AIM Leader Dennis Banks to Undergo Open Heart Surgery on Wednesday

Suquamish Vice-Chairman Bardow Lews, Chairman Leonard Forsman, Dennis Banks, Masao Yamamoto

AIM co-founder Dennis Banks

Published October 17, 2017

LEECH LAKE INDIAN RESERVATION – Dennis Banks, co-founder of the American Indian Movement, will undergo open heart surgery on Wednesday. Banks, 80, has been ill in recent weeks and was hosptialized last month.

After consultation with a medical team, it was decided Banks needs to have heart surgery. He is currently in a prayer cereomony.

His daugther, Tashina Rama released the following statement late this afternoon:

“Wophila for the prayers and the many positive messages wishing Dad good health. My brother Minoh Banks and I have shared hundreds of messages with Dad and they have lifted his spirits tremendously over the last month.

Today Dad is prepping for open heart bypass surgery that will take place tomorrow on Wednesday, October 18, 2017. The surgery will significantly improve the function of his heart which will restore his ability to live a full and active life.

Our family is deeply grateful that one of Dad’s spiritual leaders Terry Nelson has traveled a great distance to be with us tonight and lead a pipe ceremony with Dad on the eve of this important surgery.

Please pray with us tonight and thru tomorrow that Tunkasila, our Creator, guides the surgeon’s hands perfectly to restore Dad’s heart to strong and healthy function. Please also pray that Dad’s heart accepts the procedures so that Dad may continue to live vibrantly.

Humbly and respectfully we ask these things in the Spirit of Our Ancestors,”

Tashina Wanbli Win

Banks co-founded the American Indian Movement in 1968 in the Minneapolis-St. Paul twin city area. At the tail-end of the Civil Rights Movement, AIM became a powerful force in Indian Country bringing attention to the dismal living conditions American Indians faced in the United States. In 1973, Banks led a group of AIM members to takeover Wounded Knee, which lasted for 71 days.

Dennis Banks addresses Suquamish Nation.

In recent years, Banks has traveled extensively across the United States as a leading advocate for rights for American Indian people. Banks visited Standing Rock several times during the resistance to the Dakota Access pipeline.

“We are related, we are children of this planet that we call Mother Earth” Banks said at his last public appearance at the Suquamish Nation with the Mother Earth Tour in September.

May you keep our relative Dennis Banks and his family in your thoughts and prayers, for we are all related.


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