Belcourt, North Dakota is a small town with a population of just over 1,000 people. It is located on the Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation in Rolette County. Belcourt is known for its rich history and culture, and is home to many members of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians. Belcourt was established in 1881 as a trading post and was officially incorporated in 1883. It was named after a French–Canadian named Louis Belcourt who had an interest in the area.
The town quickly grew and by 1900, the population had reached nearly 400 people. The town has a rich cultural heritage and is home to a number of historical sites, including the Belcourt Historical Museum and the Turtle Mountain Heritage Center. There is also a Turtle Mountain Chippewa Powwow held each summer in the town. The economy of Belcourt is largely based on agriculture and tourism. The town is home to several local businesses including a grocery store, a hardware store, a restaurant, and a hotel. There is also a Turtle Mountain Community College located in Belcourt. Belcourt is a great place to live and work. It has a friendly atmosphere and a close–knit community.
Home of Leonard Pelitier
Leonard Peltier is a Native American activist who has been a leader in the American Indian Movement (AIM) for more than forty years. He is best known for his conviction and imprisonment in 1977 on two counts of murder related to the 1975 shoot–out on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota.
Peltier was born in 1944 on the Turtle Mountain Chippewa Reservation in North Dakota. He spent much of his childhood living in poverty on the reservation and at the age of 12 his family was forced to move off the reservation. He grew up witnessing the injustices and discrimination that Native Americans were facing and he was determined to make a difference.
In the early 1970s, Peltier became involved with the American Indian Movement, a civil rights organization that sought to protect and promote the rights of Native Americans. He quickly became a leader in the movement, helping to organize protests and demonstrations, as well as providing support to those in need. In 1975, Peltier and other AIM members were involved in a shoot–out with members of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. Two FBI agents were killed during the shootout and Peltier was charged with their murder. He was convicted and sentenced to two life terms in prison.
Peltier has consistently maintained his innocence and his case has been the subject of much debate. Many believe that the evidence used to convict him was circumstantial and that he was unjustly convicted. In 2001, the United Nations Human Rights Commission called for a review of Peltier‘s case and in 2009 the United States Courts of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit denied his request for a new trial.
Leonard Peltier has been in prison for more than forty years and has become an international symbol of the struggle for Native American rights. He has become a folk hero to many and his case has been the subject of books, documentaries, and even a feature film. His supporters continue to fight for his release and for justice for all Native Americans.