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

Dennis Banks, Author, Richard Erdoes, With
Dennis Banks, Author, Richard Erdoes, With University of Oklahoma Press $29.95 (362p) ISBN 978-0-8061-3580-9
Reviewed on: 05/01/2004
Release date: 05/01/2004
Paperback - 352 pages - 978-0-8061-3691-2
Hardcover - 375 pages - 978-0-8061-8082-3
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A compelling account of one of the most influential Indian leaders in the United States, this autobiography describes how Banks was taken from his family as a young child and placed into a government boarding school by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) in an attempt to""acculturate"" him. Nine years later, he returned to the Ojibwa""rez"" only to find that he had forgotten his native Anishinabe language and many of his culture's traditions.""My teachers ... had made me into an 'apple'--red outside but white inside."" Nonetheless, Banks stayed for two years, reconnecting with family and relearning skills like rabbit trapping, before he joined the Air Force in search of""three meals and warm place to sleep."" When he returned from his tour in Japan in the late 1950s, he re-experienced the prejudice, brutality and poverty that were preying upon his people in America. Angered by what he saw, Banks founded the American Indian Movement (AIM) with the help of his friends. His retelling of these events reads as seamlessly as a great campfire story (or a well-edited oral transcript). He takes readers deep inside the traditional Sun Dances and Sweat Houses of his Ojibwa Tribe and deep into the action of the Trail of Broken Treaties--a peaceful march on Washington that turned into a historic, six-day takeover of the BIA headquarters. Bank's 11-year run from the FBI, his many wives and children and the strategies of AIM all find their place in his winding narrative, making this volume an important addition to this history of Native American and civil rights movements in the United States. 73 b&w photos.
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