Native Lights is a weekly, half-hour radio program hosted by Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe members and siblings, Leah Lemm and Cole Premo. Native Lights is a space for people in Native communities around Mni Sota Mkoce — a.k.a. Minnesota — to tell their stories about finding their gifts and sharing them with the community.
Native Lights – Honoring the Life and Legacy AIM Co-Founder Clyde Bellecourt (1938-2022) – Part 1
Today, the first of two special editions of our show, honoring the life and legacy of NeeGawNwayWeeDun, The Thunder Before the Storm, who was known by his colonial name Clyde Bellecourt. Bellecourt passed away in his Minneapolis home on January 11th, 2022. He was 85.
Clyde Bellecourt was a member of the White Earth Band of Ojibwe and was a long-time civil rights advocate and co-founded the American Indian Movement in 1968.
Throughout his many decades of activism, Bellecourt and AIM leaders sought solutions to police brutality, treaty rights, housing discrimination, and the loss of Indian children. He fought to create culturally specific education, innovative job programs, against sports mascots, and for human rights for Indigenous people here and around the world.
His work was revolutionary and sometimes controversial. Today we honor NeeGawNwayWeeDun, by hearing from community members who knew him well, and who share stories and shed light on the impact and legacy of Clyde Bellecourt.
** We also want to acknowledge the passing of Peggy Bellcourt on March 16, 2022 – Peggy co-founded the American Indian Movement alongside her husband Clyde. They were married for 56 years. Clyde said in his 2016 autobiography that his life with Peggy was inseparable from the Movement… and it was her strength and support that made his work in the Movement possible.
Miigwech to the folks who have shared their stories in these shows: Dr. Kate Beane (Flandreau Santee Dakota and Muskogee Creek), Dr. Brenda J. Child Ph.D. (Red Lake Nation), Dr. Antony Stately Ph.D. (Ojibwe and Oneida), Robert Pilot (Ho-Chunk Nation), Bob Rice (White Earth Nation), Steve Premo (Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe), and Bob Blake (Red Lake Nation).
Native Lights – Honoring the Life and Legacy AIM Co-Founder Clyde Bellecourt (1938-2022) – Part 2
This is the second part of our special edition show, honoring the life and legacy of NeeGawNwayWeeDun, The Thunder Before the Storm, who was known by his colonial name Clyde Bellecourt. Clyde Bellecourt was a member of the White Earth Band of Ojibwe and was a long-time civil rights advocate and co-founded the American Indian Movement in 1968. Bellecourt passed away in Minneapolis on January 11th, 2022. He was 85.
On today’s show, we learn more about Clyde’s time in prison as a young man, and how it strongly impacted him uncovered his purpose. During that time of incarceration, Clyde Bellecourt met key people who helped him connect to Native traditions and spirituality, and together with whom he would co-found AIM. This time of growth and healing informed every aspect of NeeGawNwayWeeDun’s advocacy work, which he carried throughout his life.
Native Lights: Where Indigenous Voices Shine is produced by Minnesota Native News and Ampers, Diverse Radio for Minnesota’s Communities with support from the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage fund.
More from Native Lights
- Rebekah Fineday’s Gift for Building Trust in Healthcare Systems & Native CommunitiesToday, we’re speaking with Rebekah Fineday, a Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe citizen and Air Force veteran who serves as Sanford Health’s Native American community advocate in Bemidji, Minnesota.
- Levi Brown’s Gift for Building Relationships Across the TableToday we’re speaking with Levi Brown, Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe citizen and Director of Tribal Affairs at the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDot). Levi talks with Leah and Cole about acknowledgement on a person-to-person level and on an institutional level. In his current position at MnDot, Levi helped facilitate the highway signs marking the 1854 Treaty boundaries in Northern MN, a step toward acknowledgment and a point of education. Levi is also a part of the Tribal State Relationship Training Program that helps develop collaboration and understanding between tribes and Minnesota state departments.
- Elaine Fleming: Celebrating and Sharing the Culture of Leech LakeToday Leah and Cole chat with Elaine Fleming. She teaches and preserves Leech Lake Ojibwe culture, history, and language. Elaine proudly lives in Cass Lake, where she has been an instructor at Leech Lake Tribal College for 29 years.
- Amber Annis: Nurturing & Protecting Authentic NarrativesToday Leah and Cole chat with Amber Annis, a Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe citizen who is currently the director of Native American Initiative at the Minnesota Historical Society. Amber has a long history not only as a public historian, but as an educator, tribal nation liaison, community engagement specialist and collaborator.
- Jada Brown: Expression and Affirmation Through SingingNative Lights is a weekly, half-hour radio program hosted by Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe members and siblings, Leah Lemm and Cole Premo. Native Lights is a space for people in Native communities around Mni Sota Mkoce — a.k.a. Minnesota — to tell their stories about finding their gifts and sharing them with the community. …