Centennial Honors College Western Illinois University Undergraduate Research Day 2012

Centennial Honors College
Western Illinois University
Undergraduate Research Day 2012
Poster Presentation
Indians Take AIM: The Founding of the American Indian Movement, 1968
Valerie Corey
Faculty Mentor: Virginia Jelatis
Throughout American history there have been social movements in which people have
gathered together in changing the status quo. Women’s Suffrage and Civil Rights are
such examples. However, there is one social movement that is often overlooked: the
American Indian Movement (AIM). When people do read and write about AIM they often
focus on the larger organization and battles fought at the national or international level.
AIM was involved in the occupation of Alcatraz in 1969 and in the takeover of Wounded
Knee in 1973. Although these events are important to the understanding of American
Indian activism, it is equally important to understand the beginning of this influential
movement. When conducting my research I asked: Who were the founding members?
What issues brought them together? What were their initial goals and what did they
accomplish? To answer these questions I read primary and secondary sources. The
primary sources I utilized most were microfilm of The Minneapolis Star and Tribune from
April to December 1968, as well as, interviews from AIM members, and
autobiographies. As for the secondary sources I read books, dissertations, and theses
about American Indian activism. Through my research I have learned that AIM was
founded by urban Indians frustrated by the discrimination, poverty, and police brutality
facing native groups in Minneapolis. AIM members established an Indian Car Patrol in
hopes of stemming police brutality and provided legal counsel when necessary, but
most importantly AIM returned a sense of pride to the urban American Indians of