(FinalCall.com) – The North Dakota-based Leonard Peltier Defense Offense Committee circulated a release on April 28 stating that the imprisoned Native American activist had been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for a sixth year.
Mr. Peltier was sentenced to two consecutive life terms in 1977 for the shooting of two FBI agents during an altercation on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota in 1975.
“The basis for Leonard Peltier’s Nobel nominations has been his remarkable success in furthering the causes of peace and human rights,” stated the release from his support group.
According to the website for the five-member Nobel Peace Prize Committee, which is located in Oslo, Norway, their letters of nomination, names of nominees, and other information about nominations cannot be revealed to the public for 50 years. The committee reportedly sends out 1,000 letters each year inviting qualified people to submit their nominations.
Qualified nominees are persons such as professors of social sciences, history, philosophy, law and technology, leaders of peace and research institutions, members of national assemblies and members of international courts. Nobel Peace Prize recipients may also make nominations.
“Even though the nominations are not revealed, we have it upon good authority that Leonard was nominated this year,” his niece and chairperson of the LP-DOC, Karie Ann Cowan, told The Final Call. She said there were 205 names nominated for the Nobel Prize this year. ABC News said the amount of names submitted for 2009 was “a record.”
ABC somehow learned that Pres. Barack Obama and the French Pres. Nicholas Sarkozy were nominated, but their nominators were not immediately known. The network also mentioned that a Macedonian artist was nominated by the Macedonian government; an Austrian children’s charity was nominated by the Austrian government and an American was nominated by six members of the U.S. Congress for his Asian school building charity. ABC did not mention Mr. Peltier’s nomination. A person may not nominate him or herself.
The Nobel committee cuts their list to 10 names in April, and announces the winner in mid-October Ms. Cowan said they have not been told if Mr. Peltier has made it to the short-list. “We’ve never been able to find that out,” she said.
A 2004 letter from a former member of the Canadian Parliament, Jim Fulton, has surfaced on the American Indian Movement (AIM) website to the Norwegian Institute in support of the activist’s nomination: “The Nobel Peace Prize in my view is the only key that can fit the lock to release Leonard Peltier; the freedom of the Aboriginal peoples of the Americas await his release.”
The AIM website mentions several projects that Mr. Peltier has worked on since being incarcerated some 33 years ago such as playing a role in getting people from different tribes to come together as he advocates for peaceful resolution of all issues.
The Leonard Peltier Health Care Reform package has been said to have fundamentally changed health care delivery on reservations in the U.S.; and he has put forth proposals to stimulate reservation-based economics and investment. In 1992, Mr. Peltier established a scholarship at New York University for Native American students seeking a law degree; and every Christmas he sends gifts to the children on the Pine Ridge reservation.
It is also estimated that Mr. Peltier has raised millions for charities through sales of his art work.
In his 1999 bestseller “Prison Writings: My Life is My Sundance,” Mr. Peltier states: “We are all in this together–the rich, the poor, the Red, the White, the Black, the Brown and the Yellow. I believe in the good of human kind.”