American Indian Movement

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A militant organization emerging from the growth of a pan-American Indian identity in 1968 to advance American Indian cultural, legal, and property claims. Some of its members occupied Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay (1969–71), offering to buy the island for cheap jewellery worth $24—the sum for which Manhattan Island had been bought from the Indians in 1626. Similarly, the Washington offices of the Bureau of Indian Affairs were occupied in 1972, as was the village of Wounded Knee in 1973, scene of the last great US–Indian battle in 1890.

In 1970 President Nixon formally repudiated the paternalistic policy of assimilation and adopted that of Indian self-determination. Since then the AIM has achieved numerous grants of land to Indian tribes and the return of ancestral burying grounds, while Native American cultural awareness has steadily increased. It has suffered, however, from competing rival groups representing American Indian interests, such as the National Tribal Chairmen's Association and the National Congress of American Indians. For its early policy of illegal occupation of property, one of its founders, Dennis Banks, was a fugitive from justice between 1975 and 1984. Despite the support during his period on the run of such governors as Jerry Brown of California and Mario Cuomo of New York, he received a three-year sentence for political violence and riot.http://www.aimovement.orgThe home page of the AIM.

Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945) — United States History.

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