American Indian Movement

American Indian Movement

Overview
The American Indian Movement (AIM) is a Native American
Native Americans in the United States
Native Americans in the United States are the indigenous peoples in North America within the boundaries of the present-day continental United States, parts of Alaska, and the island state of Hawaii. They are composed of numerous, distinct tribes, states, and ethnic groups, many of which survive as...

 activist organization in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, founded in 1968 in Minneapolis, Minnesota
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Minneapolis , nicknamed "City of Lakes" and the "Mill City," is the county seat of Hennepin County, the largest city in the U.S. state of Minnesota, and the 48th largest in the United States...

 by urban Native Americans. The national AIM agenda focuses on spirituality, leadership, and sovereignty. AIM was founded in 1968 by Dennis Banks
Dennis Banks
Dennis Banks , a Native American leader, teacher, lecturer, activist and author, is an Anishinaabe born on Leech Lake Indian Reservation in northern Minnesota. Banks is also known as Nowa Cumig...

, George Mitchell
George Mitchell
George Mitchell may refer to:*George J. Mitchell , former Senator from Maine, special envoy to the Middle East for the Obama administration, former Senate majority leader and former chairman of Disney...

, Herb Powless, Clyde Bellecourt
Clyde Bellecourt
Clyde Howard Bellecourt is a White Earth Ojibwe civil rights organizer noted for co-founding the American Indian Movement in 1968 with Dennis Banks, Herb Powless, and Eddie Benton Banai, among others. His older brother, the late Vernon Bellecourt, was also active...

, Harold Goodsky, Eddie Benton-Banai, and a number of others in Minneapolis' Native American community. Russell Means
Russell Means
Russell Charles Means is an Oglala Sioux activist for the rights of Native American people. He became a prominent member of the American Indian Movement after joining the organisation in 1968, and helped organize notable events that attracted national and international media coverage...

, born Oglala Lakota, was an early leader in 1970s protests.

The organization was formed to address various issues concerning the Native American urban community in Minneapolis, including poverty, housing, treaty issues, and police harassment.
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Encyclopedia
The American Indian Movement (AIM) is a Native American
Native Americans in the United States
Native Americans in the United States are the indigenous peoples in North America within the boundaries of the present-day continental United States, parts of Alaska, and the island state of Hawaii. They are composed of numerous, distinct tribes, states, and ethnic groups, many of which survive as...

 activist organization in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, founded in 1968 in Minneapolis, Minnesota
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Minneapolis , nicknamed "City of Lakes" and the "Mill City," is the county seat of Hennepin County, the largest city in the U.S. state of Minnesota, and the 48th largest in the United States...

 by urban Native Americans. The national AIM agenda focuses on spirituality, leadership, and sovereignty. AIM was founded in 1968 by Dennis Banks
Dennis Banks
Dennis Banks , a Native American leader, teacher, lecturer, activist and author, is an Anishinaabe born on Leech Lake Indian Reservation in northern Minnesota. Banks is also known as Nowa Cumig...

, George Mitchell
George Mitchell
George Mitchell may refer to:*George J. Mitchell , former Senator from Maine, special envoy to the Middle East for the Obama administration, former Senate majority leader and former chairman of Disney...

, Herb Powless, Clyde Bellecourt
Clyde Bellecourt
Clyde Howard Bellecourt is a White Earth Ojibwe civil rights organizer noted for co-founding the American Indian Movement in 1968 with Dennis Banks, Herb Powless, and Eddie Benton Banai, among others. His older brother, the late Vernon Bellecourt, was also active...

, Harold Goodsky, Eddie Benton-Banai, and a number of others in Minneapolis' Native American community. Russell Means
Russell Means
Russell Charles Means is an Oglala Sioux activist for the rights of Native American people. He became a prominent member of the American Indian Movement after joining the organisation in 1968, and helped organize notable events that attracted national and international media coverage...

, born Oglala Lakota, was an early leader in 1970s protests.

The organization was formed to address various issues concerning the Native American urban community in Minneapolis, including poverty, housing, treaty issues, and police harassment. From its beginnings in Minnesota
Minnesota
Minnesota is a U.S. state located in the Midwestern United States. The twelfth largest state of the U.S., it is the twenty-first most populous, with 5.3 million residents. Minnesota was carved out of the eastern half of the Minnesota Territory and admitted to the Union as the thirty-second state...

, AIM soon attracted members from across the United States (and Canada). It participated in the Rainbow Coalition
Rainbow Coalition (Fred Hampton)
The Rainbow Coalition was a coalition active in the late 1960s and early 1970s, founded in Chicago, Illinois by Fred Hampton of the activist Black Panther Party, along with William "Preacherman" Fesperman of the Young Patriots Organization and Jose Jimenez, the Puerto Rican founder of the Young...

 organized by the civil rights
Civil rights
Civil and political rights are a class of rights that protect individuals' freedom from unwarranted infringement by governments and private organizations, and ensure one's ability to participate in the civil and political life of the state without discrimination or repression.Civil rights include...

 activist Fred Hampton
Fred Hampton
Fred Hampton was an African-American activist and deputy chairman of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party...

. Charles Deegan Sr. was involved with the AIM Patrol.

In October 2001 AIM gathered members from across the country to protest in Washington, DC on what they called the "Trail of Broken Treaties." AIM gained national attention when it seized
Bureau of Indian Affairs building takeover
The Bureau of Indian Affairs building takeover occurred from November 3 to November 9, 1972. On November 3, a group of around 500 American Indians with the American Indian Movement took over the Bureau of Indian Affairs building in Washington, D.C., the culmination of their participation in the...

 the Bureau of Indian Affairs
Bureau of Indian Affairs
The Bureau of Indian Affairs is an agency of the federal government of the United States within the US Department of the Interior. It is responsible for the administration and management of of land held in trust by the United States for Native Americans in the United States, Native American...

 national headquarters and presented a 20-point list of demands of the federal government. In 1973 it led a 71-day armed standoff with federal forces at Wounded Knee
Wounded Knee Incident
The Wounded Knee incident began February 27, 1973 when about 200 Oglala Lakota and followers of the American Indian Movement seized and occupied the town of Wounded Knee, South Dakota on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation...

, South Dakota
South Dakota
South Dakota is a state located in the Midwestern region of the United States. It is named after the Lakota and Dakota Sioux American Indian tribes. Once a part of Dakota Territory, South Dakota became a state on November 2, 1889. The state has an area of and an estimated population of just over...

, on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

In the decades since AIM's founding, the group has led protests advocating indigenous
Indigenous peoples
Indigenous peoples are ethnic groups that are defined as indigenous according to one of the various definitions of the term, there is no universally accepted definition but most of which carry connotations of being the "original inhabitants" of a territory....

 American interests, inspired cultural renewal, monitored police activities, and coordinated employment programs in cities and in rural reservation communities across the United States. AIM has often supported indigenous interests outside the United States as well. By 1993 AIM had split into two main factions, with the AIM-Grand Governing Council based in Minneapolis and affirming its right to use the name and trademarks for affiliated chapters.

1960s


Presidents John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy
John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy , often referred to by his initials JFK, was the 35th President of the United States, serving from 1961 until his assassination in 1963....

 and Lyndon Johnson both made efforts to reform the damage done to the Indian nations. On March 6, 1968, Johnson signed Executive Order 11399, establishing the National Council on Indian Opportunity (NCIO). President Johnson said “the time has come to focus our efforts on the plight of the American Indian,” and NCIO’s formation would “launch an undivided, Government-wide effort in this area.” While knowing little of the American Indian issues, Johnson tried to connect the nation’s trust responsibility to the tribes and nations to civil rights, an area with which he was much more familiar.

