Dennis
Banks was a Native American from the Chippewa clan, and was an activist,
teacher and author. Banks was a co-founder of The American Indian Movement
(AIM), with Russel Means and Clyde Bellecourt. AIM was formed in 1968 with the
purpose of supporting fellow Native Americans and bringing to light the unfair
federal policies and practices against them. This was done by takeovers and
occupations. Sadly, Banks passed away on October 30, 2017.

            Banks was born on April 12, 1937, on
an Indian Reservation located in Leech Lake, Minnesota. At the age of five,
Banks was uprooted and sent to a series of schools ran by the Bureau of Indian
Affairs (BIA). These schools, “…sought to Christianize or “civilize” their
pupils” (encyclopedia.com). To “civilize” the students, the schools downplayed
or made the students forget about their Native American culture. Due to this
Banks lost the ability to speak his native language. After his graduation from
the BIA schools at the age of 19, Banks entered the US Air Force. Banks was
released from his service sometime in the late 1950s. Upon his release Banks
returned home to Minnesota, upon his return, Banks had a hard time adjusting and
fell into a cycle of “poverty, unemployment, alcoholism and crime.” In a quote
from Banks on encyclopedia.com he states, ‘”I was heading down a road that was
filled with wine, whiskey, and booze” Banks later recalled. “Then I ended up in
prison”‘ (encyclopedia.com). 

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