American Indian Movement

Struggle for existence, this is essentially the motto of every individual community or tribe. Struggle to exist and struggle till the end. Struggle for respect, struggle for identity and struggle to maintain your recognition. This is what American Indian Movement or AIM stands for. AIM is a Native American activist organization situated in the heart of the United States. It works to secure the interest of the indigenous American groups.

The establishment of this organization was not an individual attempt. It was a collective endeavor of Dennis Banks, Herb Powless, Clyde Bellecourt, Eddie Benton Banai, and many others in 1968. Russell Means was also one of the initiators of AIM. However, AIM performed sincerely for the upliftment of the American Indian community in matters of cultural restoration and supervises a well coordinated ‘employment curriculum’ especially in cities and rural reservations. AIM has even worked outside United States with equal success and conviction. 

What Is AIM’s Mission Today?

  • The organization protects the American Indians from unnecessary police harassment.
  • With the help of CB radios and police scanners, members of AIM reach to the scene of the crime immediately even before the arrival of the police to ascertain the genuineness of the incident.

They always remain aware of any injustice being done to their community. They are patriotic in the sense that they owe loyalty to their native culture and values by working for the interest of their own community. 

AIM has always remained busy in confronting the American Government and several corporate forces whose main purpose was to marginalize indigenous people. AIM has been active enough to challenge the ideological foundations of anti-indigenous policies, which are usually demonstrated in National Holidays such as Columbus Day and Thanksgiving. According to AIM the Thanksgiving should be a National Day of mourning. However, the members of AIM continue their protest movement regarding the illegal occupation of the indigenous territories and the destruction of a variety of natural resources.

What Is The Secret Behind AIM’s Success 

  • AIM has gained universal respect, some has envied it, but it has never been ignored. Here lies the strength of AIM
  • AIM is the medium to demonstrate and establish American Indian sovereignty
  • AIM helped the voiceless to articulate their grievances and complaints and the organization boldly supported those who were without any power and rights
  • AIM has justified the worth of spiritualism and it has rekindled the sense of dignity and pride in the hearts of millions

It was in the year 1993 that the American Indian Movement got split into two. From the beginning of this separation each of the pieces claimed that they were authentic and that the other was just an aimless deviation, which went against the norms and values of the original organization of AIM. The one, which is based in Minneapolis and was associated with the Bellecourts, is generally referred to as the AIM-Grand Governing Council. On the other hand the segment headed by Russell Means and others was usually known as AIM-International Confederation of Autonomous Chapters.

Joseph Paige 2006

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