In Congress, the Democratic chairman of the House Subcommittee on Indian Affairs, James Haley
James Haley
James Haley may refer to:* James A. Haley , U.S. Representative from Florida* James L. Haley, American author of Texas history and fiction* J. Evetts Haley , American political activist, historian and author...

 from Florida, supported Indian rights; for example, he thought Indians should participate more in “policy matters,” but “the right of self-determination is in the Congress as a representative of all the people.” In the 1960s Haley met with presidents Kennedy and Johnson, and pressed for Indian self-determination and control in transactions over land. One struggle was over the long-term leasing of American Indian land. Non-Indian businesses and banks said they could not invest in leases of 25 years, even with generous options, as the time was too short for land-based transactions. Relieving the long-term poverty on most reservations through business partnerships by leasing land was seen as infeasible. A return to the 19th century 99-year leases was seen as a possible solution. But, an Interior Department memo said, “a 99-year lease is in the nature of a conveyance of the land.” These battles over land had their beginnings in the 1870s when federal policy often related to wholesale taking, not leases. In the 1950s, many Native Americans believed that leases were too frequently a way for outsiders to control Indian land.
Wallace "Mad Bear" Anderson was a Tuscarora leader in New York in the 1950s. He struggled to resist the New York City planner Robert Moses
Robert Moses
Robert Moses was the "master builder" of mid-20th century New York City, Long Island, Rockland County, and Westchester County, New York. As the shaper of a modern city, he is sometimes compared to Baron Haussmann of Second Empire Paris, and is one of the most polarizing figures in the history of...

' plan to take tribal land in upstate New York for use in a state hydropower project to supply New York City. The struggle ended in a bitter compromise.

The initial AIM movement


As had civil rights
Civil rights
Civil and political rights are a class of rights that protect individuals' freedom from unwarranted infringement by governments and private organizations, and ensure one's ability to participate in the civil and political life of the state without discrimination or repression.Civil rights include...

 and antiwar activists, AIM used the American press and media to present its message to the United States public. It created events to attract the press. If successful, news outlets would seek out AIM spokespersons for interviews. Rather than relying on traditional lobbying efforts, AIM took its message directly to the American public. Its leaders looked for opportunities to gain publicity. Sound bites such as the "AIM Song
AIM Song
The AIM Song is the name given to a Native American intertribal song. Although the song originally did not have a name, it gained its current alias through association with the American Indian Movement.-Origins:...

" became associated with the movement.

Events


During ceremonies on Thanksgiving Day 1970 to commemorate the 350th anniversary of the Pilgrims’ landing at Plymouth Rock, AIM seized the replica of the Mayflower in Boston. In 1971, members occupied Mount Rushmore
Mount Rushmore
Mount Rushmore National Memorial is a sculpture carved into the granite face of Mount Rushmore near Keystone, South Dakota, in the United States...

 for a few days, as it was created in the Black Hills
Black Hills
The Black Hills are a small, isolated mountain range rising from the Great Plains of North America in western South Dakota and extending into Wyoming, USA. Set off from the main body of the Rocky Mountains, the region is something of a geological anomaly—accurately described as an "island of...

 of South Dakota, long sacred to the Sioux. This area was within the Great Sioux Reservation
Great Sioux reservation
The Great Sioux Reservation was established in the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868, and includes all of modern western South Dakota and modern Boyd County, Nebraska...

 ascreated by the US Treaty of Fort Laramie
Treaty of Fort Laramie
Treaty of Fort Laramie may refer to:*Treaty of Fort Laramie *Treaty of Fort Laramie...

 in 1868. After the discovery of gold
Gold
Gold is a chemical element with the symbol Au and an atomic number of 79. Gold is a dense, soft, shiny, malleable and ductile metal. Pure gold has a bright yellow color and luster traditionally considered attractive, which it maintains without oxidizing in air or water. Chemically, gold is a...

, the federal government took the land in 1877 and sold it for mining and settlement to European Americans.

Also in 1971 AIM began to highlight and protest problems with the Bureau of Indian Affairs
Bureau of Indian Affairs
The Bureau of Indian Affairs is an agency of the federal government of the United States within the US Department of the Interior. It is responsible for the administration and management of of land held in trust by the United States for Native Americans in the United States, Native American...

 (BIA), which administered programs and land trusts for Native Americans. The group briefly occupied BIA headquarters in Washington, DC. A brief arrest, reversal of charges for “unlawful entry” and a meeting with Louis Bruce, the Mohawk/Lakota BIA Commissioner, ended AIM's first event in the capital. In 1972, activists marched across country on the "Trail of Broken Treaties" and took over the Bureau of Indian Affairs
Bureau of Indian Affairs
The Bureau of Indian Affairs is an agency of the federal government of the United States within the US Department of the Interior. It is responsible for the administration and management of of land held in trust by the United States for Native Americans in the United States, Native American...

 (BIA), occupying it for several days and doing millions of dollars in damage.

AIM developed a 20-point list to summarize its issues with federal treaties and promises, which they publicized during their occupation in 1972. Twelve points addressed treaty responsibilities which the protesters believed the U.S. government had failed to fulfill:
  • Restore treaty making (ended by Congress in 1871);
  • Establish a treaty commission to make new treaties (with sovereign Native Nations);
  • Provide opportunities for Indian leaders to address Congress directly;
  • Review treaty commitments and violations;
  • Have unratified treaties reviewed by the Senate;
  • Ensure that all American Indians are governed by treaty relations;
  • Provide relief to Native Nations as compensation for treaty rights violations;
  • Recognize the right of Indians to interpret treaties;
  • Create a Joint Congressional Committee to reconstruct relations with Indians;
  • Restore 110 million acres (445,154.6 km²) of land taken away from Native Nations by the United States;
  • Restore terminated rights of Native Nations;
  • Repeal state jurisdiction on Native Nations (Public Law 280
    Public Law 280
    Public Law 280 is a federal law of the United States establishing "a method whereby States may assume jurisdiction over reservation Indians," as stated by Arizona Supreme Court Justice Stanley G. Feldman. Public Law 280 is a federal law of the United States establishing "a method whereby States...

    );
  • Provide Federal protection for offenses against Indians;
  • Abolish the Bureau of Indian Affairs;
  • Create a new office of Federal Indian Relations;
  • Remedy breakdown in the constitutionally prescribed relationships between the United States and Native Nations;
  • Ensure immunity of Native Nations from state commerce regulation, taxes, and trade restrictions;
  • Protect Indian religious freedom and cultural integrity;
  • Establish national Indian voting with local options; free national Indian organizations from governmental controls; and
  • Reclaim and affirm health, housing, employment, economic development, and education for all Indian people.


In 1973 AIM was invited to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation
Pine Ridge Indian Reservation
The Pine Ridge Indian Reservation is an Oglala Sioux Native American reservation located in the U.S. state of South Dakota. Originally included within the territory of the Great Sioux Reservation, Pine Ridge was established in 1889 in the southwest corner of South Dakota on the Nebraska border...

 to help gain justice from border counties' law enforcement and to moderate political factions on the reservation. They became deeply involved and led an armed occupation of Wounded Knee on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation
Pine Ridge Indian Reservation
The Pine Ridge Indian Reservation is an Oglala Sioux Native American reservation located in the U.S. state of South Dakota. Originally included within the territory of the Great Sioux Reservation, Pine Ridge was established in 1889 in the southwest corner of South Dakota on the Nebraska border...

 in 1973. Other events during the 1970s were designed to achieve the goal of gaining public attention. They ensured AIM would be noticed to highlight what they saw as the erosion of Indian rights and sovereignty.

The Longest Walk and The Longest Walk 2


"The Longest Walk" (1978) was an AIM-led spiritual walk across the country to support tribal sovereignty and bring attention to 11 pieces of anti-Indian legislation; AIM believed that the proposed legislation would have abrogated Indian Treaties, quantified and limited water rights, etc. The first walk began on February 11, 1978 with a ceremony on Alcatraz Island
Alcatraz Island
Alcatraz Island is an island located in the San Francisco Bay, offshore from San Francisco, California, United States. Often referred to as "The Rock" or simply "Traz", the small island was developed with facilities for a lighthouse, a military fortification, a military prison, and a Federal...

