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.
Woloch, Nancy, et al. The Americans Reconstruction through the 20th Century.
Evanston: McDougal Littel, 1999. Print


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.

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.

"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.


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”).

"American Indians TImeline." Timelines of History. Algis Ratnikas, n.d. Web. 14 Mar. 2012.
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American Indian Movement Grand Governing Council. AIMGGC, n.d. Web. 14 Mar. 2012.