APRIL 12, 1937


Born on the Leech Lake Reservation in Minnesota, Banks, whose Ojibwe name meant “In the Center of the Universe,” helped found the American Indian Movement (AIM) in 1968.  With AIM, he participated in/organized:  the Alcatraz Island occupation (1969-71); Thanksgiving “Day of Mourning” at Plymouth Rock (1970); “Trail of Broken Treaties” caravan to Washington, D.C. and Department of the Interior occupation (1972); Custer, S.D. courthouse confrontation (1973); and 71-day Wounded Knee occupation (1973).  Convicted in 1975 of rioting and assault in the courthouse confrontation, he fled to California, but eventually served 14 months in prison in the 1980s.  Banks later appeared in several movies including The Last of the Mohicans.  He organized the 2006 “Sacred Run,” from Alcatraz to Washington, DC, and participated in the International “Longest Walk 2” following the same path.  In 2016, he was vice presidential nominee of the California Peace and Freedom Party.  He died October 29, 2017, in Rochester, Minnesota.

Source:  Robert D. McFadden, "Dennis Banks, American Indian Civil Rights Leader, Dies at 80,"  The New York Times, 10/30/2017.  Retrieved 6/27/2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/30/obituaries/dennis-banks-dead.html
Photo:  Nita Lind, 4/20/2013 (cropped).  Permissive use under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en

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