Background History:
Native Americans’ sole purpose is to seek their identity and rights in America ever since the New World had been taken by the Americans. Since the formation of America, the federal government had tried the method of “Americanization”, to assimilate the Natives into conformity with the American society. According to history, the Dawes Act of 1887 abolished the “tribal” tradition of Native Americans in exchange for farmlands and citizenships (Woloch et al. 662). Yet in accordance, even after the guarantee citizenships for all in 1924, Native Americans continue to remain “second-class citizen”. Then in 1934, Indian Reorganization Act was passed in support of the Native’s independency due to the Great Depression’s economic failure (Woloch et al. 662). And eventually, the government gives the natives their rights to govern their own tribe in the reservations, with limited educations and economic supports. This causes the formation of National Congress of American Indians in 1944. (Woloch et al. 663)Their goal is to “ensure the Natives’ civil rights” and enable the Natives to retain their own customs, with the goal of improving their lifestyles and equality amongst the white population. Which are for the purpose of assimilations.
Prior to the 60s, Native Americans faced poverty and prejudice that grew more severe after the event of WWII. Eisenhower administration passed The Termination Policy and withdrew all financial support from reservations and sold reservations’ lands to outsiders who wish to gain wealth by mining for minerals, oils, and other natural resources (Woloch et al. 663). By this time, the Natives are poorer than before, with the lack of money, they are unable to afford medical services. They are discriminated in society, and so finding a job would be almost impossible, in considering that they lack education as well, which is the benefit for a chance of receiving a fair-waged job. The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) was formed for supporting the Termination Policy (Woloch et al. 663). The Bureau helped Natives family gain opportunities in urban cities, moving away from reservations, and supplying them with money and places to live, which was the government’s ways to assimilate the Natives into urban society.
According to a Native American nationalist, Vine Deloria Jr., “mainstream” society is nothing more than conformity, and that the “urban” man has no “identity” (Woloch et al. 763). And during 1961, representatives from 67 different tribes meet together and drafted the Declaration of Indian Purpose to declare their rights for choosing their own “way of life”; as a result, President Lyndon Johnson established the National Council on Indian Opportunity in 1965 to support the Native’s needs (Woloch et al.763).


As the tension between Native Americans and the government rises, the period of revolution for the Natives becomes known as the American Indian Movement (AIM) (Woloch et al. 763). The movement begins in 1968 for Native defense against police brutality, and then it spreads over the nation, causing awareness to the Native American’s dream for equality and independency. Out of discontent for the government’s recognition, the AIM leader, Russell Means, starts a series of protests, marches, and violent demonstrations that finally bring about a change to the Native’s condition

The goals are very sensible, for the desire of rights and freedoms and equalities are all the wishes of Americans. Minority such as women, blacks, and other immigrants have always sought for a chance to gain freedom and rights by being in this giant “melting pot”. Yet, with the “superior white” race dominating the opportunities with prejudice and arrogance led to, ironically, the Natives of the land to seek for the American Dream, the dream of freedom and choice. The aims are simple, and a militant organization is necessary in order to attract the attention that the government has ignored ever since Columbus’ expedition.

The members in AIM give speeches that allow the people to recognize their position. Often the goal of the speeches varies, but the main idea is to gain their rights in both the society of white and in preserving their tribal culture. Some of the major protests are led by militant activist who apply radical demonstrations in order to prompt the government to reform. The event such as occupying Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay for 18 months is to inform America how Natives’ lands were taken simply because they “discover” their lands and want them (Woloch et al. 764). Another major event includes the AIM march that was an allusion after the Trail of Tears, called the Trail of Broken Treaties (Woloch et al. 764). The march was to raise awareness of government’s treaties violation throughout history, and to abolish the Bureau and Acts that took away their lands and have them resettled in cities. The march however, brings about $2 million property damage in the BIA buildings while occupying there temporarily. And finally the most radical demonstration, in which the Naives captures seven hostages in Wounded Knee to protest for their “living conditions” on the reservations has caused two months of fierce negotiation with the FBI and results in a death of a Native (Woloch et al. 764).

