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3.1 American Indian Movement

The American Indian Movement (AIM) is a Native American activist organization in the United States. AIM gained international press when it seized the Bureau of Indian Affairs headquarters in Washington, D.C., in 1972, and in 1973 had a standoff at Wounded Knee, South Dakota, on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. AIM was founded in 1968 by Dennis Banks, George Mitchell, Herb Powless, Clyde Bellecourt, Harold Goodsky, Eddie Benton-Banai, and a number of others in Minneapolis’ Native American community. Russell Means was another early leader. The early organization was formed to address various issues concerning the Native American community including poverty, housing, treaty issues, and police harassment. From its beginnings in Minnesota, AIM soon attracted members from across the United States (and Canada). It was also involved in the Rainbow Coalition (Fred Hampton). Charles Deegan Sr. was involved with the AIM patrol.

In the decades since AIM’s founding, the group has led protests advocating indigenous American interests, inspired cultural renewal, monitored police activities, and coordinated employment programs in cities and in rural reservation communities across the United States. AIM has often supported indigenous interests outside the United States as well. By 1993 AIM had split into two main factions, with the AIM-Grand Governing Council based in Minneapolis and affirming its right to use the name and trademarks for affiliated chapters.