American Indian Movement founder Dennis Banks dead at 80


(Reuters) – Civil rights activist Dennis Banks, who co-based the American Indian Motion that pushed for indigenous rights in the course of the Nineteen Sixties and ‘70s, died in his native Minnesota, his household stated on Monday. He was eighty.

Banks gained nationwide recognition through the 1973 armed standoff between Native American activists and federal authorities at Wounded Knee, South Dakota, on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

The seventy two-day siege, a protest towards tribal officers accused of corruption and the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs, left two occupiers lifeless, a federal marshal paralyzed and quite a few others injured.

Wounded Knee had been the location of an 1890 bloodbath of greater than 300 Oglala Lakota males, ladies and youngsters by U.S. Cavalry troops.

Federal prosecutors charged Banks and one other AIM chief, Russell Means, with conspiracy and different offenses associated to the siege. The fees have been finally dismissed.

Banks later served 14 months in jail on assault and rioting convictions, stemming from a separate incident at a courthouse in Custer, South Dakota.

“Our father Dennis J. Banks began his journey to the spirit world … on Oct. 29, 2017,” his youngsters and grandchildren stated in a press release. “All of the household who have been current prayed over him and stated our particular person goodbyes.”

Banks died from pneumonia on the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, after open-coronary heart surgical procedure this month, his daughter Tashina Banks Rama advised the New York Occasions.

A spokeswoman for the Mayo Clinic stated she couldn’t affirm the report.

Born on the Leech Lake Indian Reservation of the Ojibwa Tribe, also referred to as the Chippewa, in northern Minnesota, Banks grew up impoverished in a house with no electrical energy, operating water or indoor plumbing.

“I used to be not born in a hospital however on a creaking bedstead in my grandparents’ home,” he wrote in his 2004 autobiography, “Ojibwa Warrior.”

He was educated at a authorities-run boarding faculty for Native American youngsters, and in 1954 joined the U.S. Air Drive.

After his discharge from the army, Banks moved to the Minneapolis-St. Paul space. In 1966, he was arrested and despatched to jail after stealing groceries to feed his household, he wrote in his memoir.

Whereas in jail, Banks based the American Indian Motion, or AIM, with different imprisoned Native People. The group turned probably the most influential advocacy organizations on the peak of the civil rights motion in america.

Reporting by Keith Coffman in Denver;…



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