Although the protest seems violent and senseless – to the extent of holding hostages, the idea are pretty clever in forming awareness to the society. Since all the events took place in reference to a major event in Native American history, the Trails, Wounded Knee, and the Dutch’s trade $24 beads and cloth for Manhattan Islands back in the 1600’s parallel to their protesting purpose. The accomplishments are small and gradual, but the idea that the effect did result to some benefits to the Native is an improvement in progress for the minority race.

A series of Acts were passed in the 1970s after the protests of AIM. Such include: Indian Education Act, Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act, Alaska Claims Settlement Act. (Woloch et al. 764). These Acts guarantee the Natives tribe their own control over their lands and an education system to their race. Even the lands that were taken away by the government unlawfully in the past can now be redeemed through court cases. Much of their forest and Lake of sacredness to their ancestor are now preserved, and even with the legal recognition of financial compensation later on in the century (Woloch et al. 764).

The movement I effective in its goal at last! The Native Americans finally gain back their native lands and ancestral culture that truly represents them. They are the untamed spirits that will fight for what they believe in. Their lifestyle improved ultimately, and in helping America realizing its flaws, they are now a great symbol of America itself. In being recognized as a separate culture apart from the Americans, the Natives receive better educations and financial support, other minorities of the time, then, will also have their chances to succeed.



This video summarizes the Native American Civil Rights movement in the 1960's and later. It is short and informative and teaches about the important protests organized by Native Americans for their rights.

This video summarizes the civil rights movements and tells what the native americans went through and what the government tried to do to help. It also teaches about the Alcatraz protest in detail.

Photo Montage

This photograph shows the Indian occupation of Alcatraz during the American Indian Movement. Here you can see that the board in Alcatraz had been change by the Indian, they change “United States Property” to “United Indian Property”. And they also put “Indian Welcome” and “Indian Land” on the wall to claim that this island is belongs to them.
This is the longest walk, ended on July 15,1978. This walk is organized by the American Indian Movement because it felt that native lands and water right are under threat. Here you can see the line of the Indian and their red flag. Many Indians participate in the walk.
This is the photo of Vernon Bellecourt, he is one of the highest leader of the American Indian Movement and a Native American rights activist. Bellecourt took part in the 1972 Trail of Broken Treaties and serve as a negotiator during AIM's occupation of the Bureau of Indian Affairs headquarters building.
This is a picture of the Trail of Broken Treaties that led by the American Indian Movement, many Indian raise the flag to protest, one said:” Free Leonard Peltier” Leonare Peltier was convicted of murder in connection with the shooting deaths of two F.B. I. Agents.


The Son Of A Son Of An Indian
We must live in today's societyAnd must live just like they doBut We thrive on our Native AncestryWish We could live like Them too
We live like Modern AmericansBut way down deep insideWe're full-blooded Native AmericansWhich we're supposed to hide
But I can't, can't you see, for I am what I amAnd what I am is Native AmericanI'm so proud, can't you see, to be what I am -The son of a son of an Indian
They adopted me and tried to changeThe reality of what I amThey tried but can't rearrangeThe fact that I am an Indian
In this land I can be what I wantSo long as it isn't IndianSo when I can I try to flauntThe fact that I am an Indian
For I must, can't you see, for I am what I amAnd what I am is Native AmericanI'm so proud, can't you see, to be what I am -The son of a son of an Indian
I was raised as a white AmericanSo I'd forget just what I amBut I was born Native AmericanAnd I'm proud of what I am
I was told not to say that I'm IndianOr some day I'd live to regret itBut I am a Native AmericanAnd my soul won't let me forget it
For I can't, can't you see, I am what I amAnd what I am is Native AmericanI'm proud, can't you see, to be what I am -The son of a son of an Indian
My People call me a Wanna Be'Cause I'm not from a reservationBut weren't Our People once just like me -Indian without reservation?
I was born a Native AmericanAnd I'll be one 'til the day I dieI can't let them say I'm not IndianAnd I'll say, when I look 'em in the eye
Why won't you let me be to be what I amAnd what I am is Native AmericanI'm so proud I can be so proud that I am -The son of a son of an Indian
I'm a half-breed American...but a full-blooded Native American
And I'm proud to be an Indian!

