Column: Vernon Bellecourt spoke in capital letters

"It is always difficult to confine a description of a great person’s life to a few words. In a sentence it could be said that Vernon Bellecourt was a man who found fortune and left his poor background but who then left fortune to voluntarily live the rest of his life as a poor man.

Those up close to him saw his many flaws but those at a distance only saw his character and resolve to champion American Indian causes: among them protection of tribal sovereignty; civil disobedience when Indian issues fell on deaf ears; the degradation of Indian people in the hands of sports teams; and internationally – the call to recognize Indian sovereignty and basic human rights.

This duality of a man who could be a pest and a man who could articulate the common cause that Indian people have with human- ity was admittedly vexing to the few but admired by the many. It made him hard to describe in life but those who followed and sup- ported him have no doubts about his greatness.

Vernon Bellecourt’s character gave him the courage to do things others thought were outrageous or dangerous, and it gave him the thickness of hide to withstand accusations, even those of murder.

To those who accused him he gave little acknowledgement that the charges outweighed the importance of his work. He withstood these slings and arrows while he carefully calculated his next steps in pushing sports teams offline in their weird embrace of Indian names. He sought out relationships in the name of Indian justice with enemy states of the United States. This clearly was not an average person."

Get the Story:
Vernon Bellecourt: The man who spoke in capital letters (The Twin Cities Daily Planet 12/12)

Relevant Links:
American Indian Movement -

Related Stories:
Tim Giago: Remembering Vernon Bellecourt (10/22)
Vernon Bellecourt being laid to rest at White Earth (10/18)
Column: Vernon Bellecourt changed perceptions (10/17)
Vernon Bellecourt, an obituary by Suzan Harjo (10/15)
Vernon Bellecourt, AIM activist, passes away (10/15)