, where a Sacred Pipe was loaded with tobacco. The Pipe was carried the entire distance. This 3200 miles (5,149.9 km) Walk's purpose was to educate people about the US government's continuing threat to Tribal Sovereignty; it rallied thousands representing many Indian Nations throughout the United States and Canada. Traditional spiritual leaders from many tribes participated, leading traditional ceremonies. International spiritual leaders, primarily from Japan, also supported the Walk.

On July 15, 1978, "The Longest Walk" entered Washington D.C. with several thousand Indians and a number of non-Indian supporters. The traditional elders
American Indian elder
In American Indian education, within each tribe elders, "are repositories of cultural and philosophical knowledge and are the transmitters of such information," including, "basic beliefs and teachings, encouraging...faith in the Great Spirit, the Creator"...

 led them to the Washington Monument, where the Pipe carried across the country was smoked. Over the following week, they held rallies at various sites to address issues: the 11 pieces of legislation, American Indian political prisoners, forced relocation at Big Mountain, the Navajo Nation
Navajo Nation
The Navajo Nation is a semi-autonomous Native American-governed territory covering , occupying all of northeastern Arizona, the southeastern portion of Utah, and northwestern New Mexico...

, etc. Non-Indian supporters included the American boxer Muhammad Ali
Muhammad Ali
Muhammad Ali is an American former professional boxer, philanthropist and social activist...

, US Senator Ted Kennedy
Ted Kennedy
Edward Moore "Ted" Kennedy was a United States Senator from Massachusetts and a member of the Democratic Party. Serving almost 47 years, he was the second most senior member of the Senate when he died and is the fourth-longest-serving senator in United States history...

 and the actor Marlon Brando
Marlon Brando
Marlon Brando, Jr. was an American movie star and political activist. "Unchallenged as the most important actor in modern American Cinema" according to the St...

. The US Congress voted against a proposed bill to abrogate treaties with Indian Nations. During the week after the activists arrived, Congress passed the American Indian Religious Freedom Act
American Indian Religious Freedom Act
The American Indian Religious Freedom Act, Public Law No. 95-341, 92 Stat. 469 , codified at , is a United States federal law and a joint resolution of Congress that was passed in 1978. It was enacted to protect and preserve the traditional religious rights and cultural practices of American...

, which allowed them the use of peyote
Peyote
Lophophora williamsii , better known by its common name Peyote , is a small, spineless cactus with psychoactive alkaloids, particularly mescaline.It is native to southwestern Texas and Mexico...

 in worship. President Jimmy Carter
Jimmy Carter
James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr. is an American politician who served as the 39th President of the United States and was the recipient of the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize, the only U.S. President to have received the Prize after leaving office...

 refused to meet with representatives of The Longest Walk.

Thirty years later, AIM led the Longest Walk 2, which arrived in Washington in July 2008. This 8200 miles (13,196.6 km) walk had started from the San Francisco Bay area. The Longest Walk 2 had representatives from more than 100 American Indian nations, and other indigenous participants, such as Maori. It also had non-indigenous supporters. The walk highlighted the need for protection of American Indian sacred sites, tribal sovereignty, environmental protection and action to stop global warming. Participants traveled on either the Northern Route (basically that of 1978) or the Southern Route or Northern Route. Participants crossed a total of 26 states on the two different routes.

The Northern Route was led by veterans of that action. The walkers used Sacred staffs to represent its issues; the group supported the protection of sacred sites of indigenous peoples, traditional tribal sovereignty, issues related to native prisoners, and the protection of children. They also commemorated the 30th anniversary of the original Longest Walk.

Walkers along the Southern Route picked up more than 8,000 bags of garbage on their way to Washington. In Washington, the Southern Route delivered a 30-page manifesto, "The Manifesto of Change", and a list of demands, including mitigation for climate change, a call for environmental sustainability plans, protection of sacred sites, and renewal of improvement to Native American sovereignty and health.

Connection to other people of color


AIM's leaders spoke out against injustices against their peoples, as had the African-American leaders of the Civil Rights Movement
Civil rights movement
The civil rights movement was a worldwide political movement for equality before the law occurring between approximately 1950 and 1980. In many situations it took the form of campaigns of civil resistance aimed at achieving change by nonviolent forms of resistance. In some situations it was...

. AIM leaders talked about high unemployment, slum housing, and racist treatment, fought for treaty rights and the reclamation of tribal land, and advocated on behalf of urban Indians.

With its provocative events and advocacy for Indian rights, AIM attracted scrutiny from the Department of Justice (DOJ). The Federal Bureau of Investigation
Federal Bureau of Investigation
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is an agency of the United States Department of Justice that serves as both a federal criminal investigative body and an internal intelligence agency . The FBI has investigative jurisdiction over violations of more than 200 categories of federal crime...

 (FBI) used paid informants to report on AIM’s activities and its members.
In February, 1973 AIM leaders Russell Means and Dennis Banks worked with Oglala Lakota people and AIM activists to occupy the small Indian community of Wounded Knee, South Dakota
Wounded Knee, South Dakota
Wounded Knee is a census-designated place in Shannon County, South Dakota, United States. The population was 382 at the 2010 census....

 on the Pine Ridge Reservation. They were protesting its corrupt government, federal issues, and the lack of justice from border counties. The FBI dispatched agents and US Marshals to cordon off the site. Later a higher-ranking DOJ representative took control of the US government's response. Through the resulting siege that lasted for 71 days, twelve people were wounded, including an FBI agent left paralyzed; in April a Cherokee and a Lakota activist died of gunfire (at this point, the Oglala Lakota called an end to the occupation.) Afterward, 1200 American Indians were arrested. Wounded Knee drew international attention to the plight of American Indians. AIM leaders were tried in a Minnesota federal court. The court dismissed their case on the basis of governmental prosecutorial misconduct.

AIM protests


AIM has opposed national and collegiate sports teams using figures of indigenous people as mascots and team names, such as the Cleveland Indians
Cleveland Indians
The Cleveland Indians are a professional baseball team based in Cleveland, Ohio. They are in the Central Division of Major League Baseball's American League. Since , they have played in Progressive Field. The team's spring training facility is in Goodyear, Arizona...

, the Atlanta Braves
Atlanta Braves
The Atlanta Braves are a professional baseball club based in Atlanta, Georgia. The Braves are a member of the Eastern Division of Major League Baseball's National League. The Braves have played in Turner Field since 1997....

, the Chicago Blackhawks
Chicago Blackhawks
The Chicago Blackhawks are a professional ice hockey team based in Chicago, Illinois. They are members of the Central Division of the Western Conference of the National Hockey League . They have won four Stanley Cup championships since their founding in 1926, most recently coming in 2009-10...

 and the Washington Redskins
Washington Redskins
The Washington Redskins are a professional American football team and members of the East Division of the National Football Conference in the National Football League . The team plays at FedExField in Landover, Maryland, while its headquarters and training facility are at Redskin Park in Ashburn,...

. AIM organized protests at World Series
World Series
The World Series is the annual championship series of Major League Baseball, played between the American League and National League champions since 1903. The winner of the World Series championship is determined through a best-of-seven playoff and awarded the Commissioner's Trophy...

 and Super Bowl
Super Bowl
The Super Bowl is the championship game of the National Football League , the highest level of professional American football in the United States, culminating a season that begins in the late summer of the previous calendar year. The Super Bowl uses Roman numerals to identify each game, rather...

 games against these teams. Protesters held signs with slogans such as "Indians are people not mascots," or "Being Indian is not a character you can play."

Although sports teams had ignored such requests by individual tribes for years, AIM received attention in the mascot debate. NCAA schools such as Florida State University
Florida State University
The Florida State University is a space-grant and sea-grant public university located in Tallahassee, Florida, United States. It is a comprehensive doctoral research university with medical programs and significant research activity as determined by the Carnegie Foundation...

, University of Utah
University of Utah
The University of Utah, also known as the U or the U of U, is a public, coeducational research university in Salt Lake City, Utah, United States. The university was established in 1850 as the University of Deseret by the General Assembly of the provisional State of Deseret, making it Utah's oldest...

