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Contextualizing Leonard Peltier: Institutional Oppression and Cultural Erasure
By Cayla McNally

It is extremely difficult to engage with the trial of Leonard Peltier because it is still cloaked in mystery. So many details of his story remain contested, and the FBI and Peltier’s supporters offer radically different versions of what happened on the Jumping Bull Ranch. However, the most important aspect of Peltier’s defense is the way in which it is framed. Rather than portray his trial as a simple murder case, Peltier and his supporters frame the murders at Pine Ridge as a continuation of the constant violence on the reservation and as part of the long tradition of state-sanctioned mistreatment of Native Americans. Peltier makes connection between his situation and historical context abundantly clear when he insists in the...
Sharing Cultures. Sharing Stories. Sharing Lives. Sharing Respect: An Examination of the Gift Cycle in Fools Crow
By Faith Roncoroni

Many of the issues surrounding Leonard Peltier’s case originated from the government’s historical yet continued failure to acknowledge and empathize with the native culture on the Pine Ridge Reservation. The following essay acts as an attempt to avoid such detrimental assumptions and actions while strengthening my personal relationship with a man of Cherokee descent and his tribe. By gaining a deeper understanding of the traditional and contemporary practices of gift economies and American Indian cultures, I learn how to appropriately respond to a gift of Fish sticks and realize the act’s cultural significance....
Justification of Legalized Peyote
By Faith Roncoroni

Incident in Oglala focuses on the United States’ history of ignorance and indifference when dealing with American Indians. Contrary to the documentary, the subsequent essay provides an example of an instance when the government acknowledged and corrected a law that unjustly targeted native religious groups that used Peyote during ceremonies. But despite the government’s acknowledgment of the spiritual significance of Peyote use, mainstream culture still debates the fairness of the law’s exception to illegal drug use for native religious purposes. This philosophical essay employs William Kymlika’s theory of cultural diversity to prove why the United States must allow American Indians to smoke Peyote...
Environmental Racism: DeLillo, Ozeki, and Boyle
By Faith Roncoroni

While the following essay does not directly refer to the American Indian Movement (AIM), the Pine Ridge Reservation, or Leonard Peltier, it examines mainstream culture’s perpetual mistreatment of native peoples through the manifestation of environmental racism. For decades, the United States targeted minorities to receive the brunt of environmental inconveniences and hazards. And, since American Indians still represent one of the most powerless and vulnerable minority groups, the government and large corporations take advantage of tribes’ poverty by desecrating the native holy land of the Black Hills with uranium and plutonium mining, contaminating reservation soil and water through waste dumping, and using the inaccurate,...