American Indian Movement


The American Indian Movement (AIM), is an Indian activist organization in the United States. AIM burst onto the international scene with its seizure of the Bureau of Indian Affairs headquarters in Washington, D.C., in 1972 and the 1973 standoff at Wounded Knee, South Dakota, on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. AIM was cofounded in 1968 by Dennis Banks, George Mitchell, Herb Powless, Clyde Bellecourt, Eddie Benton-Banai, and many others in the Native American community, almost 200 total. Russell Means was another early leader.


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 other indigenous interests outside the United States as well.


The AIM leadership decided at its founding that a more aggressive approach had to be adopted in order for their voices could be heard.

AIM used the American press and media to present its own unvarnished message to the American public. Instead of relying on traditional lobbying efforts with the Congress or state legislature, AIM directly sought out the American public to ensure it would get AIM’s message. Sound bites such as the AIM Song were often caught on camera and quickly became associated with the movement.

The AIM Song

AIM was a target of COINTELPRO (Counter Intelligence Program, created by FBI) because it was a “dissident political organization”. COINTELPRO disrupted AIM with coverts and illegals projects like infiltration of secret agent who provoked internal tensions.



"We are America" march at Denver with AIM Colorado


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