by Levi Rickert[Reposted from http://nativenewsonline.net/currents/dennis-banks-calls-reinvigorating-american-indian-movement/]
SISSETON WAHPETON OYATE TERRITORY— Dennis Banks, one of the founders of the American Indian Movement (AIM), believes it is time to give the organization that was formed in 1968 new life.
Last week, Banks released a news statement calling for the reinvigoration the American Indian Movement. The statement, in part, reads:
“During the last 33 years the American Indian Movement has not had a national meeting. Many issues which have direct impact on Native people and land have not been addressed, nor have there been any policies in these formulated from AIM or AIM chapters to take action on:
Issues such as the XL pipeline;
The issue of non-compliance of several states that are not complying with ICWA (the Indian Child Welfare Act) or
The non-compliance of the many states that are not complying with the Native American Grave Protection and Repatriation Act.”
To reinvigorate AIM, Banks, 77, has called for a national and international gathering of AIM families, chapters, support groups and individuals to meet during the first week of October 2014 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
“It’s an invitation to a lot of people to come together to reinvigorate AIM. We have to have a voice. With where we are today, we should be more professional and be issuing statements on Native issues, such as ICWA,” Banks commented to the Native News Online.
“The Green Bay chapter of AIM will be hosting this meeting,” Banks said. “I have AIM chapters asking me all the time why AIM is not meeting on these issues. As a matter of fact, it was the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate grassroots group that has been pushing for this.”
The statement also cited the ill-effects of alcohol and drugs on the American Indian people. The statement said the alcohol and drug epidemics are “threatening the sovereignty and spirituality of our people.”
The American Indian Movement was started when a group of American Indians living in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota came together to protest the police brutality in the Twin City area in 1968. AIM gained national prominence during early 1970s.
After forming the organization, Banks served as the national field director of AIM.