, University of Illinois and Central Michigan University
Central Michigan University
Central Michigan University is a public research university located in Mount Pleasant in the U.S. state of Michigan...

 have negotiated with the tribes whose names or images they had used for permission for continued use and to collaborate on portraying the mascot in a way that honors Native Americans.

Goals and commitments


AIM has been committed to improving conditions faced by native peoples. They founded institutions to address needs, including the Heart of The Earth School, Little Earth Housing, International Indian Treaty Council, AIM StreetMedics, American Indian Opportunities and Industrialization Center (one of the largest Indian job training programs), KILI radio, and Indian Legal Rights Centers.

In 1970, several members of AIM, including Dennis Banks
Dennis Banks
Dennis Banks , a Native American leader, teacher, lecturer, activist and author, is an Anishinaabe born on Leech Lake Indian Reservation in northern Minnesota. Banks is also known as Nowa Cumig...

 and Russell Means
Russell Means
Russell Charles Means is an Oglala Sioux activist for the rights of Native American people. He became a prominent member of the American Indian Movement after joining the organisation in 1968, and helped organize notable events that attracted national and international media coverage...

, traveled to Mt. Rushmore. They converged at the mountain in order to protest the illegal seizure of the Sioux Nation’s sacred Black Hills
Black Hills
The Black Hills are a small, isolated mountain range rising from the Great Plains of North America in western South Dakota and extending into Wyoming, USA. Set off from the main body of the Rocky Mountains, the region is something of a geological anomaly—accurately described as an "island of...

 in 1877 by the United States federal government, in violation of its earlier 1868 Treaty of Fort Laramie
Treaty of Fort Laramie
Treaty of Fort Laramie may refer to:*Treaty of Fort Laramie *Treaty of Fort Laramie...

. The protest began to publicize the issues of the American Indian Movement. [Note: In 1980, the US Supreme Court ruled that the federal government had illegally taken the Black Hills. The government offered financial compensation, but the Oglala Sioux have refused it, insisting on return of the land to their people. The settlement money is earning interest.]

Border town cases


In 1972 Raymond Yellow Thunder, a 51-year-old Oglala Lakota
Oglala Lakota
The Oglala Lakota or Oglala Sioux are one of the seven subtribes of the Lakota people; along with the Nakota and Dakota, they make up the Great Sioux Nation. A majority of the Oglala live on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, the eighth-largest Native American reservation in the...

 from Pine Ridge Reservation, was murdered in Gordon, Nebraska
Gordon, Nebraska
Gordon is a city in Sheridan County, Nebraska, United States. The population was 1,612 at the 2010 census.- Geography :Gordon is located at ....

 by two brothers, Leslie and Melvin Hare, younger white men. After their trial and conviction, the Hares received the minimal sentence for manslaughter
Manslaughter
Manslaughter is a legal term for the killing of a human being, in a manner considered by law as less culpable than murder. The distinction between murder and manslaughter is said to have first been made by the Ancient Athenian lawmaker Dracon in the 7th century BC.The law generally differentiates...

. Members of AIM went to Gordon to protest the sentencing, as it was part of a pattern of law enforcement in border counties, where drinking was heavy, that did not provide justice to Native Americans. In the winter of 1973, Wesley Bad Heart Bull, a Lakota, was stabbed to death at a bar in South Dakota by Darld Schmitz, a white male. The offender was jailed, but released on a $5000 bond and charged only with assault
Assault
In law, assault is a crime causing a victim to fear violence. The term is often confused with battery, which involves physical contact. The specific meaning of assault varies between countries, but can refer to an act that causes another to apprehend immediate and personal violence, or in the more...

. In protest of the charges, a group of AIM members and leaders from Pine Ridge Reservation and leaders went to the county seat of Custer, South Dakota
Custer, South Dakota
Custer is a city in Custer County, South Dakota, United States. The population was 2,067 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Custer County.-History:...

, to meet with the prosecutor. Police in riot gear allowed only four people to enter the county courthouse. The talks were not successful, and tempers rose over the police treatment; AIM activists caused $2 million in damages by attacking and burning the Custer Chamber of Commerce building, the courthouse, and two patrol cars. Many of the AIM demonstrators were arrested and charged; numerous people served sentences, including the mother of Wesley Bad Heart Bull.

1973 Wounded Knee Incident



In addition to the problems of violence in the border towns, many traditional people at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation
Pine Ridge Indian Reservation
The Pine Ridge Indian Reservation is an Oglala Sioux Native American reservation located in the U.S. state of South Dakota. Originally included within the territory of the Great Sioux Reservation, Pine Ridge was established in 1889 in the southwest corner of South Dakota on the Nebraska border...

 were unhappy with the government of Richard Wilson
Dick Wilson (tribal chairman)
Richard A. "Dick" Wilson was elected chairman of the Oglala Lakota Sioux of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, where he served from 1972–1976, following re-election in 1974...

, elected in 1972. When their effort to impeach him in February 1973 failed, they met to plan protests and action. Many people on the reservation were unhappy about its longstanding poverty and failures of the federal government to live up to its treaties with Indian nations. The women elders encouraged the men to act. On February 27, 1973, about 300 Oglala Lakota
Oglala Lakota
The Oglala Lakota or Oglala Sioux are one of the seven subtribes of the Lakota people; along with the Nakota and Dakota, they make up the Great Sioux Nation. A majority of the Oglala live on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, the eighth-largest Native American reservation in the...

 and AIM activists went to the hamlet of Wounded Knee
Wounded Knee, South Dakota
Wounded Knee is a census-designated place in Shannon County, South Dakota, United States. The population was 382 at the 2010 census....

 for their protest. It developed into a 71-day siege, with the FBI cordoning off the area by using US Marshals and later National Guard units. The occupation was symbolically held at the site of the 1890 Wounded Knee Massacre
Wounded Knee Massacre
The Wounded Knee Massacre happened on December 29, 1890, near Wounded Knee Creek on the Lakota Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, USA. On the day before, a detachment of the U.S. 7th Cavalry Regiment commanded by Major Samuel M...

. The Oglala Lakota demanded a revival of treaty negotiations to begin to correct relations with the federal government, the respect of their sovereignty, and the removal of Wilson from office. The American Indians occupied the Sacred Heart Church, the Gildersleeve Trading Post and numerous homes of the village. Although periodic negotiations were held between AIM spokesman and U.S. government negotiators, gunfire occurred on both sides. A US Marshal was wounded severely and paralyzed. In April, a Cherokee from North Carolina and a Lakota AIM member were shot and killed. The elders ended the occupation then.

After about a month, the Department of Justice
United States Department of Justice
The United States Department of Justice , is the United States federal executive department responsible for the enforcement of the law and administration of justice, equivalent to the justice or interior ministries of other countries.The Department is led by the Attorney General, who is nominated...

 excluded the press from access to Wounded Knee. (Before that, they were frequently interviewing Indian spokesmen and the event was receiving international coverage.) The Academy Awards
Academy Awards
An Academy Award, also known as an Oscar, is an accolade bestowed by the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to recognize excellence of professionals in the film industry, including directors, actors, and writers...

 ceremony was held in Hollywood, where the actor Marlon Brando
Marlon Brando
Marlon Brando, Jr. was an American movie star and political activist. "Unchallenged as the most important actor in modern American Cinema" according to the St...

, a supporter of AIM, asked an Apache actress, Sacheen Littlefeather
Sacheen Littlefeather
Sacheen Littlefeather is a Native American activist who donned Apache dress and presented a speech on behalf of actor Marlon Brando, for his performance in The Godfather, when he boycotted the 45th Academy Awards ceremony on March 27, 1973, in protest of the treatment of Native Americans by the...

, to speak at the Oscars on his behalf. He had been nominated for his performance in The Godfather
The Godfather
The Godfather is a 1972 American epic crime film directed by Francis Ford Coppola, based on the 1969 novel by Mario Puzo. With a screenplay by Puzo, Coppola and an uncredited Robert Towne, the film stars Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, Robert Duvall, Sterling Hayden, John Marley, Richard...

and won. Littlefeather arrived in full Apache regalia and read his statement that, owing to the "poor treatment of Native Americans
Indigenous peoples of the Americas
The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of North and South America, their descendants and other ethnic groups who are identified with those peoples. Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, and in the United States as Native Americans...

 in the film industry," Brando would not accept the award. In interviews, she also talked about the Wounded Knee occupation. The event grabbed the attention of the US and the world media. The movement considered the Awards ceremony publicity, together with Wounded Knee, as a major event and public relations victory, as polls showed that Americans were sympathetic to the Indian cause.

