Civil rights organizer Clyde Bellecourt was one of the founding members of the American Indian Movement. In this episode of Minnesota Portraits, he discusses his experiences growing up on the White Earth reservation, how he was sent to Red Wing State Training School – the state’s second-oldest correctional institution – at the age of 12, and fighting one of the longest wars ever: the one waged against the American Indian people.

What happened next?

This interview with Clyde Bellecourt was originally broadcast in 1991. In 1993, the American Indian Movement (AIM) split into two factions, one based in Minneapolis and one based in Denver, Colo. Bellecourt continued to lead the Minneapolis branch into the 2010s. In the years since this interview, Bellecourt helped to found the AIM Interpretive Center and has remained active in the community, especially around police misconduct and fighting derogatory sports team names.

The American Indian Movement has been in the news again recently in connection with the uprisings that followed the police killing of George Floyd. The 84-year old Bellecourt still lives in South Minneapolis and attended Floyd’s Memorial service.

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Listen to other episodes of Minnesota Portraits and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes.

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This story is made possible by the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund and the Friends of Minnesota Experience.

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