Born in 1937 and raised by his grandparents on the Leach Lake reservation in Minnesota, Dennis Banks grew up learning traditional Ojibwa lifeways. As a young child he was torn from his home and forced to attend a government boarding school designed to assimilate Indian children into white culture. After years of being "white man-ized" in these repressive schools, Banks enlisted in the U.S. Air Force, shipping out to Japan when he was only seventeen years old.
After returning to the states, Banks lived in poverty in the Indian slums of Minnesota until he was arrested for stealing groceries to feed his growing family. Although his white accomplice was freed on probation, Banks was sent to prison. There he became determined to educate himself. Hearing about the African American struggle for civil rights, he recognized that American Indians must take up a similar fight. Upon his release, Banks became a founder of AIM, the American Indian Movement, which soon inspired Indians from many tribes to join the fight for American Indian rights. Through AIM, Banks sought to confront racism with activism rooted deeply in Native religion and culture.
Ojibwa Warrior relates Dennis Banks's inspiring life story and the story of the rise of AIM - from the 1972 "Trail of Broken Treaties" march to Washington, D.C., which ended in the occupation of the Bureau of Indian Affairs building, to the 1973 standoff at Wounded Knee, when Lakota Indians and AIM activists from all over the country occupied the site of the infamous 1890 massacre of three hundred Sioux men, women, and children to protest the bloodshed and corruption at the Pine Ridge Lakota reservation.
Banks tells the inside story of the seventy-one-day siege, his unlikely nighttime escape and interstate flight, and his eventual shootout with authorities at an FBI roadblock in Oregon. Pursued and hunted, he managed to reach California. There, authorities refused to extradite him to South Dakota, where the attorney genera...
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