Dennis Banks, and the Wounded Knee Occupation

On Sunday, October 29, 2017, the world said goodbye to Dennis James Banks.

Dennis Banks, alongside Clyde and Vernon Bellacourt, helped establish the American Indian Movement (AIM) in the 1960s to protest against the treatment of Native Americans. His character earned him quite a reputation and helped place AIM in the forefront of Indian activism. Banks played a major role in the Wounded Knee Occupation. After Wounded Knee, Banks was declared a fugitive for many years until he decided to turn himself in for a sentence of 14 months. Throughout his life, Banks used his position in Indian Civil Rights to help many Native Americans out of horrible conditions.

Information on the Wounded Knee Occupation

In February 1973, hundreds of individuals belonging to the Ogalala Lakota Nation and American Indian Movement occupied the Wounded Knee Township on Pine Ridge Reservation. After a 10-week stand-off causing casualties, negotiations disbanded the protest.

Wounded Knee, a historical site of conflict during the American Indian Wars, gained large amounts of attention for human rights and anti-war movements from the public .

To learn more about Wounded Knee, read information provided last year by Brian Hosmer, H.G. Barnard Chair of Western American History, University of Oklahoma.

The Special Collection and University Archives Kent Frizzell (1978.008) collection contains correspondence, photographs, and other materials documenting the Wounded Knee Occupation in South Dakota in 1973. Frizzell, a Tulsa resident, was Assistant General of the Land and Natural Resources Division and became the chief government negotiator during this period. We are very appreciative to have received this collection from Frizzell during his time as a University of Tulsa law professor and Director of the National Energy Law and Policy Institute (NELPI).

Our collections are available for viewing in the Special Collections Satin Room from 8 am – 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday.

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