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Prison Writings: My Life Is My Sun Dance Essay

Leonard Peltier’s Prison Writings: My Life Is My Sun Dance takes into account the disgusting of righteousness in the American justice system and the longings of the Native Americans for evenhandedness, equality and fairplay. Peltier postulate in the story that American socio-cultural life still suffers from the dilemma of racial disparity against many claims that the long tradition of racism in the United States ended with the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s.This phenomenon still haunts the American society at various levels. But its prevalence in the criminal justice system is more troubling as it harms the cherished ideals off equality, fraternity and freedom of American democracy. So he opines that oppression of American Indians is not unconscious but institutional.

The gross foulness in the Justice System is skillfully described in a single line; “This is the twenty-third year of my imprisonment for a crime I didn’t commit.” On the surface level, it describe the story of killing of two CIA’s agent but on a deeper level Peltier’s has described certain preplanned events that undermine the unalienable human rights clause of the American Constitution. For example he said that Government “…had been gathering in the area for a preplanned paramilitary assault on the Pine Ridge reservation,” (p.129) in 1975. His views are neither a subjective description of personal pathos and miseries, nor it is distortion of the facts but he takes into consideration the national dilemma of treatment of Native Indians and provides verified and verifiable documented proof in favor of his arguments.

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Another Theme of these personal memoirs is the sun dance that implies the spiritual attainment he had from unbearable agonizing experience in prison. From a warrior to a spiritual leader, the journey is wonderful but is littered with horrible memories of sufferings.

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