American Indian Movement Essay

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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…
Shortly, after fulfilling local obligations the AIM began to address the state and national arenas. Indian youth from colleges, reservations and urban centers began to speak out against treatments they were receiving, while advocating self-government and autonomy. The AIM focus took a shift from socioeconomic discrimination against Indians towards the government's policies and programs. This identity based movement began to receive extreme support from returning Native American Vietnam veterans. "Why was I fighting to uphold a U.S. treaty commitment halfway around the world when the United States was violating its treaty commitments to my own people and about 300 other Indian Nations?" asked one Creek-Cherokee veteran. "I was fighting the wrong people, pure and simple" (Calloway 437). The ethically comprised members of the AIM started to raise their concerns through radical events to attract public and governmental action on their behalf. The occupation of Alcatraz Island played a large role in establishing new methods in the Native Americans fight for recognition and change. As the growing identity was being formed in the indigenous society in the United States an event helped to fuel the Alcatraz occupation. On October 9th, of 1969 the American Indian Center in San Francisco burned down, which became a
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