the American Indian Movement (NAIHM)

Think the Black Panthers but composed of American Indians. They both burst on the scene in 1968. A.I.M. was committed to protecting the rights of American Indians at first in Minneapolis, then across the country. They confronted U.S. authorities at Wounded Knee, a story told well in the book I recently reviewed, The Dull Knifes of Pine Ridge. They also occupied the Bureau of Indian Affairs in Washington D.C. This story recounted below from Wikipedia is so similar to that of Eldredge Cleaver, see interview links, and the Black Panthers.
Prior to the founding in July of 1968, some of the founding members of AIM had experienced years of discrimination from a dominant society. Not feeling a part of white culture or an association with their Ojibwa heritage, several acted out in ways deemed anti-social and illegal by both societies. These actions would result in time served in the Minnesota penal system. It is here that ideologies would emerge that would define the initial course of AIM. Clyde Bellecourt would be introduced to Eddie Benton Banai while incarcerated, and a reintroduction to his Indian lineage would result. "The founders and leaders of AIM appear to have undergone some kind of ideological conversion experience which enabled them to accept their Indianness".[2] It was at this time that C. Bellecourt accepted the fact that "he wasn't the dirty Indian he's been told he was by White students at school, where he went through all that racism and hatred".[3] This is related through Vernon Bellecourt who not only spent time in the penal system, but had failed to fully adjust to life as an outsider in a discriminating culture. His brother Clyde instilled pride and a sense of direction to Vernon, who ultimately became an early leader to the cause of AIM. This new ideology would become paramount to the future course of AIM and its leadership.

AIM has been active in opposing the use of indigenous caricatures as mascots for sports teams, such as the Cleveland Indians, the Atlanta Braves and the Washington Redskins, organizing protests at World Series and Super Bowl games involving those teams.

AIM has been committed to improving the conditions that face Native peoples. AIM has founded institutions to address those 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.
I don't want to take away from National American Indian Heritage Month by talking about the Black Panthers. The late 60's were a time in American History for the oppressed to rise up demand equal treatment. It was a time of frustration with unfulfilled promises from the dominant culture. Both groups did wrong things, but they achieved their goal for respect as human beings and as distinct but equal cultures. 
See more on the African-american experience and Native American posts as well as history and human rights in general.


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