American Indian Movement

Big image

Reasons for the Movement

Founded in 1968 in Minneapolis, AIM’s original purpose was to help
Native Americans who’d been displaced into either urban ghettos or the
reservation system by government programs but grew to encompass the
protection of culture and legal rights, the promotion economic and
political independence, and the attempt to reclaim the lands that they
believed had been illegally seized from tribes. Russel Means was a
founding member and the outspoken leader of the group and lead them
through multiple protests and law suits to achieve their demands.
Another demand was the reorganization of the Bureau of Indian Affairs
(BIA) which post WWII broke multiple promises to tribes with the
Indian Termination and Relocation Policy enacting in 1953. The policy
offered educational scholarships, roads, bridges, public amenities,
etc by agreeing, but in the end they lost their land holdings and
faced high unemployment, debt, and lack of educational opportunities,
prompting the AIM movement to take shape.
Big image

Successes of the Movement


Richard Nixon ended the Termination of Treaties policy. This termination allowed Indian tribes to have much more control over their own lands.

The Indian Civil Rights Act was passed in 1968. It basically granted all Native Americans the same legal rights as other citizens in legal cases as well as the rights to free speech, press, and assembly.

Court Cases

When activist members of the American Indian Movement protested at the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the leaders were incarcerated and brought to trial. The case was thrown out because the prosecution acted inappropriately.

US v. Leonard Peltier - This was a case in the Wounded Knee Trials. The FBI secretly met with the judge that ruled Peltier was guilty. The FBI accused the defendant of terrorism. This ruling was strengthened by widespread anti-Indian sentiment.

Social and Economic Gains

AIM helped Native Americans gain legal recognition of financial compensation. This greatly affects how Indian tribes and the American government economically interact. Before and during the peak activity of the AIM there was a lot of Anti-Indian sentiment in America. After the peak years of the AIM, Indian culture became more openly acceptable.

Big image

Status of the Movement Today

The Museum of the American Indian was opened with the Smithsonian in
2004, making it one of the largest collection of Native American
artifacts and information in America and incidents such as the Navajo
law suit against Urban Outfitters have gained media coverage as Native
Americans continue to fight for their legal rights. Several groups,
including a delegation of the Lakota Sioux in 2008, have declared
separation from the United States and nullified past treaties made
with them, however, on the whole the AIM movement is still working to
protect and preserve American Indian culture, now with the support of
the United States government.

Big image

Impactful Events in the History of AIM

Alcatraz Occupation

Eighty nine Indians from a variety of tribes occupied Alcatraz. Alcatraz had been declared federal property in 1964. But all federal land out of use was officially property of Native Americans. They occupied the Island for 19 months between 1969 and 1971.

Trail of Broken Treaties

This took place in 1972. American Indians marched on the national capitol. Protesters traveled across the country by a variety of means.

Occupation of Wounded Knee

In 1973, Russell Means and Carter Camp led activists to Wounded Knee and occupied it to impeach the president of the tribe. He was accused of corruption. The activists also attacked the US government for going back on treaties. Shooting occurred from both sides.

Alcatraz - Indian Occupation/Protest - 1969