The thunder before the storm The autobiography of Clyde Bellecourt

Clyde H. 1936- Bellecourt

Book - 2016

The American Indian Movement burst onto the scene in the late 1960s as indigenous people across the country began to demand what is rightfully theirs. Clyde Bellecourt, whose Ojibwe name translates as "The Thunder Before the Storm," is one of its cofounders and iconic leaders. This intimate narrative covers his childhood on the White Earth Reservation, his long journey through the prison system, and his embodiment of "confrontation politics" in waging war against entrenched r...acism. Bellecourt is up-front and unapologetic when discussing his battles with drug addiction, his clashes with other AIM leaders, his experiences on the Trail of Broken Treaties and at Wounded Knee, and the cases of Leonard Peltier and murdered AIM activist Anna Mae Aquash. This gritty, as-told-to memoir also uncovers the humanity behind Bellecourt's militant image, revealing a sensitive spirit whose wounds motivated him to confront injustice and to help others gain a sense of pride by knowing their culture.

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Subjects
Genres
Biographies
Published
St. Paul, MN : Minnesota Historical Society Press [2016]
Language
English
Item Description
Includes index.
Physical Description
336 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
ISBN
9781681340197
1681340194
Main Author
Clyde H. 1936- Bellecourt (author)
Other Authors
Jon Lurie, 1967- (author)
  • The damn truth
  • My mother's limp
  • The drum within the walls
  • Confrontation politics
  • Peggy Sue
  • The Indian in white America
  • Occupations
  • Spiritual rebirth
  • The damn hard work
  • The trail of broken treaties
  • Cedar Pass
  • Fools Crow
  • Wounded Knee
  • Speaking to the world
  • The thunder before the storm
  • AIM for sovereignty
  • America on trial
  • The damn hard work II
  • Almost ruined me
  • The longest walk
  • Hardest thing I ever had to do
  • Splintered arrow
  • The coffee conspiracy
  • No honor in racism
  • Neegonnwayweedun.
Review by Choice Reviews

The American Indian Movement (AIM) has been a vital contributor to the revival of tribal sovereignty, Indigenous cultural renaissance, and civil rights since the late 1960s. Clyde Bellecourt, a founder and pivotal figure in AIM, provides an expansive description of the centrality of AIM. This autobiography reads like Bellecourt's public speeches. He ranges from his troubled childhood to his epiphany in prison guided by Eddie Benton-Banai, to the creation of AIM, and thence to his travails and accomplishments, which are inseparable from those of AIM. He emphasizes the importance of non-Indians in AIM's success, comments extensively on the internal controversies that afflicted AIM, and describes the FBI campaign against AIM. A summary statement illustrates his tone: "I was directly responsible for the development of nearly every Indian program in Minnesota." According to Bellecourt, he was a determining figure in the 1973 occupation of Wounded Knee, coined the term "confrontational politics" in 1967, and was instrumental in the 1978 Longest Walk. AIM was the crucible in nearly every American Indian success, and he was the leader. Despite the hyperbole, Bellecourt's narrative provides important information about the American Indian experience. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All levels/libraries.--G. Gagnon, Loyola University of New Orleans and Tulane UniversityGregory Omer GagnonLoyola University of New Orleans and Tulane University Gregory Omer Gagnon Choice Reviews 54:09 May 2017 Copyright 2017 American Library Association.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Anishinaabe activist Bellecourt recounts to Lurie (Canoeing with Jose) his life as a founding member of the American Indian Movement (AIM) in this riveting autobiography. Organized by Bellecourt and other Native Americans at Stillwater State Prison in Minnesota in the 1960s, the organization aimed to restore sovereignty to indigenous communities by tackling issues such as police brutality and unemployment and helping members reclaim their cultural identity through the use of traditional ceremonies. Activities such as AIM's occupation of Wounded Knee in 1973 are described, with Bellecourt giving credit to the many Native women who helped support the movement. The activist candidly recalls his struggles with addiction and his public falling out with actor and Lakota activist Russell Means. As with any autobiography, the depiction of events pits Bellecourt's words against those of others, but his powerful and conversational narrative carries readers along with an immediacy and frankness that is enlightening, sometimes humorous, and never dull. Bellecourt helps non-Native readers confront uncomfortable truths, facts that make this entry particularly significant. VERDICT Highly recommended for U.S. history students and anyone wishing to learn more about the modern struggles of Native peoples in America.—Sara Shreve, Newton, KS. Copyright 2016 Library Journal.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

The iconic activist and cofounder of the American Indian Movement (AIM) presents a no-holds-barred memoir in which he tells the unvarnished truth about the AIM as he lived it, revealing what motivated him to confront injustice and help others gain a sense of pride by knowing their culture.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Iconic activist and AIM co-founder Clyde Bellecourt tells 'the damn truth' about the American Indian Movement as he lived it. 

Review by Publisher Summary 3

Iconic activist and AIM cofounder Clyde Bellecourt tells “the damn truth” about the American Indian Movement as he lived it.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

The American Indian Movement burst onto the scene in the late 1960s as indigenous people across the country began to demand what is rightfully theirs. Clyde Bellecourt, whose Ojibwe name translates as “The Thunder Before the Storm,” is one of its cofounders and iconic leaders. This powerful autobiography provides an intimate narrative of his childhood on the White Earth Reservation, his long journey through the prison system, and his embodiment of “confrontationpolitics” in waging war against entrenched racism. Bellecourt is up-front and unapologetic when discussing his battles with drug addiction, his clashes with other AIM leaders, his experiences on the Trail of Broken Treaties and at Wounded Knee, and the cases of Leonard Peltier and murdered AIM activist Anna Mae Aquash. This gritty, as-told-to memoir also uncovers the humanity behind Bellecourt’s militant image, revealing a sensitive spirit whose wounds motivated him to confront injustice and to help others gain a sense of pride by knowing their culture.The Thunder Before the Storm offers an invaluable inside look at the birth of a national movement—the big personalities, the creativity, and the perseverance that were necessary to alter the course of Native and American history.