Combined chronologies from:
The chronology by 'News From Indian Country' can
- September 12, 1944
Leonard James Peltier born on Sept. 12, 1944 to Leo and Alvina Reabeduex in Grand Forks, and raised in North Dakota. He moved with his parents to copper mines and to logging camps.
His parents separated and he entered Wahpeton Indian Boarding School in Wahpeton, ND. He returned to live with his mother in Grand Forks, and at 14 moved on his own to find work.
He moved to Washington state where he joined the fishing rights conflict in the 1960s and in 1964 became part owner of an auto body shop in Seattle.
He was married to Sandy Martinez.
Divorced in 1968 in Grand Forks, ND.
- March 8, 1970
He participated in the Fort Lawton, Oregon occupation in 1970 and joined (AIM) American Indian Movement that year.
He moved to the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota and became a fundraiser for AIM, working closely with Dennis Banks.
Moved to Milwaukee, WI in 1972. Helped organize Milwaukee caravan for Trail of Broken Treaties from and returning to Milwaukee.
- November 22, 1972
Arrested in Milwaukee, WI on charge of attempted murder after restaurant problems with off-duty officers. Held for several months at high bail.
Wounded Knee occupation of 1973. In October of 1973 he returned to Seattle.
- *February 27, 1973: AIM members and traditional Indians endure a 72 day stand-off, surrounded by the FBI at Wounded Knee, South Dakota.
- *May 9, 1973: Wounded Knee II ends. Elders of the Oglala Nation ask for AIM to help protect the community. The FBI begins large scale mobilization in the community.
- August 9, 1974
Peltier was the subject of a complaint filed by a Special Agent in Milwaukee, WI on Aug. 9, 1974 in U.S. District Court before U.S. Magistrate John C. McBride. The court issued a warrant to the U.S. Marshal's Office in Milwaukee. The FBI sheet said Peltier could be charged with violation of Title 18, Sec. 1073, U.S. Code, Attempted Murder.
- March 1975
He returned to the Pine Ridge Reservation in March of 1975, lived first at Oglala, then at the Harry Jumping Bull compound.
- June 1975
Attended AIM convention in Farmington, NM. Brought four young Navajo teenagers back to Jumping Bull.
- June 26, 1975
Was involved in June 26, 1975 shootout in which two FBI agents, Jack Coler and Ronald Williams, and AIM member Joe Stuntz were killed. Concealed at Crow Dog's Paradise, Rosebud Reservation until early September.
- *June 26, 1975: FBI agents Jack Coler and Ron Williams, along with 150 other law enforcement officers and vigilantes, engage in a firefight with approximately 30 Indian men, women, and children at a comp in Oglala, resulting in the deaths of Coler, Williams, and AIM member Joe Stuntz.
- September 10, 1975
Explosion of AIM car on Kansas Turnpike, AR-15 rifle recovered by BATF and taken to FBI Laboratory.
- October 2, 1975
FBI teletype says AR-15 "contains different firing pin than that in rifle used at the Jumping Bull scene."
- October 31, 1975
FBI Laboratory reports none of casings recovered at Jumping Bull match AR-15 recovered on Kansas Turnpike.
- November 1975
Two FBI informers advise Peltier in hiding on Port Madison Reservation in Washington State.
- November 14, 1975
Involved in the Ontario incident in late 1975, wounded and fled to Smallboy's Reserve in Alberta through Indian underground.
- November 25, 1975
Peltier, Robideau, Butler and Eagle indicted in FBI agents' deaths.
- *November 25, 1975: Dino Butler, Bob Robideau, James Eagle, and Leonard Peltier are indicted.
- *February 6 - May 11, 1976: Peltier is arrested in Canada. The FBI produces and presents fabricated affidavits to the Canadian Court to procure extradition.
- February 6, 1976
Arrested by RCMP at Smallboy's Reserve in southwest Alberta with Frank Black Horse. Taken to Calgary, Alta., then Okalla Prison in Vancouver, B.C.
- February 10, 1976
FBI Lab reports for first time match between Wichita AR-15 and .223 casing found in trunk of Coler's car.
- February 19, 1976
First Poor Bear affidavit.
- February 23, 1976
Second Poor Bear affidavit.
