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Leavenworth, Kansas 1997


Director: Claus Biegert, 25 min, production: biegertfilm 2017

My second visit with Leonard Peltier in Leavenworth Prison, Kansas, was in 2000, a year after the publication of his book “Prison Writings: My Life is my Sundance.” I was accompanied by photographer Dick Bancroft, who had seen him three times in the years before. In my luggage I had a video camera and Leonard’s book.

The officer at the baggage check had no objection to the book. At least he said later that this book was not allowed, but he overlooked it. I had Leonard read his poems; they became the backbone of this film. I still collected voices from people close to him, including Nilak Butler and Ramsey Clark. Nilak lived on the Pine Ridge Reservation in 1975, near the scene of the shooting; Ramsey Clark, once U.S. attorney general, was long one of Peltier’s lawyers. The film was self-funded, with clips used by DemocracyNow! and Amnesty International.