An activist organization founded in the late 1960s, still in existence (basedin Minneapolis) working to undo the damage of US "policy". If you saw the "Free Leonard Peltier" graphic in that old Rage Against the Machine video,there's an AIM connection. AIM first entered the lexicon of Americana via actions like the occupations of Alcatraz in 1969 and the US Bureau of Indian Affairs in 1972, and the siege at Wounded Knee in 1973; they later survived COINTELPRO.

It would be worth noting that the activities of AIM in the southern California area are viewed with much suspicion by the active members of the Native Americans in the community and that AIM has been either thrown out of or outright banned from attending many powwows for disruptive and disrespectful behavior.

Also, I find it interesting that while the organization is the American Indian Movement, the southern California membership shuns the word Indian and instead uses Native American in all of their dealings. Most Native Americans I have met, on the other hand, call themselves Indians.

I have only seen one member of AIM that was other than a middle-class caucasian. This demographic is likely different in different areas. They dress nice, they work hard, and they seem to rarely ask the community they are supposed to be helping what needs to be worked on and often have their own agenda. A common renaming of the group dubs them "Assholes in Moccasins".

AIM, the American Indian Movement, is an organization started in the late 60s by urban Indians in Minneapolis. AIM felt that by banding together, issues facing Indians could be better dealt with. Some of the original problems AIM was formed to help with were:

  • high unemployment rates among Indians
  • police brutality
  • slum housing
  • racist government practices
  • discriminatory practices by public education

From this beginning, a formidable cultural and spiritual movement was born, which continues today. AIM got involved with Indian rights, marches and protests against injustices,Indian education, and bettering the lives of Indians all across the United States and Canada.

Probably AIM's most visible acts stemmed from a request in the early 70's from Lakota Elders for AIM's assistance in dealing with a corrupt and deadly tribal government on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. AIM responded, and the result was a much publicized 71 day occupation of Wounded Knee, the site of an earlier massacre of Indians by government soldiers.

AIM continues today, remaining active and vital in furthering Indian rights and bettering their lives. Dennis Banks was one of the original founders of AIM and remains a great leader today. There is much dissent among chapters and branches of AIM, but the power is still there. As Birgil Kills Straight of the Oglala Lakota Nation puts it WHAT IS THE AMERICAN INDIAN MOVEMENT? Things will never be same again and that is what the American Indian Movement is about ...

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