Ojibwa Warrior: Dennis Banks and the Rise of the American Indian Movement

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9780806135809: Ojibwa Warrior: Dennis Banks and the Rise of the American Indian Movement
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Dennis Banks, an American Indian of the Ojibwa Tribe and a founder of the American Indian Movement, is one of the most influential Indian leaders of our time. In Ojibwa Warrior, written with acclaimed writer and photographer Richard Erdoes, Banks tells his own story for the first time and also traces the rise of the American Indian Movement (AIM). The authors present an insider’s understanding of AIM protest events—the Trail of Broken Treaties march to Washington, D.C.; the resulting takeover of the BIA building; the riot at Custer, South Dakota; and the 1973 standoff at Wounded Knee. Enhancing the narrative are dramatic photographs, most taken by Richard Erdoes, depicting key people and events.

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From the Inside Flap:

Dennis Banks, an American Indian of the Ojibwa Tribe, is probably the most influential Indian leader of our time. In Ojibwa Warrior, written with acclaimed writer and photographer Richard Erdoes, Banks tells his own story for the very first time and reveals an inside look at the birth of the American Indian Movement.

Born in 1937 and raised by his grandparents on the Leach Lake reservation in Minnesota, Dennis Banks grew up learning traditional Ojibwa lifeways. As a young child he was torn from his home and forced to attend a government boarding school designed to assimilate Indian children into white culture. After years of being "white man-ized" in these repressive schools, Banks enlisted in the U.S. Air Force, shipping out to Japan when he was only seventeen years old.

After returning to the states, Banks lived in poverty in the Indian slums of Minnesota until he was arrested for stealing groceries to feed his growing family. Although his white accomplice was freed on probation, Banks was sent to prison. There he became determined to educate himself. Hearing about the African American struggle for civil rights, he recognized that American Indians must take up a similar fight. Upon his release, Banks became a founder of AIM, the American Indian Movement, which soon inspired Indians from many tribes to join the fight for American Indian rights. Through AIM, Banks sought to confront racism with activism rooted deeply in Native religion and culture.

Ojibwa Warrior relates Dennis Banks's inspiring life story and the story of the rise of AIM--from the 1972 "Trail of Broken Treaties" march to Washington, D.C., which ended in the occupation of the Bureau of Indian Affairs building, to the 1973 standoff at Wounded Knee, when Lakota Indians and AIM activists from all over the country occupied the site of the infamous 1890 massacre of three hundred Sioux men, women, and children to protest the bloodshed and corruption at the Pine Ridge Lakota reservation.

Banks tells the inside story of the seventy-one day siege, his unlikely nighttime escape and interstate flight, and his eventual shootout with authorities at an FBI roadblock in Oregon. Pursued and hunted, he managed to reach California. There, authorities refused to extradite him to South Dakota, where the attorney general had declared that the best thing to do with Dennis Banks was to "put a bullet through his head."

Years later, after a change in state government, Banks gave himself up to South Dakota authorities. Sentenced to two years in prison, he was paroled after serving one year to teach students Indian history at the Lone Man school at Pine Ridge. Since then, Dennis Banks has organized "Sacred Runs" for young people, teaching American Indian ways, religion, and philosophy worldwide. Now operating a successful business on the reservation, he continues the fight for Indian rights.

This account is enhanced by dramatic photographs, most taken by Richard Erdoes, of key people and events from the narrative.

About the Author:

Dennis Banks has been an activist, counselor, teacher, and consultant on American Indian rights. He now owns a natural foods company in Minnesota that follows the traditions of his youth. Richard Erdoes, Dennis's friend for more than thirty years, has written many books on American Indians. His book Lakota Woman won an American Book Award and was made into a film for television. An award-winning photographer and illustrator, he participated in many of the marches and events that brought AIM to worldwide attention.

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Banks, Dennis, Erdoes, Richard
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Dennis Banks; Richard Erdoes
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ISBN 10: 0806135808 ISBN 13: 9780806135809
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