Published February 14, 2016
BELFAST—Last weekend, the Ireland for Peltier committee commemorated the unjust 40th imprisonment of Leonard Peltier with a conference. Two special guests from Indian Country, Madonna Thunder Hawk and Marcy Gilbert, traveled across the Atlantic to see the support Peltier has in Ireland and participated in the weekend events. Both are from the Standing Rock Reservation in South Dakota.
The first stop took place on Friday, February 5, 2016. Thunder Hawk was interviewed by television station NVTV for a program called “Another World Is Possible.”
Thunder Hawk spoke about life on the reservation at the time Peltier was arrested and highlighted his current campaign for freedom.
After the program interview, it was off to Saint Mary’s College for the conference. Thunder Hawk and Gilbert met with Sinn Fein’s MLA Gerry Kelly, MLA Carál Ní Chuilín, Father Gary Donegan and Danny Morrison for a brief conversation. Thunder Hawk shared the events surrounding the Incident at Oglala and what we can do to help bring Leonard Peltier home.
On the morning of February 6th, die hard mountain walkers all came out in support of Leonard Peltier’s freedom. In the freezing cold lashing rain and gale force winds, they all hiked up the mountain.
In the evening, Thunder Hawk and Gilbert met in Gort Na Mona for a night of music with Bik McFarlane.
On Sunday, they met with Jim Gibney from the Irish Times and Paedar Whelan from An Phoblacht we were able to share Leonard’s struggle and what people can do to help bring Leonard home.
The two then went to meet the Ballymurphy Massacre Group. They sat and listened to the people share their stories of the brutal killings of eleven innocent people by the Parachute Regiment of the British Army and the aftermath cover up by the British government that took place in Ballymurphy in August 1971. The two found it very emotional afternoon as they discussed the similarities in struggle for the Irish and American Indians.
Afterwards they took a Black Taxi Tour giving Thunder Hawk and Gilbert a clearer understanding of the conflict that took place in Ireland and the similarities shared with oppressed Irish and American Indians. They were able to bring two lands together both having endured horrendous acts by the ruling governments. They left Ireland knowing we are committed to the struggle for Leonard Peltier’s freedom.
The Ireland for Peltier group is a support group for the Internatial Leonard Defense Offense Committee. For more information please visit www.whoisleonardpeltier.info and http://www.irelandforPeltier.ie
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