The focus of this week’s Tribal Perspective is on the American Indian Movement (AIM), which is part of a continuous process stemming out of the Civil Rights movement.
The roots of AIM began in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in July 1968. In its infancy, AIM was a local urban Indian organization that sought to improve conditions for Indian people living in urban centers by combating discrimination against Indian people in areas of employment, housing, or welfare services.
One of the first AIM programs was the establishment of the Indian Citizen’s Patrol, modeled after the original Black Panthers Patrol in Oakland, California, which observed police-citizen encounters, worked to reduce the mistreatment of Indians and the number of Indian arrests, and provide legal assistance for those who were arrested. In addition, AIM strove to re-establish a sense of awareness in Indian identity and pride in Indian heritage.
As AIM progressed over the following years it took on a national and intertribal focus, bringing about a redevelopment in notions of Indian sovereignty, treaty rights/violations, and a new concept of Indian nationalism or "supratribal" Indian identity.
Because there is a great deal of information on AIM, we have provided some select resources for you to explore. You may be surprised to learn that AIM lives on, with chapters in several locations throughout the United States (Michigan, Ohio, Colorado, South Carolina, and Tennessee).
The Minnesota Historical Society provides an overview article on the history of AIM, which was founded in Minnesota, followed by a well-rounded listing of primary and secondary sources on AIM:
Follow this link to read "A Brief History of American Indian Movement," by Laura Waterman Wittstock and Elaine J. Salinas (posted on the official AIM website listed above): http://www.aimovement.org/ggc/history.html
This link takes you to the official website of the American Indian Movement and its Grand Governing Council:
The following link to the International Confederation of Autonomous Chapters of the American Indian Movement provides links to these individual chapters, in addition to informational links on the history and rights of Native Hawaiians, First Nations of Canada, Latin Americans, Irish Americans, etc.: http://www.americanindianmovement.org/index.htm
Kae Cheatham, Dennis Banks: Native American Activist, (Enslow Publishers, Inc., 1997).
Juvenile Literature: explores the life and actions of Dennis Banks, a dedicated supporter of the American Indian cause and founder of the American Indian Movement.
Ward Churchill and Jim Vander Wall, Agents of Repression: The FBI's Secret Wars against the Black Panther Party and the American Indian Movement,
(South End Press, 1988)
History: Examines the FBI’s Counterintelligence Program against the Black Panther Party and the American Indian Movement. Details the history of Wounded Knee, the Leonard Peltier and Anna Mae Aquash cases, and infiltration of AIM by the FBI.
M. Annette Jaimes, The State of Native America: Genocide, Colonization, and Resistance (South End Press, 1992) History: See specifically Chapters I & II
Devon A. Mihesuah, Indigenous American Women: Decolonization, Empowerment (University of Nebraska Press, 2003) Activism Book: collection of essays about Indian women activists – Mary Crow Dog, Paula Gunn Allen, Shah Goshorn, Buffy Ste. Marie and Anna Mae Pictou-Aquash
Suggested Journal Articles:
Rachel A. Bonney, "The Role of AIM Leaders in Indian Nationalism," American Indian Quarterly, Vol 3, No. 3 (Autumn 1977) pp. 209-224. "R. Bonney AIM" pdf file
Jeffery R. Hanson, "Ethnicity and the Looking Glass: The Dialectics of National Indian Identity," American Indian Quarterly, Vol. 21, 1998 J. Hanson pdf file
Nancy Shoemaker, "Urban Indians and Ethnic Choices: American Indian Organizations in Minneapolis, 1920-1950," The Western Historical Quarterly, Vol 19, No. 4 (Nov 1988), pp. 431-447. N. Shoemaker pdf file