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American Indian Activism after 1945

Summary and Keywords

American Indian activism after 1945 was as much a part of the larger, global decolonization movement rooted in centuries of imperialism as it was a direct response to the ethos of civic nationalism and integration that had gained momentum in the United States following World War II. This ethos manifested itself in the disastrous federal policies of termination and relocation, which sought to end federal services to recognized Indian tribes and encourage Native people to leave reservations for cities. In response, tribal leaders from throughout Indian Country formed the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) in 1944 to litigate and lobby for the collective well-being of Native peoples. The NCAI was the first intertribal organization to embrace the concepts of sovereignty, treaty rights, and cultural preservation—principles that continue to guide Native activists today. As American Indian activism grew increasingly militant in the late 1960s and 1970s, civil disobedience, demonstrations, and takeovers became the preferred tactics of “Red Power” organizations such as the National Indian Youth Council (NIYC), the Indians of All Tribes, and the American Indian Movement (AIM). At the same time, others established more focused efforts that employed less confrontational methods. For example, the Native American Rights Fund (NARF) served as a legal apparatus that represented Native nations, using the courts to protect treaty rights and expand sovereignty; the Council of Energy Resource Tribes (CERT) sought to secure greater returns on the mineral wealth found on tribal lands; and the American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC) brought Native educators together to work for greater self-determination and culturally rooted curricula in Indian schools. While the more militant of these organizations and efforts have withered, those that have exploited established channels have grown and flourished. Such efforts will no doubt continue into the unforeseeable future so long as the state of Native nations remains uncertain.

Keywords: American Indians, intertribalism, Red Power, racism, treaties, sovereignty, civic nationalism, integration, termination

The Roots of Intertribal Activism

Since the 19th century, American Indians have been subjected to a form of colonization that is unique among the myriad ethnic minorities and subalterns in the United States. As the first nations—the indigenous peoples of the land—they have been confined to clearly demarcated parcels of acreage with a special government agency to oversee them. Although not all of the 567 first nations that the federal government recognizes have reservation lands, they are all subject to the oversight of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). Because of this shared colonial experience, American Indians from hundreds of different tribes have worked together in common purpose to secure their sovereignty, defend their treaty rights, determine their own governance and political discourse, preserve their respective cultural traditions and languages, and solidify their land base. This unified political effort blossomed following World War II, but it originated in the early decades of the 20th century.

Established in 1911, the Society of American Indians (SAI) was one of the first intertribal organizations to address the poverty and political marginalization that plagued Native communities. Informed by the progressive ideals of the age, SAI assessed the state of American Indians very differently than their postwar counterparts would. The main problem, most believed, was that Native communities were backward, primitive, and tribal. The solution was not to defend the tribal land base, Native culture, or the trust relationship between tribe and federal government, but rather to eliminate them. American Indian people would remain in an undeveloped, embryotic state until they fully assimilated into the mainstream of American culture. This meant individual property ownership, Western education, participation in the U.S. political process, and the end of the reservation system.1

Many of the founders of SAI were graduates of the Carlisle Indian School in Pennsylvania. The most famous of all the boarding schools, Carlisle stressed industrial education and assimilation. Richard Henry Pratt, the school’s director, infamously stated that Carlisle’s goal was to “kill the Indian, and save the man.” Charles Eastman (Santee Dakota), Gertrude Bonnin (Yankton Dakota), and Charles Daganett (Peoria) were among the SAI founders who had roots at Carlisle. But probably the most outspoken Carlisle alumnus was Carlos Montezuma (Yavapai Apache), a medical doctor and undergirding force within SAI. He took an uncompromising stance on the need for Native people to assimilate and the total destruction of the Indian Bureau and the reservation system. In a speech at the University of Illinois, Montezuma compared the reservation to Sodom and Gomorrah, stating that they did nothing but serve as bastions of idleness and ruin. “Away with your excuses to keep the Indian children from enjoying the Christian homes of our eastern states! It is not climate or civilization that kills my people. It is bondage to the tribe, and ignorance of the advantages of civilized life that kills.”2 For Montezuma, traditional culture and even indigenous language preservation were threats to progress. In one of his many essays on the topic, he wrote, “My ears no longer willingly listen to the cry of the war-whoops, or the monotonous mournful tunes of savagery, but are eager to hear the beautiful songs that thrill the cultured human heart.”3

Not all SAI members ventured as far as Montezuma in their condemnation of Native culture and tribalism, but most shared the same overarching belief in assimilation, citizenship, and Western education. Although SAI disbanded in 1923, its founders had set in motion a political discourse that led to Congress’s passage of the Indian Citizenship Act of 1924 and that continued to influence intertribal political activism for another twenty years.

