“The first white people, at least of historical record, to enter Round Valley, on the first day they were there, killed approximately 40 indigenous people…. In a way, that set the tone. I believe in my heart that what we’re dealing with here and in Bear’s case has it’s roots firmly in the past. We need to confront the community as a whole and confront how our white community deals with the Round Valley community and the other Native American communities. We can’t heal the past unless we address the present” –Phil DeJong, Bear Lincoln’s attorney
This recent case of injustice toward a Native American man and community demands our attention. On August 16th, 1995, Bear Lincoln turned himself over to the police with a ceremony and stating “Leonard Peters and I were ambushed. I’m here to prove my innocence”.
On April 14, 1995, three homicides occurred in the rural Mendocino County area of Covelo and the adjacent Round Valley Indian Reservation. On that afternoon, an Indian man, Gene Britton was fatally shot by Arylis Peters, another Indian resident of Round Valley. Mendocino County sheriff’s deputies responded. At approximately 9:30pm deputies Davis and Miller took up a position with their vehicles on a fire road near the Lincoln family residence. Leonard Acorn Peters, the brother of Arylis Peters, was shot dead by the two deputies. In the exchange of gunfire which ensued, deputy Davis was shot and killed.
In a statement made within hours of the shooting, deputy Miller stated that he saw only one person (Acorn) approach the deputies’ position. Miller said Acorn aimed and fired a rifle at the deputies and that he was killed by return fire. Shortly after Miller made this statement, investigators at the scene determined that Acorn’s rifle had never been fired. In a transparent attempt to cover his own tracks. Miller issued a second statement three days later in which he stated that he saw two individuals approach the deputies’ position. This second statement gave the prosecution a way to assert that Bear Lincoln had initiated the gunfire and to cover up their ambush of an innocent Indian man. Whereupon law enforcement began a reign of terror targeting Indian reservations and rancherias throughout Mendocino County looking for Bear Lincoln.
What you can do: Jury selection began on April 15, 1997. It is important to demonstrate that the entire community is aware of Bears’s case and concerned to see that he receives a fair trial. Your attendance in court shows this support and concern. To get on the mailing list to be notified of activities and court dates and also to donate to Bear’s defense, write to: Bear Lincoln Defense Committee, Pier 5, The Embarcadero, San Francisco, CA 94111. For more info call Round Valley Indians for Justice (707) 983-8098. To help feed Bear’s five Appaloosa horses send contributions to Lucille Lincoln Box 795 Covelo, CA 95428