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The Native American rights movement prioritized demands to have the U.S. government honor treaty obligations it made with various sovereign Native American nations.
In the late 1960s, the National Indian Education Association was formed to fight for equal education for American Indian schools, which were afflicted with racism and insufficient funds.
The group Indians of All Tribes occupied the island of Alcatraz from 1969 to 1971, attracting national attention as they demanded the reclamation of the land under the 1868 Treaty of Fort Laramie.
American Indian Movement activists marched across the country in 1972, known as the "Trail of Broken Treaties," and took over the Bureau of Indian Affairs to protest the U.S. government's failure to address past treaty responsibilities to various Indian nations.
The American Indian Movement also led a spiritual walk to Washington, D.C. to draw attention to anti-Indian legislation, leading Congress to pass the American Indian Religious Freedom Act and eventually passage of the Indian Civil Rights Act, which guaranteed civil rights and equal protection.
Unhappy with the governance of tribal president Richard Wilson, activists occupied the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in Wounded Knee, South Dakota that eventually turned into a violent 71-day stand off between the FBI, U.S. Marshals, and National Guard units.
A cross-country protest in the United States by American Indian and First Nations organizations that took place in the autumn of 1972 and designed to bring attention to American Indian issues, such as treaty rights, living standards, and inadequate housing.
An 1978 AIM-led spiritual walk across the country to support tribal sovereignty and bring attention to 11 pieces of anti-Indian legislation; AIM believed that the proposed legislation would have abrogated Indian Treaties, quantified and limited water rights, etc.
The movement for Native American centered around the tension between rights granted via tribal sovereignty and rights that individual Indians retain as U.S. citizens. Many of the demands of the movement related to the U.S. government's obligation to honor its treaties with the sovereign Native American nations.
Native American Civil Rights
After years of unequal schooling, for reasons from racist schools to insufficiently funded schools, the National Indian Education Association (NIEA) was formed in 1969 to fight for equal education for American Indians. American Indian Activists strove for media protection and to own their own media. Until 1935, American Indian people could be fined and sent to prison for practicing their traditional religious beliefs. In more recent times, there has been controversy around the use of American Indian symbols such as for school or team mascots. Concerns are that the use of the symbols distort American Indian history and culture and often stereotype in offensive ways, such as when "savages" is used. One of the primary advocacy organizations for Native American Rights, the American Indian Movement (AIM) was also formed during the 1960s.
Alcatraz Occupation: Catalyst for the Formation of AIM
The group Indians of All Tribes (IAT) occupied Alcatraz for nineteen months, from November 20, 1969, to June 11, 1971, and was forcibly ended by the U.S. government . According to the IAT, the Treaty of Fort Laramie (1868) between the U.S. and the Sioux should have returned all retired, abandoned or out-of-use federal land to the Native people from whom it was acquired. Since Alcatraz penitentiary had been closed on March 21, 1963, and the island had been declared surplus federal property in 1964, a number of activists felt the island qualified for reclamation. In 1970, the Occupation of Alcatraz was noted as "the symbol of a newly awakened desire among Indians for unity and authority in a white world."
The American Indian Movement (AIM) is a Native American activist organization in the United States, founded in 1968 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, by urban Native Americans . The AIM agenda focuses on spirituality, leadership, and sovereignty. The organization was formed to address various issues concerning the Native American urban community in Minneapolis, including poverty, housing, treaty issues, and police harassment. From its beginnings in Minnesota, AIM soon attracted members from across the United States. At a time when peaceful sit-ins were a common protest tactic, the American Indian Movement (AIM) takeovers in their early days were noticeably violent. Some appeared to be spontaneous outcomes of protest gatherings, but others included armed seizure of public facilities.
In 1972, AIM activists marched across the country on what was called the "Trail of Broken Treaties. " The activists took over the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), occupying it for several days and causing millions of dollars of damage. During this time, AIM developed a 20-point list to summarize its issues with federal treaties and promises, which they publicized during their occupation in 1972.
The list addressed the failed responsibilities of the U.S. government and demanded the restoration of the 110 million acres of land taken away from Native Nations by the U.S.; the restoration of terminated Native Nation rights; the abolition of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, establishment of the immunity of Native Nations from state commerceregulation, taxes, and trade restrictions; the protection of Indian religious freedom and cultural integrity; and affirmation of the health, housing, employment, economic development, and education for all Indian people.
"The Longest Walk" in 1978 was an AIM-led spiritual walk across the country to support tribal sovereignty and bring attention to 11 pieces of anti-Indian legislation. AIM believed that the proposed legislation would have abrogated Indian Treaties, quantified and limited water rights, etc. The first walk began on February 11, 1978, with a ceremony on Alcatraz Island, where a Sacred Pipe was loaded with tobacco and carried the entire distance. This 3,200-mile walk's purpose was to educate people about the U.S. government's continuing threat to tribal sovereignty; it rallied thousands representing many Indian Nations throughout the United States and Canada.
Gaining Native American Civil Rights
On March 6, 1968, President Lyndon Johnson signed Executive Order 11399, establishing the National Council on Indian Opportunity (NCIO). With the passage of the Indian Civil Rights Act (ICRA) in 1968, also called the Indian Bill of Rights, Native Americans were guaranteed many civil rights. In 1965, the Voting Rights Act put an end to individual states claims on whether or not Indians were allowed to vote through a federal law. Before the Voting Rights Act, many states had found ways to prevent Native Americans from voting, such as residency or literacy requirements.
the complete dissolution of the U.S. and reversion of the North American continent to Native people., the protection of Indian religious freedom and cultural integrity., the restoration of the 110 million acres of land taken away from Native Nations by the U.S., or affirmation of health, housing, employment, economic development, and education for Indian people.
Source: Boundless. “Native American Rights.” Boundless U.S. History. Boundless, 21 Jul. 2015. Retrieved 02 Sep. 2015 from https://www.boundless.com/u-s-history/textbooks/boundless-u-s-history-textbook/the-sixties-1960-1969-29/the-expansion-of-the-civil-rights-movement-220/native-american-rights-1227-9763/