- March 31, 1976
Third Poor Bear affidavit.
- May 3, 1976
Extradition hearing opens before Canadian Justice W.A. Schultz.
- May 11, 1976
Poor Bear affidavits presented to Canadian court for extradition to U.S.
- *July 16, 1976: Butler and Robideau acquitted on grounds of self defense.
- *June 18, 1976: Canadian Justice Shultz, unaware of fabrications, grants extradition to United States.
- June 18, 1976
Judge Schultz rules U.S. government has presented sufficient evidence to warrant extradition.
- *March 16, 1976: Peltier trial begins before Judge Paul Benson in Fargo, ND having been arbitrarily moved from Judge McManus' court because of Benson's pro-FBI attitude. Peltier is unable to present key evidence, cross examine government witnesses, or argue self defense.
- December 20, 1976
Basford signs extradition order; Peltier extradited by Canadian government to Fargo, ND.
- Spring 1977
Leonard Peltier Defense Committee established in Rapid City, SD.
- March 14 - April 18, 1977
Brought to trial in 1977 in Fargo, ND before Federal Judge Paul Benson on two charges of first degree murder and convicted by jury after five hours deliberation of aiding and abetting in agents' deaths.
- *April 18, 1977: Leonard Peltier is convicted upon coerced testimony and fabricated evidence. He is sentenced to twice his natural life in federal prison.
- June 1, 1977
Peltier sentenced to two life terms at Marion, IL.
- December 1977
Peltier appeal opens with oral argument before three-judge panel in St. Louis, MO.
- February 1978
Milwaukee trial follows on attempted murder charges. Peltier wins acquittal after off-duty policeman's former girlfriend testifies he bragged earlier he was going to "bag" a prominent AIM leader.
- April 12, 1978
Circuit Court of appeals refuses to grant appeal.
- May 12, 1978
Robert Wilson (Standing Deer) transferred to Marion and asked to cooperate in unspecified operation to "remove" Peltier. He discloses offer to Peltier.
- September 14, 1978
8th Circuit Court of Appeals upholds 1977 conviction.
- *September 14, 1978: US 8th Circuit Court of Appeals affirms conviction despite finding disturbing evidence of coercion of witnesses and fabrication of evidence which causes Judge Ross to criticize the government harshly.
- February 1979
Peltier transferred to Lompoc Prison in California.
- March 5, 1979
U.S. Supreme Court refuses review of Peltier appellate decision.
- May 10, 1979
Charles Richards enters Leavenworth en route to Lompoc. Rumored to be second assassin.
- July 20, 1979
Peltier, Bobby Garcia and Dallas Thundershield escape from Lompoc. Thundershield shot and killed, Garcia seized, Peltier escapes.
- July 25, 1979
Peltier recaptured by FBI agents.
- November 14, 1979
Peltier's escape trial before Judge Lawrence Lydick in Los Angeles, lasting two months. Peltier says he escaped to save his own life. Lydick prohibits assassination theory testimony.
- January 20, 1980
Convicted by jury of escape and being felon in possession of gun, with seven years added to sentence.
- November 1980
LPDC lawyers obtain 12,000 pages of declassified FBI documents, with additional 6,000 pages withheld because of "national security."
- March 1981
Robert Redford visits Peltier at Marion.
- March 10, 1981
Peltier "escape conviction" on appeal to 9th Circuit Court. Three-judge panel reverses escape conviction, advises lower court to allow assassination plot evidence regarding Charles Richards.
- April 11, 1982
Defense files writ of habeas corpus in U.S. District Court, Fargo, ND indicating suppression of exonerating evidence in 1977 trial, as well as conscious use of perjured witnesses.
- December 30, 1982
Benson refuses release of 6,000 pages of FBI files on Peltier.
- December 31, 1982
Benson denies Peltier new trial.
Peter Matthiessen's In the Spirit of Crazy Horse and Jim Messerschmidt's The Trial of Leonard Peltier are published.
- *April 4, 1984: 8th Circuit Court orders an evidentiary hearing regarding newly discovered (FOIA) evidence, including FBI perjury and the manufacture of the "murder weapon".
- *October 1-3, 1984: Despite FBI's admitted perjury, Judge Benson denies a new trial.