Pine Ridge Reservation violence


AIM members continued to be active at Pine Ridge, although Wilson stayed in office and was re-elected in 1974 in a contested election. Violent deaths rose, and more than 60 political opponents of his died violently during the next three years. In June 1975 in what has been called the "Pine Ridge shootout", two FBI agents were killed near Jumping Bull Ranch, and found to have been shot execution style. Three AIM members were eventually indicted for the murders: Darryl, Robert Robideau and Leonard Peltier
Leonard Peltier
Leonard Peltier is a Native American activist and member of the American Indian Movement . In 1977 he was convicted and sentenced to two consecutive terms of life imprisonment for first degree murder in the shooting of two Federal Bureau of Investigation agents during a 1975 conflict on the Pine...

, who had escaped to Canada. Darryl and Robideau were tried in 1975 and acquitted. After extradition, Peltier was tried separately and convicted in 1976. He is serving two concurrent life sentences and has become a symbol of political injustice.

Informants true and false


In late 1974 AIM leaders discovered that Douglas Durham, a prominent member who was by then head of security, was an FBI informant. They confronted him and expelled him from AIM at a press conference in March 1975. With some members in fugitive status after the Pine Ridge shootout, suspicions about FBI infiltration remained high. For various reasons, Anna Mae Aquash
Anna Mae Aquash
Anna Mae Aquash was a Mi'kmaq activist from Nova Scotia, Canada who became the highest-ranking woman in the American Indian Movement in the United States during the mid-1970s.Aquash...

, the highest-ranking woman in AIM, was mistakenly suspected of being an informant. According to testimony at trials in 2004 and 2010 of men convicted of her murder, she was interrogated in the fall of 1975. In mid-December she was taken from Denver, Colorado to Rapid City, South Dakota and interrogated again, then taken to Rosebud Reservation and finally to a far corner of Pine Ridge Reservation, where she was killed by a gunshot wound to the back of the head. Her body was not found until February 1976. Low-level AIM members Arlo Looking Cloud and John Graham were convicted of her murder, but many people believed that higher ranking leaders had ordered it. Dissension over this issue contributed to the 1993 split in the AIM organization.

1980s support of Nicaraguan Miskito Indians


During the Sandinista/Indian conflict in Nicaragua
Nicaragua
Nicaragua is the largest country in the Central American American isthmus, bordered by Honduras to the north and Costa Rica to the south. The country is situated between 11 and 14 degrees north of the Equator in the Northern Hemisphere, which places it entirely within the tropics. The Pacific Ocean...

 of the mid-1980s, Russell Means
Russell Means
Russell Charles Means is an Oglala Sioux activist for the rights of Native American people. He became a prominent member of the American Indian Movement after joining the organisation in 1968, and helped organize notable events that attracted national and international media coverage...

 sided with Miskito Indians opposing the Sandinista government. The Miskito charged the government with forcing relocations of as many as 8,500 Miskito. This position lost AIM some support from certain US left-wing organizations in the U.S. who opposed Contra
Contras
The contras is a label given to the various rebel groups opposing Nicaragua's FSLN Sandinista Junta of National Reconstruction government following the July 1979 overthrow of Anastasio Somoza Debayle's dictatorship...

 activities and supported the Sandinista movement. The complex situation included Contra insurgents' recruiting among Nicaraguan Indian groups, including some Miskitos. Means recognized the difference between opposition to the Sandinista government by the Miskito, Sumo
Sumo (people)
The Mayagna are a people who live on the eastern coasts of Nicaragua and Honduras, an area commonly known as the Mosquito Coast. Their preferred autonym is Mayagna, as the name "Sumo" is a deragatory name historically used by the Miskito people.Their language belongs to the Misumalpan language...

, and Rama
Rama (people)
The Rama are an indigenous people of Nicaragua. The 900 ethnic Rama live within a thirty mile radius of the Rama Cay island on the Caribbean coastline.The Rama are hunters, fishers and agriculturalists growing mainly bananas and white cacao beans....

 on one hand, and the Reagan
Ronald Reagan
Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th President of the United States , the 33rd Governor of California and, prior to that, a radio, film and television actor....

 administration's support of the Contras, dedicated to the overthrow of the Sandinista regime.

AIM protests and contentions


Many AIM chapters remain committed to confronting government and corporate forces that they allege seek to marginalize Indigenous peoples. They have challenged the ideological foundations of US national holidays, such as Columbus Day
Columbus Day
Many countries in the New World and elsewhere celebrate the anniversary of Christopher Columbus's arrival in the Americas, which occurred on October 12, 1492, as an official holiday...

 and Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving Day is a holiday celebrated primarily in the United States and Canada. Thanksgiving is celebrated each year on the second Monday of October in Canada and on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States. In Canada, Thanksgiving falls on the same day as Columbus Day in the...

. AIM argues that Thanksgiving should be a National Day of Mourning, and protests what it perceives to be the continuing theft of indigenous peoples' territories and natural resources. AIM has helped educate people about the full history of the US, and advocates for the inclusion of Indigenous American perspectives in U.S. history. Its efforts are recognized and supported by many institutional leaders in politics, education, arts, religion, and media.

2000s


In April 2003, AIM chapters met at a conference with the founder of the Center for the SPIRIT (Support and Protection of Indian Religions and Indigenous Traditions) to discuss plans to protect and maintain Native American religious rights. In June of that year, United States and Canadian tribes joined together internationally to pass the "Declaration of War Against Exploiters of Lakota Spirituality." SPIRIT teamed up with the AIM to declare war against all "plastic Indians." They felt they were being exploited by those marketing the sales of replicated Native American spiritual objects and impersonating sacred religious ceremonies as a tourist attraction. AIM delegates are working on a policy to require tribal identification for anyone claiming to represent Native Americans in any public forum or venue.

In February 2004, AIM gained more media attention by marching from Washington D.C. to Alcatraz Island. This was one of many occasions when Indian activists used the island as the location of an event since the Occupation of Alcatraz
Occupation of Alcatraz
The Occupation of Alcatraz was an occupation of Alcatraz Island by the group Indians of All Tribes . The Alcatraz Occupation lasted for nineteen months, from November 20, 1969, to June 11, 1971, and was forcibly ended by the U.S. government.-Background:...

 in 1969, led by the United Indians of All Tribes
United Indians of All Tribes
United Indians of All Tribes is a non-profit foundation that provides social and educational services to Native Americans in the Seattle metropolitan area and aims to promote the well being of the Native American community of the area...

, a student group from San Francisco. The 2004 march was in support of Leonard Peltier
Leonard Peltier
Leonard Peltier is a Native American activist and member of the American Indian Movement . In 1977 he was convicted and sentenced to two consecutive terms of life imprisonment for first degree murder in the shooting of two Federal Bureau of Investigation agents during a 1975 conflict on the Pine...

, whom many believed had not had a fair trial; he has become a symbol of spiritual and political resistance for Native Americans.

In December 2008, a delegation of Lakota Sioux, including Talon Becenti, delivered a declaration of separation from the United States to the U.S. State Department. Citing many broken treaties by the U.S. government in the past, and the loss of vast amounts of territory originally awarded in those treaties, the group announced its intentions to form a separate nation within the U.S. known as the Republic of Lakotah
Republic of Lakotah
The Republic of Lakotah or Lakotah is a proposed country in North America to serve as a homeland for the Lakota.Its boundaries would be surrounded by the borders of the United States, covering thousands of square miles in North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming, and Montana...

.

AIM Timeline


1968- MINNEAPOLIS AIM PATROL: created to monitor police treatment of urban American Indians and their treatment in the justice system.

