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AIM leader will speak at BSC symposium

Published: Oct 01 2015

Clyde Bellecourt
Bismarck State college announces Clyde Bellecourt as a presenter during BSC's three-day symposium, "The ‘60s: Turmoil and Transformation," Nov. 3-5 in the National Energy Center of Excellence.

Bellecourt founded the national American Indian Movement (AIM) with Dennis Banks, George Mitchell, Harold Goodsky, Eddie Benton Banai, Herb Powless and others in Minneapolis, Minn., on July 28, 1968.

His confirmation completes the symposium's roster of acclaimed national speakers and North Dakotans involved in issues of the time. He will speak at 12:30 p.m. Nov. 5 on origins of the American Indian Movement.

Bellecourt, whose Ojibwe name is Nee Gon Nway Wee Dung (thunder before the storm), helped form AIM to create change and economic independence for Native Americans apart from government-imposed institutions and education that left out native culture and spirituality.

As an AIM leader, Bellecourt was involved in two major confrontations in the 1970s. He and others coordinated a peaceful march on Washington D.C. to demand the end of corruption and mismanagement by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. He organized of the 71-day occupation of Wounded Knee, S.D., to call attention to numerous unsolved murders there and to protest poor living conditions.

Bellecourt has spoken before the United Nations and other international forums. He founded or co-founded numerous AIM institutions to help Native Americans. They include Heart of the Earth Survival School, the first culture-based education program in American, the Legal Rights Center, Minneapolis Indian Health Board, the American Indian Opportunities Industrialization Center, and the International Indian Treaty Council.

Other presenters at the three-day symposium include Pulitzer Prize winner Lawrence Wright on growing up in the 1960s, author Rick Perlstein on the Nixon presidency, journalist Andrew Chaikin on the space race, documentary producer Lynn Novick and military historian Geoffrey Wawro on the Vietnam War, renowned Beatles historian and author Mark Lewisohn, national television expert Mary Ann Watson, environmental writer Mark H. Lytle, and feminist icon Gloria Steinem via recorded interview with symposium moderator Clay Jenkinson.

Entertainers coming are game show host Bob Eubanks, Dawn Wells (Mary Ann in "Gilligan's Island"), and The New Christy Minstrels. For more information about the symposium or to register, go to the 1960s website.

About Bismarck State College
Bismarck State College, an innovative community college in Bismarck, N.D., offers high quality education, workforce training, and enrichment programs reaching local and global communities.