Clyde Bellecourt

Clyde Howard Bellecourt (born May 8, 1936) is a White Earth Ojibwe civil rights organizer noted for co-founding the American Indian Movement (AIM) in 1968 with Dennis Banks, Herb Powless, and Eddie Benton Banai, among others. His older brother, the late Vernon Bellecourt, was also active. Clyde was the seventh of 12 children born to his parents (Charles and Angeline) on the White Earth Indian Reservation in northern Minnesota. His Ojibwe name is Nee-gon-we-way-we-dun which means "Thunder Before the Storm." Bellecourt's birthplace is occupied by the largest and poorest of northern Minnesota's Ojibwe bands. In his youth, Clyde fought against the forces of authority, because he did not think they respected his family and other Indians. As a child, he could hear his parents speaking in low tones late at night in a language he did not understand. When he asked what they were saying, he was told to think about his education and do as well as he could. The years in school were not pleasant. As a boy, he attended a reservation mission school run strictly by Benedictine nuns.

 

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