On Monday, September 12th a birthday party was held for Leonard Peltier, who has seen 67 winters on sacred Mother Earth. AIM-WEST wishes to thank Ms. Carol Wahpepah, Executive Director at Intertribal Friendship House in Oakland, for providing use of the cultural center to hold the party. The event began at 6 pm with an opening prayer by Corina Gould, who respectfully deferred to her elder Fred Short, who also deferred to his elder, Len Foster. Len is the spiritual advisor for Leonard Peltier. Len Foster prayed in his Dine' language for all of us, for Leonard, and for all our relations. After the prayer Sampson Wolfe, of 'Northern California Leonard Peltier support group', encouraged us to keep writing letters and to call the White House for Leonard.
A pot-luck dinner was enjoyed by all, and then we all moved to the bigger room for song, prayer, poetry and dance. Luta Candelaria and Michael Corral, who together had taken a stand and won at Sogorea Te (Glen Cove), sang, played their clappers, and prayed in the Rumsien Ohlone language. Mary Jane Robertson, KPOO FM radio personality, spoke words of encouragement about how we all must keep supporting Leonard.
Pacific Islander sisters, Ms. FuiFuilupe Numeitolu and Loa Niumeitolu of Hawai', accompanied by traditional drumming recited their own poetry, alternating from one sister to the other in a beautiful and moving performance.
The Mexica Traditional Azteca Dancers, led by Companero Alvaro Tellez and his companion Ms. Irma Pineda, also performed a dance to the four directions and blew his concha shell for the people to hear that Mr. Leonard Peltier must be set free!
The international re-known poet, Ms. Lorna Cervantes, a fifth-generation Californian of Californio and American Indian (Chumash) heritage and a professor at SF State University, read her poem, Sustenance: A Poem For Leonard Peltier.
Tony Gonzales, AIM-WEST Director was MC introducing speakers, drummers, dancers and performers.The night ended with, a raffle some of the raffle items were donated by Wounded knee 73' veteran, Jessie Riddle and her family. They gave donation of earrings, traditional seedlings, shawl and dress which were some of the prizes given to the lucky winners!, Leonard we wish you a happy birthday and pray you will celebrate with us soon. *Everyone was appreciated and I apologize if you were not mentioned.