Bellecourt’s seminal 1971 speech, “Custer died on your sins,” delivered at Augsburg School, provides an unflinching have a look at pressured assimilation and the problems that prompted the Path of Damaged Treaties to start its caravan a yr later. AIM and different teams referred to as for the power of Native American leaders to create treaties and the abolition of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). Bellecourt was trustworthy about his experiences and the way the various leaders who got here earlier than ensured the survival of Native People, who proceed to combat to today for rights that by no means ought to’ve been taken from them.
“We really feel as a motion at the moment that we owe one thing in honor of those nice leaders which might be by no means acknowledged in your historical past books. We really feel that we owe them one thing and we’re going to perform their lifestyle. What they consider is true and what’s mistaken for his or her folks. We should try this at the moment,” Bellecourt stated in his speech, at one level including, “We all know, as a motion, as Indian folks, that now we have to be simply as militant, simply as militant as Loopy Horse, Gall, and the opposite nice chiefs.” Bellecourt referred to as for the involvement of youth activists who he believed would carry that torch first lit by Native American ancestors. It was one thing he fought for all his life and continued fighting for till prostate most cancers pressured him to step away from AIM in 2020.
After a dinner held with Bellecourt in 2019, present Minnesota Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan praised the activism that lastly led to progress and alternatives for younger Indigenous people like her rising up. “I do know that I’m within the function of lieutenant governor as a result of Clyde Bellecourt cleared a path for therefore many people within the American Indian neighborhood,” Flanagan stated in an interview with the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. She supplied related reward for Bellecourt upon the information of his passing.
Lawmakers all through Minnesota fondly remembered Bellecourt, together with Gov. Tim Waltz, District Attorney Keith Ellison, and Minnesota state Sen. Mary Kunesh, whose phrases deeply echo Bellecourt’s personal hopes for younger activists to proceed constructing upon AIM’s work.