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3.1.17 Ideological Differences within AIM

In 1993, AIM split into two factions, each claiming to be the authentic inheritor of the AIM tradition. One group is based in Minneapolis, Minnesota and associated with leadership by the Bellecourts, is known as the AIM-Grand Governing Council. AIM-International Confederation of Autonomous Chapters is led by Russell Means and others.

In 1993 the latter group issued its “Edgewood Declaration”, citing organizational grievances and complaining of authoritarian leadership by the Bellecourts. Ideological differences were growing, with the Grand Governing Council (GGC) taking a spiritual, perhaps more mainstream, approach to activism. The GGC tends toward a more centralized, controlled political philosophy.

The autonomous chapters group argues that AIM has always been organized as a series of decentralized, autonomous chapters, with local leadership accountable to local constituencies. The autonomous chapters reject the assertions of central control by the Minneapolis group as contrary both to indigenous political traditions, and to the original philosophy of AIM.