There are some people in history that have impressed upon me that no matter where they came from..poverty and alcoholism…one can change their direction and become a voice for their people.
Dennis Banks was such a man.
Whilst in prison, he had a moment of clarity that changed his life. He decided he would devote his life to the defense and empowerment of his people.
It was an inner resurrection. Something that had ended or had been forgotten or lost… existing once again.
With Oglala Sioux Russell Means and Ojibwe Clyde Bellecourt, they formed the bold and militant American Indian Movement.
From defending previously voiceless Native Americans, beaten or killed in small towns, or taking over the Bureau of Indian Affairs in Washington, to mounting an armed occupation of the town of Wounded Knee, S.D., on the Pine Ridge Reservation.
We had reached a point in history where we could not tolerate the abuse any longer, where mothers could not tolerate the mistreatment that goes on on the reservations any longer, where they could not see another Indian youngster die.
He was a socialist. A feminist. A thoughtful intellectual. A warrior. He was one of the most influential Indian leaders of our time.
He died from complications of pneumonia following recent open-heart surgery. He was 80.
Please read these obituaries for a detailing of his life, exploits and passing..
When you have a spiritual foundation, you look at poverty differently then.
Since the beginning, Native Peoples lived a life of being in harmony with all that surrounds us. It is a belief that all humankind are related to each other. Each has a purpose, spirit and sacredness. It is an understanding with the Great Spirit or Creator that we will follow these ways. And in this understanding we believe we are related to all other living species…
Brother….. Aho Mitakuye Oyasin.