American Indian Movement Leader Dennis Banks Dies


Dennis J. Banks, co-founder of the American Indian movement, has died of Pneumonia.  

Banks was 80 years old, with the news being officially announced on Facebook by his children and grandchildren:

Our father Dennis J. Banks started his journey to the spirit world at 10:10 pm on October 29, 2017.

As he took his last breaths, Minoh sang him four songs for his journey. All the family who were present prayed over him and said our individual goodbyes. Then we proudly sang him the AIM song as his final send off.

Our father will be laid to rest in his home community of Leech Lake, MN. Presiding over traditional services will be Terry Nelson. We welcome all who would like to pay respects. As soon as arrangements are finalized, we will post details.

Still Humbly Yours,

The children and grandchildren of Nowacumig

Tashina Minoh Banks Arrow Banks DeeDee Banks Tokala Win BanksGlenda Roberts Darla Banks Tatanka Banks - (original post on Facebook)

Friends and supporters of Banks posted a slew of memorial photos, quotes and tributes on Twitter:

Banks was mostly known for his Native American activism in the late 1960s, which was prone to violent demonstrations.  

Militant activism

His dedication to the Native American cause led to uprisings and occupations.  

Two of the most notorious events in which Banks served as a key player were the 19-month occupation of Alcatraz in 1969 and his seizure and occupation of Wounded Knee, South Dakota in 1973.

The Wounded Knee incident involved some 200 activists occupying the town of Wounded Knee, South Dakota, where the famous 1890 "Battle of Wounded Knee" took place.  It lasted 71 days, and was a response to the federal government's lack of honoring Native American treaties.

Prison time and the Longest Walk

Banks served 18 months in prison in the 1980s for incitement and assault at a riotous 1973 protest.  

After he was released, he established "the Longest Walk" in 1978:  a five-month spiritual walk from California to Washington D.C. designed to support tribal sovereignty and bring attention to 11 counts of anti-Native American legislation.  

Thirty years later in 2008, a second Longest Walk was held, this time focusing on green living and initiatives.


Learn more about Dennis J. Banks:

And read more about his illustrious life over at NPR.


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