- October 1-3, 1984
Judge Benson denies request for retrial.
- June, 1985
Peltier transferred to Leavenworth Prison in Kansas.
October 15, 1985
Prosecutor Lynn Crooks allows during oral argument before 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, "We don't know who killed those agents."
- *October 15, 1985: During oral argument before the 8th Circuit, prosecutor Lynn Crooks states, "we don't know who killed those agents." The court again criticizes the government's tactics in trying and investigating the case.
- October 11, 1986
Circuit Court finds Benson erred in 1977 rulings, witnesses has been coerced, evidence fabricated, favorable evidence suppressed. But appeal denied.
- *October 11, 1986: 8th Circuit Court finds that the trial judge erred in his rulings, witnesses were coerced, evidence fabricated, perjury committed, and evidence favorable to Peltier withheld. Despite this, the appeal is denied based on mistaken testimony which had been recanted at trial and because the court "recognized improper conduct" by the FBI but was "reluctant to impute even further improprieties to them." Judge Heany would later call it "the most difficult decision" he'd ever made.
- June 1987
Soviet eye specialists visit him at Leavenworth.
- Spring 1990
Libyan government bestows human rights award to AIM POW Peltier.
- June 1989
U.S. government admits before Canadian court that Poor Bear extradition documents of 1976 were fraudulent.
- *June 1989: US government admits in Canadian Court that the extradition documents were fraudulent.
- December 3, 1990
Defense files writ of habeas corpus calling for immediate release of Peltier by reason of violations of due process.
- *December 3, 1990: Writ of Habeas Corpus filed calling for immediate release due to the government's concessions of violation of due process.
- April 18, 1991
Appeals court Judge Heaney in letter to Inouye supports leniency.
- *April 18, 1991: Judge Gerald Heaney, author of the 1986 appeal denial, sends a letter to the President asking for a commutation of Peltier's sentence due to improprieties evident throughout the case.
- September 22, 1991 CBS's "60 Minutes" broadcasts segment on Peltier case.
- October 2, 1991
Peltier attorneys in Bismarck, ND hearing appeal for new trial, arguing prosecutors changed theory of case.
- December 30, 1991
Judge Benson denies retrial on Federal Magistrate Karen Klein's recommendation.
- July 5, 1992
Leavenworth riot, Peltier later charged as "active participant," then cleared.
- Autumn 1992
Peltier authorizes publication of Bradley diatribe against Ward Churchill in LPDC newsletter.
- November 9, 1992
Attorney Ramsey Clark files another appeal for retrial in St. Paul, MN. First Clark entry into case.
- Spring 1993
Peltier principal figure in Robert Redford's film "Incident at Oglala."
- July 7, 1993
8th Circuit Court denies appeal.
- November 22, 1993
Subject of Clinton presidential clemency petition.
- December 1993
U.S. Parole Commission denies Peltier petition; he must serve 15 more years before reconsideration.
- December 1994
Leonard Peltier Freedom Campaign opens office in Washington D.C. Ron Lessard is director of office.
- January 1995
European Parliament supports clemency.
- April 18, 1995
Lessard affidavit re: Appeal Courts' understanding of Norman Brown's 1977 trial testimony.
- May 12, 1995
Kunstler files "motion to open appeal hearing or for appropriate relief" in 8th Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis.
- September 1995
Defense discovers new FBI radio communications of June 26, 1975 indicating FBI agents in area 20 minutes before earlier accepted time of shootout. Defense initiates new FOIA request.
- December 11, 1995
Second parole hearing in which Peltier commended for good behavior, work for Indian people. Decision upcoming.
- December 1995
Transferred to U.S. Medical Center for Federal Prisoners in Springfield, MO.
- March 21, 1996
Parole request rejected by U.S. Parole Commission.
- Autumn 1996
Dennis Banks announces "Bring Peltier Home" campaign for rest of 1996 and Spring 1997.
- Spring 1997
Jane Ayre's Hearts of Charity published in spring.
- April 1997
Worldwide Organizers' Clemency Conference in Tulsa Creek Community, Tulsa, Oklahoma announced for June 19-22.
Sources: Private news files, FBI documents, NFIC documents,
Wexler 1982, Messerschmidt 1983, Matthiessen 1983, LPFC 1996.
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