During the 1930s, the American Indian Federation embraced the SAI’s platform in challenging the new Commissioner of Indian Affairs, John Collier, and his Indian New Deal, which sought to preserve Native culture, secure treaty rights, and advance tribal sovereignty. Collier’s radical redirection of the BIA galvanized the federation’s activists, who believed the commissioner wanted to turn back the clock and force American Indians into the Stone Age. At times their voices sounded shrill, extreme, and out of touch with a changing world. In a letter to Secretary of Interior Harold Ickes, one federation leader complained that Collier was “advised by Stalin” and that the organization would continue to protest “against your anti-Christian and un-American administration in a vigorous manner.”4

The American Indian Federation never succeeded in ousting John Collier or stopping the implementation of the Indian New Deal. But the sentiments that its members advocated, the same sentiments championed by the century’s first intertribal activists—assimilation, individualism, citizenship—would remain a forceful current in American Indian affairs well into the postwar era. Perhaps more important, the ideals of the Indian New Deal would shape the ideological direction of American Indian political activism up to the present day.

National Congress of American Indians and the Postwar Sociopolitical Milieu

Just as World War II reached its concluding chapters, Native leaders who had served in Collier’s Indian Bureau took steps to establish a new intertribal organization that would help navigate Native nations through the uncertain straits of the postwar era. They were especially concerned with issues such as suffrage, discrimination, economic development, and tribal sovereignty. Situating their struggle within a broader international context, they wondered, “Shouldn’t Indians have the same right of self-determination that our government has stated … is the inalienable right of peoples in far parts of the world?”5 They recognized that major changes within the BIA would usher in new policies that could profoundly affect Native nations.6 The outfit they founded, the National Congress of American Indians, would rise and persist as the most influential and far-reaching intertribal organization of the next seventy years.

NCAI was largely the brainchild of three men: D’Arcy McNickle (Flathead), Archie Phinney (Nez Perce), and Charles E. J. Heacock (Lakota).7 Although they shared some fundamental differences on the shape the organization would take and the nature of its leadership, they concurred in its necessity and that it must avoid the pitfalls of earlier groups, such as SAI. They held preliminary meetings during the first half of 1944 with other Native employees in the BIA to discuss how best to proceed in launching a new national organization and drafting a constitution. When NCAI held its first convention in November, delegates from more than fifty tribes convened in Denver, ratified its founding documents, and chose delegates and leaders.8

Any doubts about the ideological direction of the NCAI were laid to rest in the preamble to the organization’s constitution and bylaws. The NCAI would work “to preserve cultural values; to seek an equitable adjustment to tribal affairs; [and] to secure and to preserve rights under Indian treaties with the United States.”9 Although there were assimilationists who attended the convention and who became members, they would remain a minority who would never have any real impact on NCAI’s agenda or direction. The anti-BIA sentiments so pervasive in SAI and with Carlos Montezuma in particular, however, would find traction in the organization. Indeed, during the second convention the following year, the NCAI voted favorably on a resolution that prohibited BIA employees from key leadership positions within the organization.10 This move was not only built on long simmering mistrust of the BIA but was undoubtedly influenced by rumblings about new policies that would have a profound effect on the federal government’s trust responsibilities.

Those rumblings would eventually find form in the policies of Termination and Relocation, which were policies designed to integrate Native people into the American mainstream. More specifically, Termination would end the federal government’s trust obligations by eliminating federal services to recognized tribes while Relocation encouraged Native people to leave their tribal communities for the city, where they would nominally have access to job training and gainful employment. To be sure, some lawmakers on Capitol Hill who supported these policies were motivated purely by fiscal conservatism with no regard to the well-being of American Indians. Others, however, believed that these twin efforts would lead to greater prosperity, freedom, and opportunity for the country’s Native inhabitants, who had theretofore been treated unfairly, even horrifically.11 Indeed, House Concurrent Resolution 108, which codified Termination, stated that Native people “should be freed from Federal supervision and control and from all the disabilities and limitations specially applicable to Indians.”12 The problem, however, was that these well-meaning lawmakers simply did not understand the concepts of treaty rights and tribal sovereignty. Instead, they embraced a one-size-fits-all model of integration for all people of color who had suffered from historic discrimination and racism.

