American Indian rights activist Leonard Peltier is currently serving two consecutive life sentences in federal prison in Leavenworth, Kansas. Peltier is convicted for the shooting deaths of FBI Agents Jack R. Coler and Ronald A. Williams. Peltier claims he did not murder Agents Coler and Williams, but more important, Peltier and his defenders continue to assert his innocence by claiming they have ballistics tests to prove it. In addition to this, Peltier's defenders claim there was immoral and illegal conduct on the behalf of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) during his trial. Peltier is yet another example of the inherent inequalities minorities face when they are up against America's judicial system.
Political Context of 1973-1975
For no perceptible reason, in the December snow of 1973 more than two hundred Indian men, women, and children were shot down by the United States Government on the Wounded Knee Reservation. Although there is no factual connection between the Wounded Knee Massacre and the murders of Agents Coler and Williams, the Indian factionalism that resulted from the Wounded Knee Massacre may have possibly contributed to the atmosphere of tension that existed on the Pine Ridge Reservation. The
Pine Ridge Reservationdesperately poor and home to 10,000 Lakota Siouxwas a cauldron of violence, fear, and anxiety. More important though, by 1975 American
Indian Movement (AIM) members camped out at the Jumping Bull compound "were engaged in a full blown war between full-blood and mixed-blood residents of Pine Ridge" (Encyclopedia of World Biography 1). With support from the FBI and Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), mixed-blood Lakota Sioux were fighting to maintain power on the Pine Ridge Reservation. This period has been coined "the reign of terror" because over sixty Indians, including women and children, were murdered from May of 1973 through
June of 1975. Tension had... [continues]
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(2005, 10). Violence in the Media. StudyMode.com. Retrieved 10, 2005, from http://www.studymode.com/essays/Violence-Media-66188.html
"Violence in the Media" StudyMode.com. 10 2005. 10 2005 <http://www.studymode.com/essays/Violence-Media-66188.html>.
"Violence in the Media." StudyMode.com. 10, 2005. Accessed 10, 2005. http://www.studymode.com/essays/Violence-Media-66188.html.