Native American Protesters of the AIM

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Native American Protesters of the AIM

The Wounded Knee takeover:This incident began on February 27, 1973 with the seizing of the small town of Wounded Knee, South Dakota. Leaders from the American Indian Movement lead the 71 day occupation. The 200 protesters adocated for basic rights at the same place their ancestors were brutally massacred almost a century ago. At the incident's conclusion, U.S. Marshal Lloyd Grimm and another FBI agent were critically wounded. Moreover, two Indians lost their lives.

The BIA Takeover:Angry Native Americans from the Trail of Broken Treaties tookover the Bureau of Indian Affairs in a desperate effort to gain national recognition for their movement. They seized the building on November 2, 1972 and found many records to expose corruption within the government. On November 8, a settlement was reached. As a task force was set up to deal with the demands, amnesty for the occupiers was agreed upon. The total destruction to the bureau totaled over $2 million. This damage was the third heaviest ever to a government building.

"For America to Live, Europe Must Die"In AIM activist Russell Means' empowering speech, he describes how his people had been forgotten and buried under years of opression. He refers to Americans as Europeans because he believes the real Americans are the Native Indians. Means detests the European ways of life and is proud of his Lakota history. He does not consider himself a leader, but a patriot trying to end what he considers dehumanization and attempting to promote Native American Culture.

Native American protesters of the AIM.

Dennis Banks was a co-founder of the American Indian Movement and led the 1973 occupation of Wouned Knee, South Dakota. He is an Anishinabe from Minnesota, born on Leech Lake Indian Reservation As a child, was sent away to boarding school where his culture and language slipped away. He started the AIM movement in 1968 to allow future generations of Naive Americans to grow up appreciative of their culture and to have the same rights as others. Moreover, Banks taught at Deganawida Quetzecoatl University, where he bacme the first American Indian chancellor. In 1994, he led the Walk for Justice from San Francisco to Washington D.C. to bring public awareness to Native issues.

Clyde Bellecourt was a co-founder of the American Indian Movement and is the director of the Peacemaker Center for Indian Youth, organizer of the National Coalition on Racism in Sports and the Media, and chairman of the Board of American Indian OIC. Bellecourt was born on the White Earth Reservation in Minnesota in 1939. He wrote demands that were given to the government during the Indian occupation of the BIA in 1972. At 78 years old, he remains an activist and a key leader for the progression of Native Americans.

Occupation of Alcatraz, November 1969: The occupation lasted for 18 months, as Native Americans reclaimed it as native land. Indians of all tribes claimed the land as rightfully theirs according to the Treaty of Fort Laramie. Eventually, the government cut off their power and a large fire destroyed most buildings, thus propmting most of them to leave. This sparked more than 200 instances of civil disobedience; this bold move has been referred to as "The cradle of the modern Native American civil rights movement."

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Law passed:One of the most important legislations passedduring the American Indian Movement was the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act of 1975. This act authorized government departments and agencies to make grants directly toNative American tribes. This gave Indians authority over how they woud handle the funds. The act was theresult of 15 years of advocating for equal rights and proteststhat finally attracted the governments attention.

Gordon Nebraska case:In 1972, Raymond Yellow Thunder, a Lakota Native American from the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, was murdered in Gordon, Nebraska by Leslie and Melvin Hare, who were white men. The Hares received the minimal sentence for manslaughter, though leaders of AIM protested the sentencing because it did not provide justice to Native Americans. However, despite their attempts, no change was made to the case.


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