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California | Arts + Action

The artwork of Native American political prisoner Leonard Peltier in Berkeley
by La Peña News ( fena [at] lapena.org )
Friday Oct 30th, 2009 12:55 PM
The highly-praised artwork of Native American activist, political prisoner and nine-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee, Leonard Peltier - curated by Bird Levy Strain of Polu Manu Productions, SF – will be exhibited in Berkeley’s La Peña theater from October 19 until November 30, 2009.
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La Peña Cultural Center and Polu Manu Productions proudly presents:
The artwork of Native American political prisoner Leonard Peltier

The highly-praised artwork of Native American activist, political prisoner and nine-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee, Leonard Peltier - curated by Bird Levy Strain of Polu Manu Productions, SF – will be exhibited in Berkeley’s La Peña theater from October 19 until November 30, 2009.

The exhibit can be viewed either during show times (with admission tickets only) or by appointment; call 510-849-2568..

Opening Reception Date: Friday, Nov. 13. 6:30 – 8pm.

Leonard Peltier, The Artist.
"My eye problem has slowed me down considerably but I am still inspired.”

Leonard Peltier -a great-grandfather artist, writer, & indigenous rights activist - is a citizen of the Anishinabe and Dakota/Lakota Nations who has been unjustly imprisoned since 1976. Leonard's self-taught style is an outgrowth of drawing and carving lessons he received as a child from tribal elders. Leonard began working with pastels in 1983, proving he had talent to put what he saw on paper His spirit began to know a freedom he had never before experienced.

Although limited by his oppressive prison environment, Leonard has embraced his art as a healing tool while becoming a skillful creator of Indigenous Art. Leonard's artwork reflects his beliefs and commitment to Native American culture. It is The People's struggle to survive and his desire to portray their cultural beauty that inspires Peltier to paint. In 1966, Leonard suffered a stroke and lost about eighty percent of his sight in his left eye.

Leonard Peltier, Activist

Leonard Peltier (of the Anishinabe, Dakota, and Lakota Nations) traces the roots of his political activism to the rank racism and brutal poverty he experienced every day as an Indian child growing up on the Turtle Mountain Chippewa and Fort Totten Sioux reservations in North Dakota.

Leonard was about 14 years old when he attended meetings on the reservation with his father to discuss the government's decision to terminate Turtle Mountain. He recalls one Ojibwa lady, a cousin, who stood up angrily and asked in a loud, emotional, tear-filled voice, “where are our warriors? Why don't they stand up and fight for their starving people?"

"It was like a revelation to me-that there was actually something worthwhile you could do with your life, something more important than living your own selfish little life day by day. I vowed right then and there that I would become a warrior and that I'd always work to help my people. It's a vow I've done my best to keep."

From that point Leonard lived his life for the People; the 1970 peaceful takeover of abandoned Fort Lawton, outside Seattle; joining AIM in Colorado: participating in the Trail of Broken Treaties march scheduled to arrive in DC, in time for the presidential election in 1972.

In Seattle in 1974, Leonard continued to work on behalf of the People; then on to help the Kootenai in Idaho and back to Wisconsin for the takeover of an unused abbey in Gresham in January, 1975: then on to the southwest to help the Navajo and back to Pine Ridge helping to run a sweat-lodge ceremony, all of which led to the now infamous June 26, 1975 FBI raid and tragic shoot-out leading to Leonard's wrongful conviction in the deaths of two FBI agents, for which he has been unjustly imprisoned for over 35 years.

Now a great-grandfather, Leonard remains committed to The People and does whatever he can to ensure their survival. He has made remarkable contributions to humanitarian and charitable causes during his many years of incarceration. Leonard was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007.

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§Hawkman
by La Peña News Friday Oct 30th, 2009 12:55 PM
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