Levi Rickert, editor-in-chief in Native Challenges. Discussion »
MINNEAPOLIS A cup of coffee in the IDS Tower cost Clyde Bellecourt more than the money he put out it in downtown Minneapolis on Christmas Eve.
Co-founder of the American Indian Movement Clyde Bellecourt Arrested
The co-founder of the American Indian Movement was arrested on Christmas Eve at the conclusion of an "Idle No More" round dance flash mob on Monday afternoon. The flash mob was organized to bring attention to the "Idle No More" movement that began in Canada, but has grown globally.
Bellecourt, White Earth Ojibwe, was at the mall as an observer, not an organizer of the event. He actually arrived late and watched the round dance take place. He was approached by Minneapolis police officers and was asked to leave the event.
He told the officers he was there to shop and had only stopped to see the round dance. He repeatedly told the officers he was not an organizer of the event.
After the Round Dance ended, Bellecourt returned to buy a cup of coffee alone when he was approached by police officers who seized his cane, forced him to the floor, and then tried to lift him solely by his handcuffs. Bellecourt is 76 and cannot easily get up and down without assistance, which was denied to him. Bellecourt was unable to stand up and leave IDS on his own so officers arrested Bellecourt and transported him on a stretcher.
Bellecourt was arrested at 1:04 pm cst and released from the Hennepin County Jail five hours later at 6:13 pm cst according to county records. He released from the Hennepin County Jail with a no-cash, personal recognizance bond. He is to appear in court on January 13.
Flash mobs are used across this North America to bring awareness to situations or just because individuals are having fun.
While Clyde Bellecourt has a long history of activism for American Indian issues, in this situation he was singled out for his history and position in the community and not for his involvement in any kind of social disruption.
With dozens of "Idle No More" undertaken during the past two weeks across Canada and at various locations in the United States, Bellecourt is the only known person to be arrested thus far.
Bellecourt, along with Dennis Banks, and others started the American Indian Movement in Minneapolis/St. Paul because of the police brutality experienced by American Indians, who were regularly rounded up on Saturday nights simply because they were American Indians.
Bellecourt, now an elder, still conducts speaking engagements around the United States.
posted December 25, 2012 4:59 pm est