The History Book Club - CIVIL RIGHTS: CIVIL RIGHTS OF NATIVE AMERICANS Showing 1-50 of 56
500 Nations - The story of native Americans - part I
American Indian Movement (AIM): Overview
Later, Russell Means became a prominent spokesman for the group. Its original purpose was to help Indians in urban ghettos who had been displaced by government programs that had the effect of forcing them from the reservations. Its goals eventually encompassed the entire spectrum of Indian demands—economic independence, revitalization of traditional culture , protection of legal rights, and, most especially, autonomy over tribal areas and the restoration of lands that they believed had been illegally seized. AIM was involved in many highly publicized protests. It was one of the Indian groups involved in the occupation —71 of Alcatraz Island , the march on Washington, D. With many of its leaders in prison, and torn by internal dissension, the national leadership disbanded in , although local groups continued to function. American Indian Movement.
The Native American Movement In the s, Native Americans struggled with the government's policy of moving them off reservations and into cities where they might assimilate into mainstream America. Not only did they face the loss of land; many of the uprooted Indians often had difficulties adjusting to urban life.
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Awareness of the deplorable conditions under which American Indians were living was a major impetus for activism among Native Americans in the s. The native American population had almost doubled between and , with an unemployment rate ten times the national rate. Conditions on reservations, on which more than half of all Native Americans lived, were horrible. Poor infrastructure, poverty, alcoholism, and other structural and social deficiencies were the norm. As Congress was discussing the Economic Opportunity Bill in , Native Americans and other sympathizers demonstrated to encourage Congress to include American Indians in the bill. When the bill was passed, it had been changed to include Native Americans so that, for a time, many residents of reservations were able to plan and implement anti-poverty programs.
A tribal representative declared, "We forfeited our country. Our lands have fallen into the hands of the aggressor. We have allowed the white man to keep us on our knees. During the late s and early s, a new spirit of political militancy arose among the first Americans, just as it had among black Americans and women. No other group, however, faced problems more severe than Native Americans. Throughout the s, American Indians were the nation's poorest minority group, more deprived than any other group, according to virtually every socioeconomic measure. In , the Indian unemployment rate was 10 times the national average, and 40 percent of the Native American population lived below the poverty line.