This poem represents the movement during 1960’s of assimilation. Before 1960, Native American did not have the same civil rights as whites have, and they the policy of the federal government toward Native Americans had been one of Americanization and assimilation, and in 1924, all Native Americans were made citizens of the United States. Even though in 1960s, they remained second-class citizens and other people attitudes toward to the Native American have not changed so much.

An Indian Without Reservation
Everyone I tell so - accepts me as IndianBut nobody wants me to be one.Everyone really rejects me as IndianThe minute I try to be one.
Keep my hair short, dress just like themIs all I've done throughout life.The whites all want me to be just like them,But they forget - this is my life.
Everyone knows that I'm Indian,But this really seems to upset themForgive and forget that I'm IndianIs the only way that I can live with them.
But I can't, can't you see, for I am what I am,And what I am, dammit is Indian!Though I was raised white American,I've always been, and will always be...Indian.
They adopted me out just so they could changeMy original certificate of birthBut try as they might, they can't rearrangeMy Heritage, established at birth.
In this country I can be what I wantAs long as what I want isn't Indian,This is something I cannot flauntStill to some, "The only good one's a dead one."
Everyone knows that I am Indian,And this really seems to upset themForgive and forget that I am IndianIs the only way they'll let me live with them.
But I can't, can't you see, for I am what I am,And what I am, dammit is Indian.Though I was raised white American,I've always been, and will always be...Indian
I can be Indian behind closed doorsAnd can be one amongst my kindBut if I try it amongst whites outdoors,I'm told I'm not the right kind.
The American society existing todayCan't have me there to remind themOf atrocities performed in such a wayThey would rather just shove behind them.
Yet everyone knows that I am Indian,And this really seems to upset themForgive and forget that I'm Indian?If I can't be one, I won't live with them.
For I can't, can't you see? For I am what I am,And what I am, dammit, is Indian.Though I was raised white American,I've always been, and will always be...Indian.
I know what I am but by law can't prove itThey claim my record can't be opened now -That's because at adoption they sealed itI'm supposed to accept being white now
Some of My People won't accept what I amBecause I'm not from the reservationBut accept that I am because what I amIs an Indian without reservation!
And everyone knows that I'm Indian,I don't care that this really upsets themTo forgive and forget that I'm Indian?I'd much rather live without them.
For I can't, can't you see, for I am what I am,And what I am, bless it, is Indian.Though raised by the white American,I've always been, and will always be:...Indian.

This poem teaches us that even the federal government made a law that all Native Americans are citizens of United States and the Native Americans tried to dress and to act like whites people, they don’t accept as the same citizens as them. Native American children was cut back by boarding schools and they attend day schools on the reservations. They want to have the same civil rights as whites have.

Primary Documents

Holding Our World Together:

Dismissed by early American and European historians, Native American women have long taken a backseat to chiefs, warriors, and huntsmen. In this broad historical account, Child (Boarding School Seasons: American Indian Families: 1900-1940) sheds light on the role of women as linchpins of the Ojibwe world: forging kinship ties and strategic alliances; maintaining medicinal knowledge; organizing the seasonal harvests; participating in civil rights groups like the American Indian Movement; and bolstering community values as social activist leaders. From the strategic alliances of the fur-trading days to the forced "civilization" of the reservation era, Child follows the ups and downs of white relations with the tribes and shows how women held communities together as removal policies and land theft disrupted the harmonious seasonal round of berry picking, wild rice harvesting, and maple sugar collecting in the Great Lakes region. Instead of despairing at the racism and deprivation they faced, these resourceful women adapted to a new tourist and service economy while preserving the traditions and family bonds that enrich Ojibwe life. Though some documented anecdotes and myths could have used more room to breathe, the book offers a sensitive portrait of a resilient group and the struggles it has overcome. (Feb.)
This document accurately represents the movement more than others because it consists of Native American people, particularly women, who played many roles throughout their lifetime. Also, it depicts how they each endured certain trials and tribulations. Of which were involved during the time-period of the American Indian Movement. This document even offers a sensitive portrayal of the Native American group and the overcoming of their numerous struggles.

