Sunday, October 14, 2007

Farewell, Wabun Inini

Today I learned of a great loss to activists. Vernon Bellecourt, a leader of the American Indian Movement and one of the most devoted on-the-ground activists I've ever met, died this weekend.

Vernon was one of the most committed anti-intervention activists alive. He spoke at many an anti-war demonstration, forum, conference, meeting, group, etc. He always made the connections between U.S. imperialism abroad and the war against Native people's at home.

He traveled around the world, connecting with indigenous organizations of all continents to defend and demand their human rights.

He could do everything: he could rile up a crowd with a provocative speech, he could sit down at a table and provide facts and figures in a calm cool discussion. He could talk with the press and come up with the quotes the media wanted to print. On a regular basis he would visit local prisons to help incarcerated native americans develop their spiritual lives.

He always combined public speaking and visible activism with direct aid to people in need all over the world.

He had boundless energy and enthusiasm and hope. He was harassed and jailed and surveiled and tailed and just plain picked on by authorities at every turn. And it didn't phase him a bit.

He went by his mission-supplied name, Vernon Bellecourt, but would often talk about his true name, before the Indian schools made him change it. In Anishinabe, his name, Wabun Inini, means Man of Dawn.

He will be missed.


bint alshamsa said...

I should have included his real name too. I think I'm going to go back and put it in my post. Wherever he is now, I'm sure he has shed his "re-name" and will now be Wabun Inini forevermore.

Ravenmn said...

Hi Bint,

Yeah, he'd like that, too!

makons said...

Thanks for your good words.