Ojibwa Warrior: Dennis Banks and the Rise of the American Indian Movement

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Overview

Dennis Banks, an American Indian of the Ojibwa Tribe and a founder of the American Indian Movement, is one of the most influential Indian leaders of our time. In Ojibwa Warrior, written with acclaimed writer and photographer Richard Erdoes, Banks tells his own story for the first time and also traces the rise of the American Indian Movement (AIM). The authors present an insider’s understanding of AIM protest events—the Trail of Broken Treaties march to Washington, D.C.; the resulting takeover of the BIA building;...

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Ojibwa Warrior: Dennis Banks and the Rise of the American Indian Movement

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Overview

Dennis Banks, an American Indian of the Ojibwa Tribe and a founder of the American Indian Movement, is one of the most influential Indian leaders of our time. In Ojibwa Warrior, written with acclaimed writer and photographer Richard Erdoes, Banks tells his own story for the first time and also traces the rise of the American Indian Movement (AIM). The authors present an insider’s understanding of AIM protest events—the Trail of Broken Treaties march to Washington, D.C.; the resulting takeover of the BIA building; the riot at Custer, South Dakota; and the 1973 standoff at Wounded Knee. Enhancing the narrative are dramatic photographs, most taken by Richard Erdoes, depicting key people and events.

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Editorial Reviews

KLIATT
At the time when the push for African American racial justice and the campaign to end American involvement in the war in Vietnam were shaking the nation, American Indians also sought to right grievances that had long haunted them. In this autobiographical account, Dennis Banks, one of the leaders of a group called the American Indian Movement, opened his eyes to the possibility for dignity and freedoms enjoyed by other citizens but, incredibly, denied to America's first residents. This book is both a history of AIM and the story of Banks's personal quest. Banks provides a valuable perspective on the fight for autonomy that took place in the 1960s and 1970s, and into the 1980s. He tells of the "lack of spiritual connection" among Native Indians and how it led to the revival of the Sweat Lodge, which helped them to reestablish that connection; he gives an account of the Sun Dance, long outlawed, which he describes as a rite of healing and survival, a "ceremony that transcends all others." He tells of his own participation in both of these ceremonies. He also informs readers about the Ghost Dance, which came into existence as white settlers and armies increased pressure on the Native American way of life. Using the tools of civil disobedience they had observed in the fight for African American equality, they fought to reclaim ancestral lands and sacred sites such as the Black Hills and fought restrictions on hunting and fishing rights. He and other Indian leaders led the campaign against the "lack of power, our inability to run our own lives," and the control the Bureau of Indian Affairs continued to exercise on them. They challenged the disdain for treaties by the government, limitations(some of them social) on where Indians could go, and police brutality very much like that visited on black Americans. Banks gives an interesting description of the 1973 Wounded Knee shootings. He spent time in prison, but has been released. This is an absorbing, well-written book, a useful Indian perspective on the life-changing events of the 20th century. KLIATT Codes: SA--Recommended for senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2004, Univ. of Oklahoma Press, 362p. illus., Ages 15 to adult.
—Edna Boardman
Library Journal
The American Indian Movement's (AIM) initial purpose upon its founding in 1968 was to protect the civil rights of Native Americans living in urban areas. Its scope quickly expanded as AIM turned to the problems of native peoples throughout the United States, especially on reservations. Banks, one of the founders of AIM, details the emergence of the organization and its national leaders, including Russell Means, Clyde Bellecourt, and George Mitchell. He also examines events that grabbed national headlines, such as the 1969-71 occupation of Alcatraz and the 1973 standoff at Wounded Knee. Evident throughout is the belief that tribal governments aided the federal government in oppressing native peoples; in order for true reform to occur, entrenched accommodationist tribal leadership would have to be uprooted. Particularly enlightening is Banks's discussion of the role of spiritual leaders within AIM. Their vital role in the organization is often overlooked in discussions of AIM's activities. This autobiographical account by an important Native American leader is highly recommended for public and academic libraries.-John Burch, Campbellsville Univ. Lib., KY Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780806136912
  • Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/2005
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 587,712
  • Product dimensions: 5.94 (w) x 8.62 (h) x 0.82 (d)

Meet the Author

Dennis Banks has been an activist, counselor, teacher, and consultant on American Indian rights. He now owns a natural foods company in Federal Dam, Minnesota, that follows the traditions of his youth.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations ix
1. A Night to Remember 3
2. At the Center of the Universe 12
3. The Yellow Bus 24
4. Interlude 32
5. Machiko 43
6. We AIM Not to Please 58
7. Crow Dog 95
8. On the Warpath 105
9. Yellow Thunder 114
10. Fishing in Troubled Waters 121
11. One Hell of a Smoke Signal 126
12. The Town with the Gunsmoke Flavor 145
13. A Place Called Wounded Knee 157
14. The Siege 167
15. A Nation Reborn 181
16. The Stand Down 196
17. The Waters of Justice Have Been Polluted 210
18. The Symbionese Liberation Army 228
19. The Informer 266
20. Fields of Terror 284
21. Outlawed 299
22. Exile 312
23. Onondaga 329
24. Freedom 338
25. Suddenly I Am an "Elder" 348
26. Looking Back 354
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 18, 2007

    REAL ... American History!

    Ojibwa Warrior was hard to put down. It was one of the few books I have read that evoked every single emotion I hold. From sorrow and tears to rage and disgust so strong, it literally stoked my adrenaline. It is important to get what is REAL American History - told, taught or reminded ... whatever should be the case. But more importantly, it is way past time for change ... Fantastic job Dennis, absolutely fantastic.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 31, 2004

    Fantastic and about time!

    Boo-zhoo Everyone! If you are looking for a great book about the number one modern Native hero, this is it. I was so looking forward to getting this book and it was all I hoped it would be. Highly recommended, great read, especially if you want to know about Wounded Knee.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2013

    Good book

    This is an amazing book. I would recommed reading it if you are interested in the Native American struggles.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2005

    Outstanding book

    I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the American Indian Moevement or otherwise known as AIM. This book is told through the eyes of Dennis Banks. It has everything you ever wanted to know about Dennis Banks and his life. Great book for anyone who wants to learn about AIM!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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