Dennis Banks, co-founder of the American Indian Movement at Oceti Sakowin on Tuesday, February 21, 2017.
Published February 21, 2017
CANNON BALL, NORTH DAKOTA – With the deadline to leave the Oceti Sakowin camp just hours away, Dennis Banks, the co-founder of the American Indian Movement, told water protectors at the encampment to they should do what they feel is right in their hearts to do.
“I know tomorrow many of you will leave this camp that you have called home for months. I will only tell you to do what is right in your heart,” Banks told a group of those still at the encampment. “Some of you will go to your original homes and some will choose to move to different camps near here.”
The Oceti Sakowin camp needs to be evacuated no later than February 22 in order to allow private contractors to accelerate the removal of waste from the camp, according to an executive order signed by North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum last week.
Standing in front of a military tent with the sounds of heavy equipment in the background, Banks told the assembled crowd they can be proud they were at Standing Rock to show to the world the resistance they made to fight big oil.
“Thirty years from now, your young grandchildren will ask you about Standing Rock. You can tell them with pride, you were here. We were here being who we are,” Banks stated.
He recounted his experiences with Russell Means and other members of the American Indian Movement, being at Wounded Knee in 1973.
“I feel honored, being here at Standing Rock. Besides being at the birth of my children, one of the most honorable things I have done in my life is being here at Standing Rock,” Banks continued.
“We should let it be known: Make no mistake America, we are going to be on your back,” Banks said as he was concluding his remarks to the water protectors.