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.
The book is published by University of Oklahoma Press.
"A compelling account of one of the most influential Indian leaders in the United States... this volume (is) an important addition to this history of Native American and civil rights movements in the United States. (Publishers Weekly)
"For readers who can recall the spotty media coverage of these events, this powerful litany of AIM's accomplishments is especially provocative." (Booklist)
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By the numbers bio
This is a straightforward autobiography of Dennis Banks, one of the founders of the American Indian Movement (AIM). I was intrigued both by the title and the subject matter but knew little about Banks or AIM. Ojibwa Warrior does a good job of educating the listener about Banks, from his childhood through the 1970’s culminating in the militant standoff at Wounded Knee (and a bit beyond). It reads in a straightforward connect-the- dots sort of way, highlighting Banks’ personal and professional tribulations while never taking its eye off of the broader context of Indian/First Nations struggle for equal rights and autonomy. Some of the confrontations with the government, Banks’ at times semi-outlaw existence, as well as his experiences as a child (and forced removal from his family and culture) are rendered in great detail. Another plus are the many fascinating details Banks offers about Indian/First Nations culture. The competent narration is subdued and smartly lets events speak for themselves. Despite all this, I nevertheless found the narrative a bit too mechanical in a “first this happened and then this happened and then this happened” sort of way. I wouldn’t call it dry but it lacked a certain intimacy that would connect the listener emotionally with Banks and his struggles/aims. In this way, Ojibwa Warrior is educational but not inspirational which is a shame given Banks’ life/work
so significant at this time.
- Radiah Vera