When Cathie Quigley-Soderman finished reading Leonard Peltier's story, she wanted to spread it across the nation. Peltier has been surrounded by controversy since 1975, when FBI agents Ronald Williams and Jack Coler were shot and killed on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. The Native American activist and member of the American Indian Movement was accused of their murders and imprisoned for the crime 31 years ago.
Many believe Peltier was railroaded; inconsistencies with witness testimony and issues with ballistics indicate an unfair trial and unjust imprisonment. In 1999, Peltier published Prison Writings: My Life Is My Sun Dance, a collection of poetry, essays and reflections on activism behind prison walls. It was this book that inspired Quigley-Soderman to direct the world premiere of My Life Is My Sun Dance, a play opening tonight at the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art.
"Working on this, I've come to realize that this has been a 31-year prayer that's been said since 1975, and we're all a part of it," Quigley-Soderman says. "My hope is that more and more people will learn if they didn't know about the situation already what the real facts were like, and people who already know will hear it all again and know that something can still be done." (Peltier is up for parole in December 2008.)
Media mogul and Democratic supporter David Geffen has already weighed in: Geffen gave Bill Clinton millions of dollars during his administration, but he has withdrawn his support for Hillary in her 2008 presidential bid because Bill didn't pardon Peltier when he had the chance. Instead, pro-Peltier candidate Barack Obama is the recipient of Geffen's generosity.
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Get the real facts at 7 p.m. at BMoCA, 1750 13th Street in Boulder; tickets are $25. The play will run through April 1; visit www.bmoca.org or call 303-443-2122 for showtimes and to purchase tickets.
Thursdays, 7 p.m.; Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 3:30 p.m. Starts: March 15. Continues through April 1