As told to Jon Lurie
The American Indian Movement burst onto the scene in the late 1960s as indigenous people across the country began to demand what is rightfully theirs. Clyde Bellecourt, whose Ojibwe name translates as “The Thunder before the Strom,” is one of its co-founders and iconic leaders. This powerful autobiography provides an intimate narrative of his childhood on the White Earth Reservation , his long journey through the prison system, and his embodiment of “confrontation politics” in waging war against entrenched racism.
Bellecourt is up-front and unapologetic when discussing his battles with drug addiction, his clashes with other AIM leaders, his experiences on the trail of Broken Treaties and at Wounded Knee, and the cases of Leonard Peltier and murdered AIM activist Anna Mae Aquash. This gritty, as-told-to memoir also uncovers the humanity behind Bellecourt’s militant image, revealing a sensitive spirit whose wounds motivated him to confront justice and to help others gain a sense of pride by knowing their culture.
The Thunder before the Storm offers an invaluable inside look at the birth of a national movement—the big personalities, the creativity, and the perseverance that were necessary to alter the course of Native and American history.
Clyde Bellecourt cofounded the American Indian Movement [headquarters storefront—demolished– in Phillips Community on Franklin Avenue] and has worked for Indian rights for decades. He lives in Minneapolis. Jon Lurie, educator and journalist, has worked in the Minneapolis Native American community for many years. He is a staff writer for The Circle and has written for numerous other publications.
Reprinted from Minnesota Historical Society Press Fall 2016 Catalog
Leadership Opportunity for Phillips Youth
Do you know a young person aged 11 to 15 that lives in the Phillips Neighborhood? Do you know a young person with exceptional leadership qualities? Or a young person that loves making art?
Well, send them our way! This summer, June 27th through August 5th, the Semilla Center at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church will be training 20 youth as part of the Young Leaders Program. This program focuses on preparing kids with work readiness and leadership skills through arts, gardening, and community work. Not only does this program teach valuable life skills, such as resume writing and the do’s and don’ts of the workplace, it also provides kids with a creative outlet to make art that reflects their hopes and dreams for themselves and their community.
Applications will be due June 20th. Stop by St. Paul’s Lutheran Church at 2742 25th Ave. S. for an application or for more information, please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org or at 612-724-3862.
Phillips West Neighborhood Upcoming Events: Check out the Phillips West Website @ www.phillipswest.info
6-7:30 p.m. – Phillips West Annual Community Meeting!
Join your neighbors and other Community Partners for updates from Local City Government & Minneapolis Police. Minneapolis 3rd Precinct Crime Prevention Specialist Don Greeley is retiring after 30 years of service he will be our Guest of Honor! This meeting will take place at the Center for Changing Lives in the Centrum Room 2400 Park Avenue. Free parking at rear of building off Oakland Av. Free Catered Famous Dave’s & Beverages provided! More information? or would like to get involved with the neighborhood please contact Crystal 612-879-5383 or email@example.com Please note: NO July or August Phillips West Community Meeting due to Summer Neighborhood Events.
By Patrick Cabello Hansel
Ready for school to be over? Ready for sunny days and long twilights? Then the Semilla Center at St. Paul’s has something for all of you this summer. Check out these delectables:
For Children Who Love to Create: Creation Camp, June 13-17, 10 am to 2 pm. For children 3-11. Arts, gardening, bible stories, games, lunch, storytelling, and a trip on Friday.
For People Who Like to Eat and Celebrate: El Gran Kermesse outdoor bazaar. Saturday, June 19, 4-8 pm. Food, music, fun for all. Group singing!
For Youth Who Like to Grow: Our Young Leaders Program trains youth 11-15 in job and leadership skills. Youth receive a stipend (that means money, peeps!). Youth will create art, learn photography, make and sell salsa and make an impact on the community. Get your applications now!
For People Who Like to Plant: Be a Healthy Community Pollinator: Learn how to grow food in small containers, plant pollinator attracting plants, and plant art in the midst of green. All Summer Long! Free Open Art Studio every Wednesday, 6-8 pm.
For People Who Love to Celebrate: Our Great Block Party in July (date TBA), Wednesdays on the Lawn, probably a concert, surely some pot lucks—who knows?
For People Who Like to Write: Submissions for the next issue of the Phoenix of Phillips literary magazine are now open. The theme is “This is My Story”. We want to hear your stories and poems of life in this great community. Special sections for youth, adults and seniors.
For information on all this, call 612-724-3862, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or stop by St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, 2742 15th Ave S, on the corner with the big mosaic chair! St. Paul’s is an equal opportunity creative force.
Patrick Cabello Hansel is Co-Pastor of St. Paul’s Lutheran on 15th Av. and a Poet and Writer
By Sue Hunter Weir
There are 139 drowning victims buried in Minneapolis Pioneers and Soldiers Cemetery. A handful of them were intentional—people who committed suicide by drowning—but the majority of the drowning deaths were accidental. Many of those victims were boys or young men.
Although Minnesota prides itself on being the land of 10,000 lakes, it is the Mississippi River that holds the greatest attraction for many kids doing what kids do in the summertime: fishing, swimming, just fooling around. The headlines for stories about boys who drowned, described the boys as “venturesome” or “adventurous,” and often spoke of the river “claiming” the boys. Given the attractions and opportunities that the river held for boys, the idea that the river claimed them seems particularly fitting.
