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Indybay Feature
45th Anniversary of UNA saved AIM
by Quanah Brightman
Saturday Jan 9th, 2021 6:18 PM
Celebrate The 45th Anniversary of United Native Americans Saving AIM

#January 25, 2020

45th Anniversary of UNA saving AIM
45th Anniversary of UNA saving AIM

San Francisco Examiner
Sunday, January 25,1976
Fugitive Indian Leader Banks Arrested In E. Bay

By Larry Kramer

Dennis Banks, Fugitive Leader of the American Indian Movement, was captured by the FBI at the Home of an El Cerrito College Instructor yesterday morning.

Banks, 38, had been sought by the FBI since Aug. 5, when he failed to appear in a Rapid City, S.D. courtroom for sentencing. He had been Found GUILTY July 26 of Being armed during a Riot and Assault with a Dangerous Weapon without intent to Kill.

Banks, a Chippewa Indian who was a co-founder of AIM in 1968, is also wanted in Portland where he was indicted Dec.22 for Firearms Violations.

Arrested with Banks was Lehman Leonard Brightman, 45, Director of The Native American Program at Contra Costa Junior College.

Brightman's Wife Trudy said the family was asleep when the Telephone Rang at 8:30 a.m.

"It was the FBI. They said we were heavily surrounded and everyone should come out. I looked outside and they were out by Our Bedroom Window.

"My husband said to take the children out to the neighbors, and I did. Then they (the FBI) took my husband and Dennis away to jail."

Mrs. Brightman would not say how long Banks had been at the home. The FBI said Brightman will be charged with Harboring a Federal Fugitive.
Leader's of AIM were unavailable for comment.

Brightman, a Sioux Indian Born in South Dakota, Established The First Native American Studies Program at The University of California at Berkeley in 1969.

But two years later he resigned under student pressure.

Banks issued a statement, through his Lawyers, from EL Cerrito jail calling the Arrest part of "a pattern established through-out the decades of Indian-White relations.

"Every Lawman should live on a Reservation and perhaps they would begin a campaign against those who have caused the misery that prevails daily in Indian homes."

Banks also said "the real crime in this country (is) Indian People live in virtual exile in our homelands."

"I was born an Indian," Banks said, "and even the threat of spending my entire life in jail and chained, I will not submit my way and my beliefs to be somebody else: I am proud of being an Indian. I will die with that pride."

#UnitedNativeAmericans #Saves #AIM

In July 1975, a South Dakota jury convicted him on charges of riot and assault with a deadly weapon for his role in the 1973 riot at the Custer County Courthouse. The conviction carried a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.
Before sentencing, Banks heard prison guards say he would not last 20 minutes in the South Dakota State Penitentiary. He fled, only to be arrested by FBI agents on January 25, 1976, at Famous Native American Scholar and Civil Rights Leader Lehman L. Brightman's Home in Northern California.
Lehman Brightman-National President of United Native Americans,Inc. was charged with Harboring a known Fugitive, charges against Professor Brightman were later dropped in the Interest of Justice. Lehman Brightman Lead a massive petition movement which was supported by Native American Singer Buffy St. Marie, Harry Belafonte, Jane Fonda, and Marlon Brando appealed to Governor Brown on Banks's behalf.
"If during the American Revolution, George Washington knocked on your door and he was being chased by British soldiers, would you help him?" Brightman asked. "He was not George Washington, but he was another Indian who was being hunted down by the goddamn government." Brightman Said
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