By Jerome Christenson
Winona Frozen River Film Festival audiences had a chance to preview the film and ask questions of Banks at festival showings of "A Good Day To Die."
"A true warrior cares for his people," Banks said. After years of officially sanctioned abuse and neglect, Native Americans had been pushed to the point of confrontation, he said. Wounded Knee, site of the 1890 massacre of up to 300 Dakota men, women and children by the United States 7th Cavalry, would be the place where we "laid down the pipe," Banks said.
The film chronicles Banks life from childhood through his trial on charges stemming from the Wounded Knee occupation. Film co-director Lynn Salt said Bank's life story was used to introduce the relationship between Native Americans and the United States government to people who had never heard of AIM or Wounded Knee and had never met or known native people. By "humanizing one native person," the filmmakers hope to instill in those people an awareness of the humanity of all native people.