1969- INDIAN HEALTH BOARD of Minneapolis founded. This was the first American Indian, urban-based health care provider in the nation. The San Francisco-based United Indians of All Tribes
United Indians of All Tribes
United Indians of All Tribes is a non-profit foundation that provides social and educational services to Native Americans in the Seattle metropolitan area and aims to promote the well being of the Native American community of the area...

 and the Alcatraz-Red Power Movement occupied ALCATRAZ ISLAND
Alcatraz Island
Alcatraz Island is an island located in the San Francisco Bay, offshore from San Francisco, California, United States. Often referred to as "The Rock" or simply "Traz", the small island was developed with facilities for a lighthouse, a military fortification, a military prison, and a Federal...

, a former federal prison site, for 19 months. They reclaimed federal land in the name of Native Nations. The first American Indian radio broadcasts—Radio Free Alcatraz—were heard in the Bay Area. |Some AIM activists joined them.

1970- LEGAL RIGHTS CENTER: created in Minneapolis to assist American Indians. (As of 1994, over 19,000 clients have had legal representation, thanks to AIM's work.) AIM takeover of abandoned property at the naval air station near Minneapolis focuses attention on Indian education and leads to early grants for Indian education.

1971- CITIZEN'S ARREST OF JOHN OLD CROW: Takeover of the Bureau of Indian Affairs
Bureau of Indian Affairs
The Bureau of Indian Affairs is an agency of the federal government of the United States within the US Department of the Interior. It is responsible for the administration and management of of land held in trust by the United States for Native Americans in the United States, Native American...

' headquarters in Washington, D.C. to publicize improper BIA policies. Twenty-four protesters arrested for "trespassing" and released. BIA Commissioner Louis Bruce shows his AIM membership card at the meeting held after the release of protesters. FIRST NATIONAL AIM CONFERENCE: 18 chapters of AIM convened to develop long-range strategy for the movement. TAKEOVER OF WINTER DAM: AIM assists the Lac Court Oreilles (LCO) Ojibwe in Wisconsin in taking over a dam controlled by Northern States Power, which had flooded much of their reservation land. This action gained support by government officials and an eventual settlement with the LCO. The federal government returned more than 25000 acres (101.2 km²) of land to the LCO tribe for their reservation, and the Power company provided significant monies and business opportunities to the tribe.

1972- RED SCHOOL HOUSE: the second survival school to open, offering culturally based education services to K-12 students in St. Paul, Minnesota. HEART OF THE EARTH SURVIVAL SCHOOL (HOTESS): a K-12 school established to address the extremely high drop-out rate among American Indian students and lack of curricula that reflected American Indian culture. HOTESS serves as the first model of community-based, student-centered education with culturally correct curriculum operating under parental control. TRAIL OF BROKEN TREATIES: a pan-Indian march across country to Washington, DC, to dramatize failures in federal policy. Protesters occupied the BIA national headquarters and did millions of dollars in damages, as well as irrevocable losses of Indian land deeds. The protesters presented a 20-point demand paper to the administration, many associated with treaty rights and renewed negotiations of treaties.

1973- LEGAL ACTION FOR SCHOOL FUNDS: In reaction to the Trail of Broken Treaties, the government canceled education grants to three AIM-sponsored schools in St. Paul and Milwaukee. AIM files legal challenges, and the US District Court orders the grants restored and government payment of costs and attorney fees. WOUNDED KNEE '73: AIM was contacted by Oglala Lakota elders of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation
Pine Ridge Indian Reservation
The Pine Ridge Indian Reservation is an Oglala Sioux Native American reservation located in the U.S. state of South Dakota. Originally included within the territory of the Great Sioux Reservation, Pine Ridge was established in 1889 in the southwest corner of South Dakota on the Nebraska border...

 for assistance in dealing with failures in justice in border towns, the authoritarian tribal president, and financial corruption within the BIA and executive committee. Together with Oglala Lakota, armed activists occupied the town of Wounded Knee for 71-days against US armed forces.

1974- INTERNATIONAL INDIAN TREATY COUNCIL (IITC): an organization representing Indian peoples throughout the western hemisphere was recognized at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. WOUNDED KNEE TRIALS: Eight months of federal trials of participants in Wounded Knee took place in Minneapolis. It was the longest Federal trial in the history of the United States. As many instances of government misconduct were revealed, the US District judge Fred Nichol dismissed all charges due to government "misconduct" which "formed a pattern throughout the course of the trial" so that "the waters of justice have been polluted."

1975- FEDERATION OF SURVIVAL SCHOOLS: created to provide advocacy and networking skills to 16 survival schools throughout the US and Canada. HUD chose AIM to be the primary sponsor of the first American Indian-run housing project, LITTLE EARTH OF UNITED TRIBES.

1977- MIGIZI Communications founded in Minneapolis. The organization is dedicated to produce Indian news and information, and educate students of all ages as tomorrow's technical work force. INTERNATIONAL INDIAN TREATY COUNCIL: establishes Non-government organization status at United Nations offices in Geneva; attends the International NGO conference and presents testimony to the United Nations. AMERICAN INDIAN LANGUAGE AND CULTURE LEGISLATION: AIM proposes legislative language which is passed in Minnesota, recognizing State responsibility for Indian education and culture. This legislation was recognized as a model throughout the country.

1978- FIRST EDUCATION PROGRAMS FOR AMERICAN INDIAN OFFENDERS: AIM establishes the first adult education program for American Indian offenders at Stillwater Prison in Minnesota. Programs later established at other state correctional facilities modeled after the Minnesota program. CIRCLE OF LIFE SURVIVAL SCHOOL established on the White Earth Indian Reservation
White Earth Indian Reservation
The White Earth Indian Reservation is the home to the White Earth Nation, located in northwestern Minnesota. It is the largest Indian reservation in that state...

 in Minnesota. The school receives funding for three years of operation from the U.S. Department of Education. RUN FOR SURVIVAL: AIM youth organize and conduct 500 miles (804.7 km) run from Minneapolis to Lawrence, Kansas
Lawrence, Kansas
Lawrence is the sixth largest city in the U.S. State of Kansas and the county seat of Douglas County. Located in northeastern Kansas, Lawrence is the anchor city of the Lawrence, Kansas, Metropolitan Statistical Area, which encompasses all of Douglas County...

 to support "The Longest Walk." THE LONGEST WALK: Indian Nations walk across the US from California to DC to protest proposed legislation calling for the abrogation of treaties with Indian nations. They set up and maintained a tipi near the White House. The proposed legislation is defeated.

1979- LITTLE EARTH HOUSING PROTECTED: an attempt by the US HUD to foreclose on the Little Earth of United Tribes housing project is halted by legal action; the US District Court issues an injunction against HUD. AMERICAN INDIAN OPPORTUNITIES INDUSTRIALIZATION CENTER (AIOIC): creates job training schools to alleviate the unemployment issues of Indian people. More than 17,000 Native Americans have been trained for jobs since AIM created the AIOIC in 1979. ANISHINABE AKEENG Organization is created to regain stolen and tax forfeited land on the White Earth Reservation in Minnesota.

1984- FEDERATION of NATIVE CONTROLLED SURVIVAL SCHOOLS: presents legal education seminars at colleges and law schools in Minnesota, Wisconsin, California, South Dakota, Nebraska and Oklahoma for educators of Indian students. National conference held in San Jose, California, concurrent with the National Indian Education Association Convention.

1986- SCHOOLS LAWSUIT: Heart of the Earth and Red School House successfully sue the U.S. Department of Education, Indian Education Programs for ranking the schools' programs below funding recommendation levels. The suit proved discriminatory bias in the system of ranking by the Department staff.

1987- AIM PATROL: Minneapolis AIM Patrol restarts to protect American Indian women in Minneapolis after serial killings committed against them.

1988- ELAINE STATELY INDIAN YOUTH SERVICES (ESIYS): developed to create alternatives for youth in Minneapolis as a direct diversion to gang-involvement of Indian youth. FORT SNELLING AIM ANNUAL POW WOW: AIM establishes an annual pow wow to recognize its 20th Anniversary, at Fort Snelling in Minnesota. The event becomes the largest Labor Day Weekend event in any Minnesota state park.