The federal government did not impose the policy on all tribes at once. Rather, Assistant Commissioner of Indian Affairs William Zimmerman, who was acting on behalf of Commissioner William Brophy, devised a sort of three-tiered ranking system that assessed how well adapted a tribe was for termination of federal services. The Klamaths and Menominees made Zimmerman’s first tier and would serve as the test cases for the government’s new experiment in Indian policy.13 Meanwhile, in places like California, Nebraska, Oregon, and Wisconsin the passage of Public Law 280 transferred power over terminated tribes from the BIA to the states, which included law enforcement and education. The result of all of this legislating, policy experimentation, and denial of treaty rights was disaster. Entire communities were left without services and governance structures. Schools, hospitals, and health clinics closed, and the Menominees and Klamaths were forced to sell off their lands to provide for their peoples.14

Initially, the NCAI was hesitant to get involved, as the full ramifications of Termination had not yet come to light. Moreover, the Klamath tribe was not a member of the organization, and hence the NCAI leaders wanted to respect its sovereignty and not act on the tribe’s behalf.15 One step that NCAI did take was to form American Indian Development, Inc. (AID) to help tribes build their economic infrastructure and capacity during such uncertain times. McNickle played a crucial role and hoped that the NCAI side project would help tribal communities construct their own health care facilities and blaze trails toward greater economic independence.16 AID also sought to train a corps of leaders who would be equipped to take the reins if or when the federal government terminated its services.17 Despite such efforts, NCAI came to recognize that nothing could prepare tribes for Termination.

It was not long before the organization took a stand against the policy. In 1954, NCAI held an emergency conference in Washington, DC, to call attention to the coercive nature of the legislation and to slow its gathering momentum. Rather than eliminate federal services and renege on its trust responsibilities, the federal government should develop a Marshall Plan or Point Four program for Indian Country.18 Although NCAI activists tempered their rhetoric, recognizing that the U.S. Cold War sociopolitical landscape posed myriad pitfalls for organizations deemed unpatriotic or subversive, they made sure that lawmakers across the country knew the detrimental effects that Termination was having on the most marginalized of Americans.19

These efforts would crescendo in 1961 when over eight hundred Native representatives from some ninety tribes, bands, and pueblos met in Chicago, Illinois, for what would be the largest intertribal meeting in modern history: the American Indian Chicago Conference. Although NCAI did not organize the conference, the organization played a pivotal role in its ideological direction. McNickle, along with NCAI leaders Helen Peterson (Lakota), John Rainer (Taos Pueblo), and Clarence Wesley (Apache), among others, worked closely with the conference’s chief organizer, Sol Tax, an anthropology professor at the University of Chicago. Moreover, McNickle took the lead role in drafting what would become the conference’s official policy statement, “The Declaration of Indian Purpose.”20

Both Tax and McNickle saw the conference and the resulting declaration as the ideal opportunity to reshape federal Indian policy. And the election of John F. Kennedy to the presidency and his promotion of a “New Frontier” for America gave the NCAI what they hoped would be a staunch ally in the White House.21 The Declaration of Indian Purpose clearly laid out a new direction for federal Indian policy, one that in spirit mirrored the Indian New Deal. The document called for the preservation of traditional spiritual and cultural values and for the federal government to live up to its trust responsibilities. Not only should Termination cease immediately, but the government also should fund greater health care, housing, and education for tribal communities. It should also invest in helping tribes build their economic infrastructure and create jobs. Finally, the United States had a duty to uphold its treaties with Native nations and prevent the further erosion of the tribal land base.22

Although minor changes were made to the declaration during the conference itself, McNickle’s draft passed largely unaltered, paving the way for new chapter in Indian policy.23 The conference also gave rise to a new youth movement that would take American Indian political activism to a whole new level. Within months of the Chicago meeting, the conference’s student caucus met in Gallup, New Mexico, where they established the National Indian Youth Council, the organization that would first coin, define, articulate, and propagate “Red Power.”

