Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

April 3, 2015

Pat Bellanger of AIM Passes to Spirit World

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News

MINNEAPOLIS -- Censored News sends condolences to the family of Pat Bellanger, one of the founders of the American Indian Movement, who has passed to the Spirit World. Pat, 72, died on pneumonia on Thursday.
We remember Pat with these audios from Alactraz and the 40th Anniversary of the American Indian Movement in San Francisco in 2008.
Those attending the gathering in San Francisco will remember the voice of Charlie Hill as he called out: "Pat Bellanger In The House!"
During introductions, Tony Gonzales of AIM described Pat as an inspiration to AIM and a leader of women in struggle.
On Alcatraz, Pat was joined by Bill Means, Lakota, and Mike Flores, Tohono O'odham.
On Alcatraz, Bellanger, Anishinabe from Minnesota, shares a memory of Phillip Deer and the imaginary border.
Bellanger said she has been with AIM since the beginning and it has been an incredible journey. She said the gathering at Alcatraz was a time to celebrate what has been accomplished and a time for giving thanks.
"We beat daddy Bush and we beat baby Bush," Bellanger says of the fight against oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve.
During the AIM West Conference and Celebration of the 40th Anniversary of AIM in San Francisco, she introduced Clyde Bellecourt. Pat describes the work that they have done around the world. She praised Clyde and his work of keeping the work of AIM going, especially with the youth and elderly.
Pat describes what the imaginary border has done to divide and destroy Indigenous Peoples.
Pat describes what has happened to Indigenous Peoples throughout the Americas, including the struggle to overcome religious doctrines and preserve the traditional and sacred.
Pat pointed out the profound importance of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and Treaties. She explained why it is important to use the words "Indigenous Peoples," which ensures the right of sovereignty, as opposed to the word "populations."
Pat challenged all present to fight for their rights.
"We have the right to fight for it. We have the right to fight for our own culture."
"We're trying to bring all of it together and get this movement even stronger than it has been, and is," Pat said.
"Look to your elders, help them out, even if its shoveling, believe me it is a help if you're up in Minnesota." She said when one gains the trust of elders, then there is learning.
Pat said it is also important to listen to the children and teenagers, and learn from the children and teenagers.
Pat said of the gathering in San Francisco, "We're here to work, we're not here as guests. I'm going to be cooking wild rice."
She said the most important thing was to leave knowing they would all be doing something together.
Listen to Censored News Blog Radio 2008:
Earthcycles: 40th Anniversary of American Indian Movement

Also see: 
Pat Bellanger, prominent Indian activist from Minneapolis dies
By Randy Furst
Star Tribune
Over nearly half a century, Pat Bellanger was a voice and unwavering advocate for American Indians in the Twin Cities, the United States and internationally, on issues from treaty rights to social welfare programs.
She died Thursday at Methodist Hospital of pneumonia at age 72, her daughter, Lisa Bellanger, said Friday. Her Ojibwe name was Awanakwe, pronounced “A-wanna-kway,” which means “water woman.”
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