1989- SPEARFISHING: AIM is requested to provide expertise in dealing with protesters at boat landings. American Indian spearfishing continues despite violence, arrests, and threats from whites. Senator Daniel Inouye
Daniel Inouye
Daniel Ken "Dan" Inouye is the senior United States Senator from Hawaii, a member of the Democratic Party, and the President pro tempore of the United States Senate making him the highest-ranking Asian American politician in American history. Inouye is the chairman of the United States Senate...

 calls for a study on the effects of Indian spearfishing. The study shows only 6% of fish taken are by Indians. Sports fishing accounts for the rest.

1991 PEACEMAKER CENTER: AIM houses its AIM Patrol and ESIYS in a center in the heart of the Indian community, based on Indian spirituality. SUNDANCE RETURNED TO MINNESOTA. With the support of the Dakota communities, AIM revived the Sundance
Sundance
Sundance Resort is a ski resort located northeast of Provo, Utah, spanning over on the slopes of Mount Timpanogos in Utah's Wasatch Range. Snow skiing began on the site in 1944...

 at Pipestone, Minnesota
Pipestone, Minnesota
As of the census of 2000, there were 4,280 people, 1,900 households, and 1,138 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,090.8 people per square mile . There were 2,097 housing units at an average density of 534.4 per square mile...

. Ojibwe nations have helped make the Minnesota Sundance possible. The Pipestone Sundance has become an annual event. In 1991, some self-appointed leaders of the Oglala Lakota, Cheyenne and other nations declared independence from the United States. The group established a provisional government and to develop a separate national government. Elected leaders and council members of the nations did not support this action. NATIONAL COALITION ON RACISM IN SPORTS AND MEDIA: AIM organized this group to address the issue of using Indian figures and names as sports team mascots. AIM led a walk in Minneapolis to the 1992 Super Bowl. In 1994, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune agreed to stop using professional sports team names that refer to Indian people unless these have been approved by the tribes.

1992- THE FOOD CONNECTION: organized summer youth jobs program with an organic garden and spiritual camp (Common Ground) at Tonkawood Farm in Orono, Minnesota
Orono, Minnesota
As of the census of 2000, there were 7,538 people, 2,766 households, and 2,196 families residing in the city. The population density was 468.9 people per square mile . There were 2,909 housing units at an average density of 181.0 per square mile...

.

1993- EXPANSION OF AMERICAN INDIAN OIC JOB TRAINING PROGRAM: the Grand Metropolitan, Inc. of Great Britain, a parent of the Pillsbury Corporation, merges its job training program with that of AIOIC and pledges future monies and support in Minnesota. LITTLE EARTH: after AIM's 18-year struggle, the HUD secretary Henry Cisneros
Henry Cisneros
Henry Gabriel Cisneros is a politician and businessman. A Democrat, Cisneros served as the 10th Secretary of Housing and Urban Development in the administration of President Bill Clinton from 1993 to 1997...

 rules that Little Earth of United Tribes housing project shall retain the right to preference for American Indian residents when considering applicants for the project. WOUNDED KNEE ANNIVERSARY: At the 20th anniversary of the Wounded Knee Incident
Wounded Knee Incident
The Wounded Knee incident began February 27, 1973 when about 200 Oglala Lakota and followers of the American Indian Movement seized and occupied the town of Wounded Knee, South Dakota on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation...

 at Pine Ridge Reservation, the elected Oglala Sioux Tribe president, John Yellow Bird Steele, thanked AIM for its 1973 actions.

Due to continuing dissension, AIM splits: AIM Grand Governing Council (AIMGGC) is based in Minneapolis and still led by founders. AIM- is based in Denver, Colorado.

1996- April 3–8, 1996 - As a representative of the AIM Grand Governing Council and special representative of the International Indian Treaty Council, Vernon Bellecourt, along with William A. Means, President of IITC, attended the preparatory meeting for the Intercontinental Encounter for Humanity and Against Neo-Liberalism (IEHN), hosted by the Emiliano Zapata Liberation Movement (EZLN), held in LaRealidad, Eastern Chiapas, Mexico, July 27 - August 3, 1996. The second meeting for the IEHN in 1997 was hosted by the EZLN and was attended by delegates of the IITC and AIM.

1998- February 12, 1998 - AIM is charged with Security at the Ward Valley Occupation in Southern California. The occupation lasted for 113 days and resulted in a victory for the Colorado River Indian Tribes
Colorado River Indian Tribes
The Colorado River Indian Tribes is a geo-political unit consisting of the four distinct tribes associated with the Colorado River Indian Reservation: the Mohave, Chemehuevi, Hopi and Navajo. The combined tribe is governed by a council of nine members and overseen by a tribal Chairman, Secretary...

 (CRIT) against the plan to use the area for the disposal of nuclear wastes. February 27, 1998 - 25th Anniversary of Wounded Knee, an Oglala Lakota Nation resolution established February 27 as a National Day of Liberation. July 16–19, 1998 - 25th Annual Lac Courte Oreilles
Lac Courte Oreilles
Lac Courte Oreilles is a large freshwater lake located in north central Wisconsin in Sawyer County in townships 39 and 40 north, ranges 8 and 9 west. It is irregular in shape having numerous peninsulas and bays, being approximately six miles long in a southwest to northeast direction and with a...

 "Honor the Earth" Homecoming Celebration to honor the people who participated in the July 31, 1971 takeover of the Winter Dam and the beginning of the "Honor the Earth" observance. August 2–11, 1998 - 30th Anniversary of the AIM Grand Governing Council; Sacred Pipestone Quarries in Pipestone, Minnesota. Conference commemorating AIM's 30th Anniversary.

1999- February 1999 - Three United States activists working with a group of UÕwa Indians in Colombia
Colombia
Colombia, officially the Republic of Colombia , is a unitary constitutional republic comprising thirty-two departments. The country is located in northwestern South America, bordered to the east by Venezuela and Brazil; to the south by Ecuador and Peru; to the north by the Caribbean Sea; to the...

 were kidnapped by rebels. Ingrid Washinawatok, 41 (Menominee), a humanitarian; Terence Freitas, 24, an environmental scientist from Santa Cruz, California; and LaheÕenaÕe Gay, 39 of Hawaii, were seized near the village of Royota, in Arauca province in northeastern Colombia on February 25 while preparing to leave after a two week on-site visit. On March 5, their bullet-riddled bodies were discovered across the border in Venezuela.

2000 - July 2000 - AIM 32nd Anniversary Conference on the Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe Nation Reservation in northern Wisconsin. October 2000 – AIM founded commission to seek justice for Ingrid Washinawatok and companions.

2001 - March 2001 – Reps of the AIM GGC attend the Zapatista Army of National Liberation March for Peace, Justice and Dignity, Zocolo Plaza, Mexico City. July 2001 – 11th Annual Youth & Elders International Cultural Gathering and Sundance, Pipestone, Minnesota. August 2001 – Five "anti-wahoo" demonstrators with AIM bring civil lawsuit for false arrest against the city of Cleveland, Ohio
Cleveland, Ohio
Cleveland is a city in the U.S. state of Ohio and is the county seat of Cuyahoga County, the most populous county in the state. The city is located in northeastern Ohio on the southern shore of Lake Erie, approximately west of the Pennsylvania border...

. November 2001 – The American Indian Forum on Racism in Sports and Media is held at Black Bear Crossing, St. Paul, Minnesota.

2002 - August 2002, 12th Annual International Youth & Elders Cultural Gathering and Sundance
Sundance
Sundance Resort is a ski resort located northeast of Provo, Utah, spanning over on the slopes of Mount Timpanogos in Utah's Wasatch Range. Snow skiing began on the site in 1944...

, Pipestone, Minnesota.

2003 - May 2003- Quarterly Meeting of the AIM National Board of Directors, Thunderbird House, Winnipeg, Manitoba. August 2003 – 13th Annual International Youth & Elders Cultural Gathering and Sundance, Pipestone, Minnesota.

