Impact Of Russell Means And The American Indian Movement During The 1960s-1970s

1230 Words5 Pages

Tina Hendi
U.S. History
20 May 2018
United States History Research Project
DBQ - What significant impact did Russell Means and the American Indian Movement have on America during the 1960s -1970s?
The American Indian movement (AIM) was founded in July 1968 in Minneapolis, Minnesota by Dennis Banks, Russell Means, Clyde Bellecourt, Vernon Bellecourt, Eddie Benton Banai, and George Mitchell, to advocate for American Indian rights in the United States. Later, Russell Means became a prominent leader and spokesperson for the group. Before the establishment of AIM, the Native Americans had an obscure existence, lack of autonomy and control in the United States. Although in 1968, President Johnson created the National Council on Indian …show more content…

The event began February 27, 1973 and ended 71 days later in May 9, 1973. The failed impeachment of tribal chairman, Dick Wilson led to the occupation of Wounded Knee. During the occupation, “two Native Americans, Frank Clearwater and Lawrence Lamont, died and one FBI agent, Lloyd Grimm, was shot and paralyzed” (Exhibits - American Indian Movement). The intensity of the siege lead to the death and injury of people. This shows that free people have to fight for their freedom and liberty at the expense of their lives. Means’ and ultimately, the AIM’s goal was to bring national attention to all the broken treaties and promises by the U.S. government. As said by himself in his autobiography written with Marvin J. Wolf. , “What Wounded Knee told the world was that John Wayne hadn’t killed us all...Suddenly billions of people knew we were still alive, still resisting” (Quoted by Langer from “Where White Men Fear to Tread”). Means’ reference to John Wayne, shines light on the accusations made by most Native Americans of him as being racist. This statement is powerful because it shows that the Native Americans were capable of protesting and resisting oppression. The event is described as “the longest-lasting "civil disorder" in 200 years of U.S. history” by many journalists and historians (Chertoff). These show that not only the occupation of Wounded Knee garnered attention but it was also fatal to both parties. The turmoil that was caused in the country was substantial and

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