In the Cheyenne tribal culture, there is a saying: "A nation is not defeated until the hearts of its women are on the ground."
Defeat has crept close at times within the American Indian community. Hearts have sunk perilously low. But women now are coming together in a new movement they believe has been foretold by ancient prophecy. Women in Wellbriety aims to help women support each other, but also to repair and reconstruct the larger Indian community. No one can say why it's taken this long, but now may be the time.
"You feel the urgency," said Sharyl WhiteHawk, who leads Women in Wellbriety training around the country, including the first such session in Minneapolis earlier this month.
Here's how it works: Women come together as a circle, which includes an elder who offers guidance. While the actual work revolves around "real world" issues such as domestic violence, parenting, alcoholism and discipline, WhiteHawk said that work is possible because of a circle's spiritual underpinnings.
"To us, the unseen world is just as real as the seen world, and that gives us our strength," she said, explaining that several prophecies foretold this "awakening," such as the birth of white buffalo calves.
Wellbriety is a coined word, melding wellness and sobriety. The movement is part of, a national organization based in Colorado that offers sobriety, recovery, addiction prevention and wellness resources to Indians. Women in Wellbriety was launched last Mother's Day and is growing quickly, with almost 1,000 members on its Facebook page.
Many of those involved have their own stories of recovery. WhiteHawk, a member of the Lac Courte Orielles tribe in Rice Lake, Wis., is a survivor of childhood abuse, domestic violence and rape, and has been in recovery from alcohol and drug addiction for 31 years.
It's a sobering accounting, yet not uncommon. "We realize our women are strong, but we don't realize how wounded they were," she said.
How did this happen?
Boarding schools undercut families
The unraveling of the Indian culture didn't happen all at once, but many point to fallout from the boarding school system when Indian children were taken from their homes, sometimes forcibly, to assimilate them into white culture. The intention was perversely sincere.
"A great general has said that the only good Indian is a dead one," said Richard Pratt, an Army officer who founded the first school in 1879. "In a sense, I agree with the sentiment, but only in this: that all the Indian there is in the race should be dead. Kill the Indian in him, and save the man."
Not only did little education occur, but generations of children emerged with no idea of what a healthy home life looked like, and lacked the skills to raise a family.
"You can't give away what you don't have," said WhiteHawk. "There is a generational disparity that is beyond unforgivable."
Many within the Wellbriety movement draw upon their own struggles to aid others, which is why the role of elders is so important.
Mary Lyons of Lakeville is one such elder, and believes her participation also was foretold. "My grandfather told me, 'When the awakening happens, you're going to be on the front lines.'"
Lyons has been through her own addiction recovery and now is known for her work with children with fetal alcohol syndrome. She speaks eloquently about nurturing a healing forest. "In the aspen groves, all the roots are connected, so if there is a diseased tree in its midst, all are harmed," said Lyons, who is Ojibwe. "Even if just two women are brought together, you have your healing forest started."
As to whether this movement will succeed where others have struggled, WhiteHawk acknowledges the challenge, but believes that a crucial shift in focus will make a difference. Instead of devoting most of their energy and resources to young people, as has been the understandable model, Wellbriety works more with the older generations of people, whom they call the First Teachers. Those teachers -- mothers, grandmothers, aunts -- are in the best place to create change within families.
"In hindsight, we should have helped the mothers before," WhiteHawk said. "We've learned that our community will heal in the same proportions that our women will heal."
Both Lyons and Whitehawk stress that Women in Wellbriety is open to all women, which also is fulfillment of prophecy that all nations will come together.
"Everyone was tribal once," Whitehawk said, smiling.
This document accurately represents the movement more than others because of the fact that it’s based on the American Indian Movement in general. For example, it describes ways in which this specific tribe can improve themselves and their overall community. Such ways include doing whatever it takes to have better living conditions and lifestyles through created programs, reservations, and many other opportunities. This document even proves the benefitting factors that these listed things have towards the Native Americans.


