American Indian Movement Leader to Speak in Tucson

click to enlarge Clyde Bellecourt - COURTESY
Clyde Bellecourt
It’s been half a century since Clyde Bellecourt founded the American Indian Movement, which has worked to protect the rights of Native Americans across the country and make sure the United States fulfills its treaties with Native American nations. Now, Bellecourt is coming to Tucson to celebrate this milestone with a talk and book signing.

During the talk, Bellecourt, who is also the national director of AIM, will discuss the movement’s past and future. He’ll also speak about cultural stereotypes and share insight into his experiences with other AIM leaders and activists. After the talk, he will sign copies of his autobiography, Thunder Before the Storm. The 2016 biography chronicles Bellecourt’s childhood on a Minnesota reservation as well as his history of activism and advocacy.

Bellecourt, whose Native American name is Nee Gon Nway Wee Dung, was born on White Earth Chippewa Reservation in the Ojibwe tribe in 1936. Bellecourt was one of the founders of AIM during its rise in the late 1960s, when indigenous people began to organize to advocate for their rights.

Bellecourt has also founded or co-founded other organizations that further his work as an activist in the United States: The Heart of the Earth Survival School, the first culturally-based education program under parent control in the country; the Legal Rights Center, which provides criminal
defense and restorative justice services to people with low income; and the Minneapolis Indian Health Board, the country’s first urban Indian program. Bellecourt also works on changing racist mascot names and school names throughout the country as a current coordinator of the National Coalition Against Racism in Sports and Media.

“Clyde Bellecourt Speaks – American Indian Movement: Past, Present and Future” will take place 3 to 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 3 at the Sea of Glass Center for the Arts, 330 E. 7th St. Tickets are $25 in advance of $35 the day of the event. For tickets, call (520) 398-2542. Proceeds from the event support AIM and local nonprofit service programs. Content appropriate for ages 14 and up.