The Student Movement and the Rise of Militancy

Two months after the Chicago conference, the Native students who had gathered and formed a caucus there to press their main concerns, met up on the edge of the Navajo reservation in Gallup, New Mexico. They had called themselves the Chicago Conference Youth Council and, at least in hindsight, believed that the established leaders of the NCAI were “uncle tomahawks,” who were too closely associated with the BIA and too distant from the real issues facing Native people on reservations and in rural tribal communities.24 As Clyde Warrior (Ponca), one of the student leaders would later state, “The time had come for “a fresh air of new Indianenss—a fresh air of new honesty and integrity, a fresh air of new Indian idealism, a fresh air of a new ‘greater Indian America.’”25

To be sure, the NIYC they founded began its career as a nonconfrontational outfit that fell in line ideologically with the NCAI. Indeed, some voiced concerns at the founding meeting in Gallup that many of the attendees were there for “political climbing” and that their only real motivation was to gain experience for future careers in tribal councils or the NCAI itself.26 But the students were also influenced by the Civil Rights movement and the New Left, which was beginning to flourish on college campuses around the country. And just as the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and the Students for a Democratic Society became increasingly disenchanted with the establishment in their respective movements, the NIYC became mistrustful of NCAI and those who had guided the proceedings in Chicago. Their frustration was not so much rooted in any profound ideological disagreement—like the NCAI, the student activists in NIYC believed in treaty rights, tribal sovereignty, self-determination, and cultural preservation—but rather centered on tactics and timetables. Change in Indian affairs, they believed, was happening too slowly, and they were growing impatient with all of the lobbying, litigating, and negotiating that NCAI was carrying out with powerbrokers at the state and federal level. Instead, they wanted action, and they wanted it immediately.

Embracing the direct action tactics of their African American counterparts in SNCC, the NIYC took its first stand in the Pacific Northwest to protect the treaty rights of tribes around Puget Sound. Since the beginning of the decade, local authorities and game wardens had been arresting and attempting to prohibit Native fishers from catching salmon and steelhead trout in the rivers and streams that fed into the sound. According to treaties brokered in the 1850s, the Puyallup, Nisqually, Muckleshoot, and other Salish people of the region were guaranteed the right to fish at “all usual and accustomed places.”27 But authorities, bolstered by conservationists who noted a marked decline in salmon and steelhead trout runs, claimed that Native fishers were depleting the rivers of fish and therefore had to be regulated like non-Native sport fishers.28 For local Native fishers like Billy Frank Jr. (Nisqually), who lived in a two-room shack along the banks of the Nisqually River, fishing was their livelihood and chief form of subsistence. Accordingly, they continued their regular fishing patterns, even while Washington State’s game wardens increasingly bore down on them, seizing their canoes and gillnets. Indeed, Frank was arrested so many times he simply lost track.29

For Native activists across Indian Country, this amounted to a clear breach of rights guaranteed by federal treaties that had to be challenged legislatively and judicially. For the NIYC, however, it had to be challenged immediately—and not in a courtroom or senator’s office, but on the banks of the rivers themselves, where the treaties were being broken. Working with local Native fishers, the NIYC coordinated a well-publicized “fish-in” where NIYC activists and Native fishers would cast gillnets in the rivers and intentionally break Washington State’s game laws. The action would undoubtedly result in arrests. It would also most assuredly bring wide media exposure, as the NIYC contacted every local media outlet and brought in celebrity movie star Marlon Brando to boot.30 For even greater effect, the student activists planned a massive demonstration at the state capital in Olympia, where they could air their grievances and present the governor with a memorial listing their demands.

Between March 1 and 3, 1964, NIYC’s fish-in and demonstration unfolded as planned. Media correspondents turned out in droves as Brando was arrested, handcuffed, and carted off to the local police station to be booked. Although headlines across the state gave the NIYC and Native fishers the attention they sought, the fish-in failed to bring about any immediate change. Governor Albert Rossellini politely listened to NIYC’s grievances but countered that conservation laws were necessary lest “the Pacific Salmon would be as rare as the Dodo Bird.”31 And as a parting blow, the governor lectured the students, urging them to “maintain your cultural heritage, a heritage that is not necessarily lost by working in a changing society.”32

NIYC’s fish-ins spawned the formation of the Survival of American Indians Association, which would spearhead later campaigns of direct action along the banks of the Puget Sound tributaries. Although the struggle ultimately culminated in the celebrated Boldt decision of 1974, which guaranteed the fishing rights of many Pacific Northwest tribes, the plodding pace of change and reform following the 1964 fish-ins pushed the NIYC to embrace a more militant stance and view their plight as one of a colonized people similar to that of peoples from Africa or Asia. They trumpeted their growing frustration during speaking engagements all over Indian Country and even in the nation’s capital. In a statement issued before the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Executive Reorganization, NIYC leader Mel Thom (Paiute) maintained that the United States viewed Native peoples as “small, weak, and expendable” and that government policies had led to “Asiatic-type poverty” throughout Indian Country.33 At the Capitol Conference on Indian Poverty, the charismatic Clyde Warrior (Ponca) asserted that Native peoples’ complete lack of self-determination had led to stifled economic growth and educational attainment, observing, “It was only when colonies in Africa and Asia had their freedom that economic help from France and England became productive.”34

