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 ...