Dennis Banks (born April 12, 1937), a Native American leader, teacher, lecturer, activist and author, is an Anishinaabe born on Leech Lake Indian Reservation in northern Minnesota. Banks is also known as Nowa Cumig (Naawakamig in the Double Vowel System). His name in the Ojibwe language means "In the Center of the Ground."
In 1968 he co-founded the American Indian Movement (AIM), and established it to protect the traditional ways of Indian people and to engage in legal cases protecting treaty rights of Natives, such as hunting and fishing, trapping, and wild rice farming.
He participated in the 1969-1971 occupation of Alcatraz Island. In 1972 he assisted in the organization of AIM's "Trail of Broken Treaties", a caravan across the United States to Washington, D.C. to call attention to the plight of Native Americans. The caravan members anticipated meeting with United States Congress leaders about related issues; however, government officials refused to meet with delegates of this group which resulted in the seizure, occupation and vandalization of the Bureau of Indian Affairs office.
He also spearheaded the movement on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota in 1973 to oust