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Native American Activism: About

Native American Activism

Link to We Shall Remain DVD by PBS American Experience in the catalog
Link to In the spirit of crazy horse by Peter Matthiessen in Hoopla
Link to American Indian rights movement by Sarah Machajewski in the catalog
Link to Lakota Woman by Mary Crow Dog in Freading
Link to Indigenous America by Liam McDonald in the catalog
Link to Disinherited Generations by Nellie Carlson and Kathleen Steinhauer in Freading
Link to The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee by Treuer in the catalog
Link to The Pipeline and the Paradigm by Samuel Avery in Freading
Link to Five Hundred Nations by Josephy in the catalog
Link to The Native Americans by David Hurst Thomas in the catalog

Watch Important Moments of Native American Activism

The Catalyst of the American Indian Movement

The American Indian Movement (AIM) is a grassroots movement for Indigenous rights, founded in 1968 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Originally an urban-focused movement formed in response to police brutality and racial profiling, AIM grew rapidly in the 1970s and became the driving force behind the Indigenous civil rights movement.  AIM members and their allies have conducted some of the highest-profile protests and acts of civil disobedience in American Indian history. Although AIM split in two in 1993, its successors continue its legacy of fighting for Native American rights, holding the United States responsible for the dozens of treaties it has broken and drawing attention to the cause of Indigenous peoples around the world.

In the first half of the 20th century, the federal government imposed a higher degree of control over Indian lands, with the intention of breaking up tribes and assimilating their members into American cities. “Termination policy” became federal law in 1953, as Congress formally ended its recognition of more than 100 tribes, encouraging Indians to leave reservations for the cities of the West and Midwest. A significant number of people moved from reservations to the cities, where they encountered a lack of educational opportunities and racial profiling at the hands of the police.

Dennis Banks and Clyde Bellecourt, two Ojibwa men who had met in prison, founded AIM in 1968 in Minneapolis, along with Bellecourt’s brother Vernon and Banks’ friend George Mitchell. AIM’s original goal was to curb racial profiling in Minneapolis and give a voice to Native Americans living in the city. 

One of AIM’s first actions was to create the AIM Patrol, which monitored how police and the courts treated Native Americans. AIM also supported the creation of the Indian Health Board of Minneapolis to provide healthcare to the Native community. Its leaders took inspiration from the civil rights movement and the policies of nonviolent confrontation that many of its leaders espoused, although as the years went on AIM members would occasionally take up arms. Continue reading from History

Learn More About the History, Culture and Current Social Concerns of Native Peoples

Link to Celebrate Native American Culture Resource Guide
Link to Indigenous Medicine resource guide
Link to Native American Arts & Crafts resource guide
Link to Indian Child Welfare Act resource guide
Link to Indigenous American Mythologies Resource Guide
Link to Local Indigenous Peoples resource guide
Link to The Trail of Tears Resource Guide
Link to Native American Music Resource Guide
Link to Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Resource Guide
Link to Indigenous American Cuisine Resource Guide
Link to The True Story of Pocahontas Resource Guide
Link to Navajo Code Talkers resource guide
Link to The Lost Children of the Residential School System Resource Guide
Link to The Pequot War Resource Guide
Link to Native American Heritage Month resource guide
Link to Native American Activism Resource Guide
Link to The Wounded Knee Massacre Resource Guide
Link to Pipelines on Tribal Land Resource Guide

Link to Indigenous American Heritage Resource Guide Series Homepage