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Dennis Banks (1937–), an Anishinaabe born on April 12, 1937, at the Leech Lake Ojibwe Reservation in Minnesota, was one of the founders of the American Indian Movement (AIM) in 1968. The organization's initial purpose was to protect the civil rights of Native Americans residing in urban areas. With Banks as one of its primary leaders, the organization's scope quickly expanded as AIM turned its attention to the plight of Native Americans throughout the United States, especially those living on reservations.
In 1967 Banks was sent to Minnesota's Stillwater State Prison for a parole violation. While incarcerated, he spent his time studying the African civil rights movement and the history of treaties between Native American groups and the federal government. The knowledge gained during this period ...