Dennis Banks, American Indian activist, dies

  • Dennis Banks, co-founder of the American Indian Movement, joined a rally at Crissy Field on Feb. 12. Photo: Gabrielle Lurie, The Chronicle

  • Founder of "the longest walk", Dennis Banks (center), speaks during the kickoff of the walk at Crissy Field in San Francisco, California, on Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017. The walk, which goes from San Francisco to Washington D.C. is part of a project to end the drug and alcohol use on reservations. Photo: Gabrielle Lurie, The Chronicle



Picture: Gabrielle Lurie, The Chronicle

Dennis Banks, co-founder of the American Indian Motion, joined a rally at Crissy Discipline on Feb. 12.

Dennis Banks, co-founder of the American Indian Motion, joined a rally at Crissy Discipline on Feb. 12.


Picture: Gabrielle Lurie, The Chronicle


Founding father of “the longest stroll”, Dennis Banks (heart), speaks in the course of the kickoff of the stroll at Crissy Discipline in San Francisco, California, on Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017. The stroll, which matches from San Francisco to Washington D.C. is a part of a mission to finish the drug and alcohol use on reservations. much less
Founding father of “the longest stroll”, Dennis Banks (heart), speaks in the course of the kickoff of the stroll at Crissy Discipline in San Francisco, California, on Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017. The stroll, which matches from San Francisco to … extra


Picture: Gabrielle Lurie, The Chronicle

Dennis Banks, American Indian activist, dies


Dennis Banks, a co-founder of the American Indian Motion and a frontrunner of the 1973 Wounded Knee occupation, has died, his household introduced Monday. He was 80.

Mr. Banks was one in all a number of activists who based the American Indian Motion in Minneapolis in 1968, and he was a frontrunner of AIM’s armed takeover of Wounded Knee on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota in 1973, in a protest towards each the tribal and U.S. governments. The village had been the location of a bloodbath by U.S. troopers in 1890 that left an estimated 300 Indians useless. The occupiers held federal brokers at bay for 71 days.

Mr. Banks died Sunday night time, his household wrote on his Fb web page. He had developed pneumonia following coronary heart surgical procedure, and his household stated they honored his needs to not be placed on life help. Daughter Arrow Banks stated the household would have extra to say after a household badembly Monday.

Mr. Banks, whose Ojibwe identify was Nowacumig, lived close to the city of Federal Dam on the Leech Lake Reservation in northern Minnesota. His household stated that as Banks took his final breaths, son Minoh Banks sang him 4 songs for his journey.

“All of the household who have been current prayed over him and stated our particular person goodbyes,” the household stated. “Then we proudly sang him the AIM music as his remaining send-off.”

Mr. Banks and fellow AIM chief Russell Means confronted prices stemming from the Wounded Knee occupation, however a decide threw out the case. Nevertheless, Mr. Banks spent 18 months in jail within the 1980s after being convicted for rioting and badault for a protest in Custer, S.D., earlier in 1973. He prevented prosecution on these prices for a number of years as a result of California Gov. Jerry Brown refused to extradite him, and the Onondaga Nation in New York gave him sanctuary.

He was a part of a gaggle of AIM supporters who returned to Wounded Knee in 2003 to mark the 30th anniversary of the standoff, through which two Native Individuals died. Mr. Banks paid tribute to them as “warriors” and declared it “a nationwide vacation.” He was additionally there in 1998 for the 25th anniversary.

Mr. Banks additionally helped lead a takeover of the Bureau of Indian Affairs places of work in Washington, D.C., in 1972 as a part of a protest dubbed “The Path of Damaged Treaties.” And he was a participant within the 1969-71 occupation by Native Individuals of Alcatraz Island, the location of the previous jail in San Francisco Bay.

He returned to the Leech Lake Reservation within the late 1990s and based an organization that bought wild rice and maple syrup, buying and selling on his well-known identify.

In 2010, Mr. Banks joined a number of different Ojibwe from the Leech Lake and White Earth bands who examined their rights beneath an 1855 treaty by setting out nets illegally on Lake Bemidji a day earlier than Minnesota’s fishing season opener.

The Banks household stated funeral preparations have been nonetheless being finalized, however that he can be buried with conventional providers in his house neighborhood of Leech Lake.

Steve Karnowski is an Related Press author.


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