American Indian Movement co-founder Benton-Banai dies at 89
MINNEAPOLIS – Eddie Benton-Banai, one of the founders of the American Indian Movement that was formed partly in response to alleged police brutality against Indigenous people, has died. He was 89.
A family friend says Benton-Banai died Monday at a care center in Hayward, Wisconsin, where he had been staying for months. Benton-Banai made a life of connecting American Indians to their spirituality and sovereignty, and was a grand chief, or spiritual leader.
American Indian Movement co-founder Clyde Bellecourt says the group’s creation can be traced back to a cultural program he and Benton-Banai started in a Minnesota prison in the 1960s. He remembered Benton-Banai as a holy man.