American Indian Movement

Reason for AIM

This movement was established in order to call attention to the Indian’s injustice and to fight for better protection of the Indian culture.
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Successes of AIM

The American Indian Movement (AIM) convinced the federal government to become less involved in the affairs of Native Americans. For a short amount of time, the government attempted to end their agreements with American Indians, and also tried to impose their power over the existing reservations by placing tribal councils directly in the middle of them. The government also attempted to restrict the fishing and hunting rights of Native Americans, which were guaranteed by federal treaties. American Indians had their land taken, and the federal government tried to use this land for strip mining or farming, and disallowed hunting and fishing in these areas. AIM successfully took legal action to prevent this from happening in many cases. The movement was also formed to protest police brutality, as well as several broken treaties. AIM took over the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and held the offices for over a week; they did something similar by taking over the town of Wounded Knee, and pressed the government to restore their treaties, nearly 300 in total, with American Indians.

-The 1972 Indian Education Act gave Indian parents more control of their children's schools. -The 1976 Indian Healthcare Act sought to create a more equal healthcare system for American Indians.

-The 1978 Indian Child Welfare Act gave American Indians control over who could keep custody in divorce cases.

-Williams v. Lee SCOTUS case allowed Indians greater sovereignty over their land, and who could occupy it.

-Menominee Tribe v. US SCOTUS case reinstated the hunting and fishing rights to American Indians guaranteed by US treaties.

-Many tribes engaged in lawsuits to regain stolen land from the government and private parties. They were paid over $150 million as well.
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Key People and Organizations

Dennis Banks

Eddie Benton Banai

Clyde Bellecourt

George Mitchell

Russell Means

Herb Powless

Vernon Bellecourt
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Specific Events

February 1973 - 200 Indians, loaded with weapons, took hold of the town Wounded Knee, the site of the last massacre in the Indian Wars, and protested there for 71 days. They raided stores and held citizens hostage while holding off federal agents. The Native American protesters demanded that the corruption on reservations be eradicated and broken treaties be repaired. Short term, Wounded Knee only resulted in the murder of many AIM members and after government attacks, AIM nearly disbanded.


1972 - A caravan of Native Americans starting on the West Coast marched across the country to Washington, D.C. in order to bring national attention to the Native American issues. The presented Nixon with the Twenty Point Position paper, but the Nixon administration refused to meet with the protesters. This resulted in the group taking control of the Bureau of Indian Affairs headquarters and vandalizing the building. The siege was ended after a week and the president negotiated with the group.


1978 - Organized by AIM, nearly 2,000 Native Americans walked from California to Washington, D.C. to protest 11 bills that would have altered treaties between Indians and the US government in a negative way. A tipi was set up and maintained on White House grounds and the protesters stayed on a campground in Maryland. None of the eleven bills were passed by Congress.
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Status of AIM Today

Today AIM continues to fight segregation of Native Americans. In 2004 AIM organized a march to Alcatraz island in support of a Native American who had not received fair trial. In 2008 a leader of the Lakota Sioux declared separations from the US, claiming that the Sioux would make their own nation.
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We Shall Remain - Episode 5: Wounded Knee

We Shall Remain - Episode 5: Wounded Knee

0:00-2:45
American Indian Movement