2004 - August 2004 - 14th Annual International Youth & Elders Cultural Gathering and Sundance, Pipestone, Minnesota.

2005 - May 2005 – First Annual Clyde H. Bellecourt Endowment Scholarship Fund and Awards Banquet, Minneapolis, Minnesota. July 2005 – 15th Annual International Youth & Elders Cultural Gathering and Sundance, Pipestone, Minnesota.

2006 -May 2006 – Second Annual Clyde H. Bellecourt Endowment Scholarship Fund and Awards Banquet, Minneapolis. July 2006 - 16th Annual International Youth & Elders Cultural Gathering and Sundance, Pipestone, Minnesota

Other Native American organizations


Other Native American rights activists have created groups such as WARN (Women of All Red Nations), NATIVE (Native American Traditions, Ideals, Values Educational Society), LISN (League of Indigenous Sovereign Nations), Mexica Movement, EZLN (Zapatista Army of National Liberation), and the IPC (Indigenous Peoples Caucus). Although each group may have its own specific goals or focus, they are all fighting for the same principles of respect and equality for Native Americans. The Northwest Territories Indian Brotherhood, the Committee of Orginal People's Entitlement were two organization that spearheaded the native rights movement in northern Canada during the 1960s. Val Wake's fictional account of tbis development is contained in his novel White Bird Black Bird which is available on Amazon. Wake lived in the Arctic where he worked as a journalist for the CBC from 1969 to 1973.

International Indian Treaty Council


AIM established the International Indian Treaty Council (IITC) in June 1974. It invited representatives from numerous indigenous nations, and delegates from 98 international groups attended the meeting. The sacred pipe serves as a symbol of the Nations “common bonds of spirituality, ties to the land and respect for traditional cultures”. The IITC focuses on issues such as treaty and land rights, rights and protection of indigenous children, protection of sacred sites, and religious freedom.

The International Indian Treaty Council (IITC) uses networking, technical assistance, and coalition building. In 1977, the IITC became a Non-Governmental Organization with Consultative Status to the United Nations Economic and Social Council. The organization concentrates on involving Indigenous Peoples in U.N. forums. In addition, the IITC strives to bring awareness about the issues concerning Indigenous Peoples to non-Indigenous organizations.

The United Nations Adoption of Indigenous Peoples Rights


On September 13, 2007 the United Nations General Assembly adopted the “Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.” A total of 144 states or countries voted in favor. Four voted against it while 11 abstained. The four voting against it were the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, whose representatives said they believed the declaration “goes too far.”

The Declaration announces rights of Indigenous Peoples, such as rights to self-determination, traditional lands and territories, traditional languages and customs, natural resources and sacred sites.

Ideological differences within AIM


In 1993, AIM split into two factions, each claiming to be the authentic inheritor of the AIM tradition. The AIM-Grand Governing Council is based in Minneapolis, Minnesota
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Minneapolis , nicknamed "City of Lakes" and the "Mill City," is the county seat of Hennepin County, the largest city in the U.S. state of Minnesota, and the 48th largest in the United States...

 and associated with leadership by Clyde Bellecourt
Clyde Bellecourt
Clyde Howard Bellecourt is a White Earth Ojibwe civil rights organizer noted for co-founding the American Indian Movement in 1968 with Dennis Banks, Herb Powless, and Eddie Benton Banai, among others. His older brother, the late Vernon Bellecourt, was also active...

 and his brother Vernon Bellecourt (who died in 2007). The GGC tends toward a more centralized, controlled political philosophy.

The AIM-International Confederation of Autonomous Chapters, based in Denver, Colorado
Denver, Colorado
The City and County of Denver is the capital and the most populous city of the U.S. state of Colorado. Denver is a consolidated city-county, located in the South Platte River Valley on the western edge of the High Plains just east of the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains...

, was founded by thirteen AIM chapters in 1993 at a meeting in Denver, Colorado. The group issued its "Edgewood Declaration", citing organizational grievances and complaining of authoritarian leadership by the Bellecourts. Ideological differences were growing, with the AIM-International Confederation taking a spiritual, perhaps more mainstream, approach to activism. The autonomous chapters group argues that AIM has always been organized as a series of decentralized, autonomous chapters, with local leadership accountable to local constituencies. The autonomous chapters reject the assertions of central control by the Minneapolis group as contrary both to indigenous political traditions and to the original philosophy of AIM.

Accusations of murder



At a press conference in Denver, Colorado on 3 November 1999, Russell Means accused Vernon Bellecourt
Vernon Bellecourt
Vernon Bellecourt, Indian name WaBun-Inini, was a member of the White Earth Band of Ojibwe , and a Native American rights activist, one of the highest leaders in the American Indian Movement...

 of having ordered the execution of Anna Mae Aquash
Anna Mae Aquash
Anna Mae Aquash was a Mi'kmaq activist from Nova Scotia, Canada who became the highest-ranking woman in the American Indian Movement in the United States during the mid-1970s.Aquash...

 in 1975. The highest-ranking woman in AIM at the time, she had been shot execution style in mid-December 1975 and left in a far corner of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation after having been kidnapped from Denver, Colorado
Denver, Colorado
The City and County of Denver is the capital and the most populous city of the U.S. state of Colorado. Denver is a consolidated city-county, located in the South Platte River Valley on the western edge of the High Plains just east of the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains...

 and interrogated in Rapid City, South Dakota
Rapid City, South Dakota
Rapid City is the second-largest city in the U.S. state of South Dakota, and the county seat of Pennington County. Named after Rapid Creek on which the city is established, it is set against the eastern slope of the Black Hills mountain range. The population was 67,956 as of the 2010 Census. Rapid...

 as a possible FBI informant. Means implicated Clyde Bellecourt in her murder as well, and other AIM activists, including Theresa Rios. Means said that part of the dissension within AIM in the early 1990s had related to actions to expel the Bellecourt brothers for their part in the Aquash execution; the organization split apart.

Earlier that day in a telephone interview with the journalists Paul DeMain and Harlan McKosato about the upcoming press conference, Minnie Two Shoes had said, speaking of the importance of Aquash,
"Part of why she was so important is because she was very symbolic, she was a hard working woman, she dedicated her life to the movement, to righting all the injustices that she could, and to pick somebody out and launch their little cointelpro program on her to bad jacket her to the point where she ends up dead, whoever did it, let’s look at what the reasons are, you know, she was killed and lets look at the real reasons why it could have been any of us, it could have been me, it could have been, ya gotta look at the basically thousands of women, you gotta remember that it was mostly women in AIM, it could have been any one of us and I think that’s why it’s been so important and she was just such a good person."
McKosato said, "...her [Aquash's] death has divided the American Indian Movement..." On 4 November 1999, in a followup show on Native American Calling the next day, Vernon Bellecourt denied any involvement by him and his brother in the death of Aquash.

At Federal grand jury hearings in 2003, the Indian men Arlo Looking Cloud and John Graham were indicted for the murder of Aquash. In 2004 Arlo Looking Cloud was convicted in federal court of the murder of Aquash, and named John Graham as the gunman; he was in Canada. After extradition
Extradition
Extradition is the official process whereby one nation or state surrenders a suspected or convicted criminal to another nation or state. Between nation states, extradition is regulated by treaties...

, in 2010 John Graham was convicted in South Dakota court of the murder of Aquash. In both trials, witness testimony included statements that Aquash had heard the AIM activist Leonard Peltier
Leonard Peltier
Leonard Peltier is a Native American activist and member of the American Indian Movement . In 1977 he was convicted and sentenced to two consecutive terms of life imprisonment for first degree murder in the shooting of two Federal Bureau of Investigation agents during a 1975 conflict on the Pine...

 saying he killed two FBI agents at Pine Ridge Reservation in June 1975. (He was convicted of the murders in 1976 but was long considered a political prisoner.) Witnesses testified that they believed Aquash had been murdered because of fear that she might have been an FBI informant (which her family, supporters, and the FBI have denied.)

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