Thom and Warrior also used the NIYC’s papers, American Aborigine and Americans Before Columbus, to further articulate and disseminate their arguments, blasting more established and moderate Native leaders. In “Indian War 1964,” for example, Thom stated, “Our opposition is out to destroy Indians as a people.” Native people were fighting nothing short of “a real war,” and the only way to win was for Indians to rise up in unified action.35 Similarly, in Warrior’s famed and oft-quoted essay, “Which One Are You?,” the Ponca activist saw Indian affairs as “a sick, sad, sorry scene” and that the time had come to “raise some hell” with the status quo and those in positions of authority “who are consciously creating social and cultural genocide among American Indian youth.”36

NIYC’s militant rhetoric and advocacy became increasingly pronounced through the 1960s. It was not long after SNCC embraced the slogan and philosophy of “Black Power” that NIYC followed suit with “Red Power.” While discrepancies exist as to when the slogan was first uttered, by 1966 it was in widespread use among NIYC activists.37 With it came more fiery speeches, uncompromising editorials, protests, demonstrations, and other acts of civil disobedience. Warrior seemed to advocate violence as the only means to bring about change. In an interview with journalist Stan Steiner, he warned, “Violence will come about … And as far as I am concerned, the sooner the better.”38 Ironically, however, it was this very militancy that would ultimately lead to the ouster of NIYC’s founders, including Thom. At the organization’s 1968 meeting, a group of young militants led by Browning Pipestem (Otoe) ousted all the old board members and appointed new members.39 NIYC would ultimately retool itself, but it never regained the notoriety and respect of its former days. Indeed, by 1969 NIYC was eclipsed by another movement in California’s Bay Area that would gain even greater attention—the Indians of All Tribes.

The Era of Occupations

The 1970s marked a shift in the Red Power movement from college graduates who had grown up largely on reservations or in rural tribal communities to young Natives whose families had relocated to urban centers such as California’s Bay Area or Minnesota’s Twin Cities. The roots of this wave of urban Native activism extend back into the 1950s with the development of Indian centers or community groups where people from myriad tribes who had relocated from the reservation to the city could find comradery with fellow Indians. They were places where people could share experiences, offer advice, hold powwows and drum circles, and feel safe and comfortable just being Indian.

The San Francisco Indian Center was one such place. It also served as an organizing hub for what would be the beginning of headline-grabbing political activism in the Bay Area. On March 9, 1964, just as NIYC’s fish-ins in Washington State concluded, a group of largely Lakota relocatees from the center decided to make a political statement on treaty rights and the mass scale theft of Native lands. They chartered a boat and motored across to Alcatraz Island, where they declared that they were filing a land claim for the island and settling there.40 Home of the notorious prison, Alcatraz had been closed down, and only a lighthouse watch attendant remained there. The occupiers stated that under federal statute, such unused surplus land could be claimed according to the U.S. government’s 1868 treaty with the Lakotas.41 Although they did not remain on the island for long and never did see their land claim through, they did plant the seeds of protest that would come to fruition five years later and result in the most celebrated and talked-about occupation of the Red Power era.

Like the 1964 landing, the 1969 occupation of Alcatraz had its roots at the American Indian Center in San Francisco, which had mysteriously burned to the ground on October 28, 1969. Historians often cite this tragedy as galvanizing the Bay Area’s Native community and influencing them to take over the island in the hope of transforming it into a new, much larger community center for Native peoples.42 However, 1969’s much longer and more militant occupation was the end result of the growth and expansion of Red Power ideology, which was no longer confined to an elite corps of college-educated Indians from reservations but now had a strong base in the metropolitan landscapes with lots of relocatees.

