Essay on American Indian Movement

Words: 3074
Pages: 13

American Indian Movement: Activism and Repression Native Americans have felt distress from societal and governmental interactions for hundreds of years. American Indian protests against these pressures date back to the colonial period. Broken treaties, removal policies, acculturation, and assimilation have scarred the indigenous societies of the United States. These policies and the continued oppression of the native communities produced an atmosphere of heightened tension. Governmental pressure for assimilation and their apparent aim to destroy cultures, communities, and identities through policies gave the native people a reason to fight. The unanticipated consequence was the subsequent creation of a pan-American Indian identity …show more content…
The loss of the center focuses Indian attention on taking over Alcatraz for the use as a new facility" ( This destruction united Native American tribes, councils, and organizations throughout the country. Due to the vast array of representation, the planning committee of occupiers called themselves the "Indians of All Tribes." "In the early morning hours of 20 November 1969, eighty-nine American Indians landed on Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay. These Indians of All Tribes claimed the island by "right of discovery" and by the terms of the 1868 Treaty of Fort Laramie, which gave Indians the right to unused federal property that had been previously been Indian land" (Johnson, Nagel, and Champagne 27). The occupants felt this site would be symbolic for the ships entering the area from across the world, while reminding them of our nations history and the great lands once ruled by the free Indians. This occupation stirred up media publicity and support as well as help from other indigenous organizations such as, the National Indian Youth Council and American Indian Movement. In December of 1969, members of AIM under the direction of Dennis Banks arrived at Alcatraz in assistance to the occupation. The knowledge and networking AIM received were instrumental to their direction and tactics in the following years. "After about two weeks, they return[ed] to Minneapolis bringing new ideas about confrontational activism and land seizers as