Dennis Banks in Grand Rapids signing “A Good Day To Die” DVD’s
WYOMING, MICHIGAN – Sitting in a circle at the Paul Collins Art Gallery inside the Marge’s Donut Den, Dennis Banks recounted several stories about growing up in an era he humorously referred to as “BC – Before Casinos.”
Banks, who co-founded the American Indian Movement, told the story of being taken by authorities from his family home when only five-years-old and placed in an Indian boarding school. He would not see his mother again for five years. He thought she had abandoned him.
“Sixty years after I was in a boarding school, my boarding school file was discovered in a federal respository. Included were about ten letters my mother had sent to the boarding school. I was never given those letters while I was there. I really thought she had abandoned me,” recalled Banks.
Dennis Banks reflects on many years of American Indian advocacy
“We were not allowed to speak our Native language. We learned about other Americans. We were not taught about our own people,” said Banks to a group that included American Indians and non-Native people. “A lot of people don’t know these stories.”
“This is an education we need to learn about in schools. I never heard that Indian children were taken out of their homes and placed in boarding schools,” commented Kim Turner, from Wyoming, Michigan, a suburb of Grand Rapids.
After his talk to the circle, Banks signed copies of “A Good Day to Die: The Movement that Started a Revolution and Inspired a Nation.”
Banks is Ojibwe, who lives on the Leech Lake Indian Reservation near Walker, Minnesota.
He will be back at the gallery on Sunday to sign more copies of the “A Good Day to Die” DVD.
Watch a trailer of the film here A Good Day To Die
Dennis Banks in Grand Rapids signing A Good Day To Die DVD’s
Editor’s Note: Arthur Jacobs contributed to this story from San Francisco. Native News Online photographs by Levi Rickert in Grand Rapids.