The cemetery’s first recorded drowning was that of an unknown child. He is identified in the cemetery records only as “Unknown German Boy,” but how those who found his body knew that he was German is something of a mystery. This unnamed child drowned in August 1862 but there is no further information about his age or about where he drowned although, given how early it was in the city’s history, the river seems the most likely place. He was never claimed although surely someone must have missed him.
Venturesome boys could, and did, drown in lakes and ponds but there was no place that could compare to the Mississippi River. It was not only a body of water, but it was really big water that moved quickly. And there were any number of interesting things to be found floating in the river or washed up on the riverbank. There were bridges, booms, and barges, ideal places for having adventures with your friends. The boys had a handful of favorite places to play and those places were very dangerous.
On June 26, 1890, nine-year-old Otto Nelson and his friend went swimming by the railroad’s short-line bridge on the Mississippi River. Otto wasn’t really swimming since he didn’t know how, but that didn’t keep him from diving from a rock into the river where he quickly sank. His friend tried to save him but couldn’t. Less than a month later, on July 22, 1890, ten-year-old Emil Berglund drowned at the same location. He drowned after he slipped from a boom and fell into the river. Five years later, on July 22, 1895, nine-year-old John Carlson was fishing at the short-line bridge when he fell from the boom and was swept away by the current.
The water wasn’t particularly deep by the bridge although it was well over the heads of young, or even teenage, boys, but the current was too strong for those who fell in to fight against it and win. Seven years later, another boy, 13-year-old George Belland was swimming near the railroad’s short-line bridge when he was pulled under by the current and drowned.
Another place that the boys liked to play was under the Tenth Avenue Bridge. On July 15, 1893, eight-year-old Clayton Freese was swimming under the bridge when he drowned. On November 6, 1906, Carl Johnson and some of his friends were playing on a barge that was docked under the bridge when he slipped into the water. E. E. Myers, an employee of the power house, dived into the water fully dressed and made a heroic effort to save Carl but his heavy wet clothes began to drag him down and he lost his hold on Carl.
City officials did what they could to try and keep boys from swimming in dangerous waters. In 1905, the city created the Gerber Baths on what was formerly known as Hall Island. The bath, which was named after one of the city’s aldermen, was established with the expressed purpose of saving boys’ lives. The Minneapolis Journal reported that girls were “not in the habit of getting drowned in the river and [since] the chief object of the baths was to save the boys,” girls were limited to using the bathhouse two half-days a week. Judging from cemetery records, it appears that providing a safer place to swim may have saved at least some boys’ lives.
There is only one boy buried in Minneapolis Pioneers and Soldiers who drowned in the Mississippi River after 1905. He was seven-year-old Herbert Wennerlund, who died on May 18, 1907. Two of his young friends witnessed the drowning but were so frightened that they made a pact not to tell anyone, including their parents, what they had seen. It was only after Harold’s father came looking for his son that they confessed and Harold’s body was recovered.
These adventurous boys who were claimed by the river are buried in various locations throughout the cemetery.
*** of Five Stars
From the beginning of Ben Wheatley’s “High-Rise,” the signs of a disturbing venture are in store for the viewers. Just minutes into “High-Rise,” the setting backs of three months earlier when a doctor Robert Laing (Tom Hiddleston) after recently losing his sister moves into a spacious apartment on the 25th floor of this futurist high-rise (would be in the 1970s here).
(J.G. Ballard’s 1975 novel adapted to silver screen by Ben Wheatley with the same title.) Laing goes on to say he feels he’s living in the future that has already taken place. Whether or not, Laing is aware of what is about to take place in his new surroundings is uncertain. That is, the brutal reality of his other rich neighbors on the upper floors where he joins them starting with frivolous decadence (orgies, drunkenness, drugs, etc.) to out-and-out mayhem.
The floors below are where the middle-classes live, however, in simpler and more crowded apartments. Even here–with fewer material goods—they, too, fall into dystopian anarchism just like their opulent neighbors above them.
Mr. Laing is no recluse and begins an illicit affair with Charlotte (Sienna Miller) and fools around with Helen (Elisabeth Moss), both are his neighbors. Charlotte and Helen are tied to a mercurial documentary filmmaker named Wilder (Luke Evans), who becomes friends with Laing, soon to be rivals over the two women. The initial gaucherie between the two men, like everything else in this apocalyptic film goes south.
Wheatley’s “High-Rise” is not as good or as convincing as Joon-Ho Bong’s science fiction-thriller “Snowpiercer” (2013). Nonetheless,”High-Rise” is watchable (if a little too disjointed for my liking) and has dutiful parts.
Cast: Jeremy Irons (Anthony Royal), Sienna Miller (Charlotte Melville), Luke Evans (Richard Wilder), Elisabeth Moss (Helen Wilder), James Purefoy (Pangbourne), Keeley Hawes (Ann Royal), Peter Ferdinando (Cosgrove), Sienna Guillory (Jane Sheridan) and Daniel Skinner (Simmons).
Director: Ben Wheatley.
Running time: 119 minutes.