The American Indian Movement is now consider as a community service program, which the Indian race raises support through fundraising and activities to benefit their culture and environment. Current form of the movement involves the application of new technology to spread and inform American Indians about issues concerning the Natives in America. Radios, websites, music, and other broadcasting media are all established for such purpose. The main goal of AIM, however, still lingers on the realization and preservation of their identity. According to their website, they program is to support the Indian community with safety, unity, and cultural pride of the youth and their family. Ceremonies, programs, patrols, camps, meetings, and other events are formed in their community for stability (American Indian Movement Grand Governing Council).

The organizations that are leading the movement today are much broader than back in the 60s. Other organizations include the International Treaty Council, National Coalition on Racism in Sports and Media, Native American Church of North America, and the some others (American Indian Movement Grand Governing Council). The purpose of these organizations is to have the Natives being recognized as equal to others through mass media’s “stereotyping” the Natives’ culture and race. Religious and political organization also supported the spread of their influence. Pictures of the red faced Indian are a common commercial misconception that the Americans have drawn to symbolize the Natives.

Issues such as racism and job opportunities continue to limit the Indian race and their opportunities. And other mockery of advertisement and comics are also base off racism ideas. Even in today’s world problems facing the Native’s rights still remains. On the cultural subjects, Natives continue to have certain reservation areas that don’t have the rights to hunt or have financial support on their living. Since there are over 60 tribes and numerous reservations and lands, the government supports are limited (“American Indians Timeline”).

On the contrary of these obstacles, Natives make plenty of accomplishments after the 60s and widen their political status by negotiation and forming organizations over the 21st century. American politicians also see the Native’s needs and the nation’s flawed history, therefore, in 2000, about 80 thousand acres of lands for oil reserves since 1916 were returned to the Ute Indians in Utah (“American Indians Timeline”). And other similar examples follow along the years, including lands within the national parks being grant to many different tribes. And further to the benefits of Native Americans, government often sign treaties and support the Natives business in the rises of casinos, of tourist town (such as in Palm Spring), and other entertainment as well as illegal services (“American Indians Timeline”). And during 2008, Bush recognize a day called native American Heritage Day simply to dedicate the Natives the service they had done that year, and in 2011, Obama pay the Indians 4.6 billion dollar for the misdeed in the past decades, as well as settling the water rights in Midwest region of the nation (“American Indians Timeline”).

Reference List:

Overview & Analysis-
Woloch, Nancy, et al. The Americans Reconstruction through the 20th Century.Evanston: McDougal Littel, 1999. Print
Videos-7Falcon8Wings7. Civil Rights Movement The Untold Story. YouTube. N.p.,Jun 29, 2010 .Web. 15 Mar. 2012.<>.
AmericanHistoryRules. Civil Rights Native Americans. YouTube. N.p., May 13, 2009. Web. 15 Mar. 2012.<>.
Photo Montage-Chavers, Dean. Racism and Wildlife. 25 Nov. 1969. Indian Country Today Media N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Mar. 2012.<>.
Marching to the Monument. N.d. Personal photograph by author., n.d. Web. 12 Mar. 2012. < >.
Oct. 13: Vernon Bellecourt, a leader of American Indian Movement who challenged the use of American Indian nicknames for sports teams, dies at 42. 15 Oct.2007. Associated, n.d. Web. 14 Mar. 2012.<,2933,301613,00.html> .
The Trail of Broken Treaties. N.d. Personal photograph by author. Heathersmith2. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Mar. 2012.<> .
Poems/Songs/Art-The Son Of A Son Of An Indian." Native American Poetry. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Mar.2012.<>.

"An Indian Without Reservation." Native American Poetry. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Mar. 2012. <>.

Primary Documents-"Holding Our World Together: Ojibwe Women and the Survival of Community." Publishers Weekly 12 Dec. 2011: 58. Academic OneFile. Web. 7 Mar. 2012.<>
"Tribal twist to spiritual healing; A movement by -- and for -- American Indian women aims to help the larger community." Star Tribune[Minneapolis, MN] 22 Feb. 2012: 1E. General Reference Center GOLD. Web. 7 Mar. 2012.<>
Conclusion"American Indians TImeline." Timelines of History. Algis Ratnikas, n.d. Web. 14 Mar. 2012. <> .
American Indian Movement Grand Governing Council. AIMGGC, n.d. Web. 14 Mar. 2012.<>.