Remembering Clyde Bellecourt: Making Sure We Had Money for a Meal on Our Way Home from Standing Rock
January 14, 2022
It was a blustery Monday in North Dakota during the first week of December in 2016. Strong Great Plains winds pushed my body down the hill from the highway back into the Oceti Sakowin Camp at Standing Rock. Around noon, after covering a march with hundreds of veterans, word spread through the camp that highways were closed and everyone there had to stay until the blizzard ended. Frustration came over me because there was no internet and I could not post stories to Native News Online. I thought the rest of the day would be wasted.
My frustration was short-lived when I saw Clyde Bellecourt (White Earth Ojibwe), one of the cofounders of the American Indian Movement (AIM), sitting in the Michigan tent. I quickly got some hot soup for lunch and sat down next to Bellecourt. I asked if I could interview him, and he immediately agreed. Problem solved. Even with no internet, I could work because I knew Bellecourt was always full of insight and wisdom.
During our conversation, he told me-as Dennis Banks, another AIM cofounder had told me numerous times previously-he was worried that there were no leaders to pick up the fight after the original AIM leaders would pass away.