Dennis J. Banks Dies at 80


The American Indian Movement founder has died. Dennis J. Banks will be remembered as the Chippewa militant who established the movement back in 1968. While the American Indian Movement might sound like a violent organization, it’s a non-violent organization that he established with the aim of protecting the treatment of Native Americans. At the same time, it was the aim of the movement to address the historical injustices that Native Americans had suffered over the years. It was confirmed on Sunday that the human right activist died on Sunday while receiving treatment at Mayo Clinic located in Rochester, Minnesota. He died at the age of 80. Report about his death was further confirmed by his daughter Tashina Bank Rama. While addressing reporters, she said that he died from complications that were caused by pneumonia. At the same time, she said that Mr. Banks had undergone surgery the previous week. It was an open-heart-surgery and was conducted at the same clinic. Before his death, he used to live on Leech Lake Reservation. This also happens to be the place where he was born and raised. Since the Crazy Horse and Sitting Horse, Mr. Banks and a friend known as Russell Means were perhaps the most prominent Native Americans of the 70s.

Life for Mr. Banks wasn’t that easy. For instance, he had to fight alienation which was as a result of ancestor’s fate, alcoholism, and poverty. These are issues that caused mass disorders that dangerously degenerated to shootouts and eventually deaths. He is a man who went to jail for assault and riot. At the same time, he was convicted of burglary and lived a life on the road for nine years. After seeking sanctuary in New York and California, he eventually surrendered and was sent to prison for 14 months. He led a number of American Indian wars including the Bureau of Indian Affairs in Washington six-day takeover and Wounded Knee 71-day occupation. He will be remembered for organizing the Trails of Broken Treaties back in 1972. This is a protest that managed to bring together over 500 Native American protestors in Washington. They complained about the lost treaty rights and the poor living standards that were subjected to the Indians. Mr. Banks was born on 12th April 1937. While he never had the chance of meeting his father, he was raised by his grandparents after he was abandoned by his mother. He went to several government schools as a teenager.


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