One organization that spearheaded the Bay Area’s Red Power movement was the Berkeley-based United Native Americans (UNA). Drawing members from around the metropolitan area, yet grounded at the University of California, UNA was founded by firebrand students LaNada Means (Bannock) and Lehman Brightman (Cheyenne) with the help of UC-Berkeley professor Jack Forbes (Powhattan). In the publication Warpath, the group espoused militant action and embraced caustic rhetoric to get their point across. In an essay titled “Proposed General Principles of United Native Americans,” UNA called for a “Bureau of White Affairs” to oversee the affairs of white people: “If Indians have the right to have their schools, scholarships, local development programs, conservation projects, etc., run directly by federal civil servants, then why shouldn’t whites have the same privilege?,” they asked through a transparent veneer of concern. “If Indians are free from the fret and worry of coming up with their own solutions to their own local problems then why shouldn’t whites be free from worry also?” Tongue in cheek, the authors went on to conclude, “It is obvious that whites are being badly discriminated against. They are also becoming too soft and need to go through a toughening experience with the help of the ever-ready federal government.”43

UNA would go on to play an organizational role in the siege of Alcatraz, as would other urban Indian groups in California. Joining forces under the banner “Indians of All Tribes,” they would “hold the rock” from November 1969 to June 1971. Like their predecessors in 1964, they, too, cited the Treaty of 1868 and claimed the abandoned island as surplus federal land. The student occupiers, however, had a much more concrete plan to develop the former prison into a cultural center and a national Indian university—an idea that the UNA’s Jack Forbes had been talking about for a few years.44 They outlined their plans in a proclamation that echoed Warpath’s biting satire. Addressing the petition to “The Great White Father and All His People,” the Alcatraz occupiers said they would purchase the island for $24 “in glass beads and red cloth,” just as Manhattan Island had been purchased three hundred years earlier.45

For all of the headlines and attention it garnered, the occupation of Alcatraz never achieved the Indians of All Tribes’ goals. After grinding on for nineteen months, punctuated by episodes of violence, vandalism, and even the tragic death of a thirteen-year-old girl, the occupation dwindled to just a handful of holdouts when U.S. marshals finally moved in. It would be tempting to call the entire episode a failure, but Alcatraz was in many regards a public relations triumph for Indian people and Indian issues. Never before had such an event captured media headlines and the public’s imagination. And never had the very real and profound issues of sovereignty, treaty rights, and self-determination reached such a widespread international audience. The occupiers did not get a new cultural center or university, but in the years that followed, Indian Country would see a dizzying slew of legislation that brought about real change in federal Indian policy.

The episode also launched a wave of occupations that continued throughout the 1970s, albeit one led by a different urban-based Red Power organization—the American Indian Movement. Established in Minnesota’s Twin Cities in 1968 and known for its tough, charismatic leaders, AIM would rise to prominence nationally in a succession of takeovers and occupations following Alcatraz. First came the Trail of Broken Treaties caravan in the fall of 1972, a cross-country trek to the BIA in Washington, DC, that brought attention to the importance of treaty rights. The event, however, culminated in the takeover and week-long occupation of the BIA building. The activists penned a twenty-point proposal that called for far-reaching changes in federal Indian policy and administration, including the abolition of the BIA itself.46 Thoughtful and well-meaning, the proposal and issues it raised were ultimately eclipsed when activists sacked the BIA building. The occupiers literally tore the interior of the offices apart, along with destroying files upon files of documents—some of which contained vital information on Native land claims.47 The event certainly drew attention, albeit largely negative and unsympathetic.

Perhaps a more celebrated chapter in AIM’s repertoire of takeovers was the occupation of Wounded Knee in 1973, which Robert Allen Warrior and Paul Chaat Smith call “the finest moment in AIM’s brief and often troubled history.”48 The episode began with a group of local activists who sought to impeach Pine Ridge tribal chairman Dick Wilson, who they claimed was corrupt and who employed intimidation and retaliation to punish his detractors.49 Efforts to impeach Wilson failed and only seemed to worsen an already tense and even violent situation. Never shy of courting confrontation, AIM members heeded the call of some of the local activists and traditional leaders whom Wilson had marginalized and made their way to Pine Ridge to confront the tribal chairman. Wilson, however, had a firm grip on the tribal government machinery, leaving AIM with few options. Under the charismatic leadership of Russel Means (Lakota) and Dennis Banks (Ojibwe), AIM descended on the symbolic hamlet of Wounded Knee, where over two hundred ghost dancers had been massacred in 1890. The subsequent occupation quickly evolved into a seventy-one-day standoff between the AIM activists and Wilson’s police force bolstered by the FBI, the South Dakota National Guard, and U.S. marshals. In the end, two occupiers died, Banks and Means were acquitted of most charges, and Wilson remained tribal chairman.

Wounded Knee brought a tremendous amount of attention to Pine Ridge and, like the occupation of Alcatraz, to Indian issues in general. But the event marked the beginning of the end for AIM and the era of occupations. To be sure, the subsequent arrest and incarceration of Leonard Peltier for the deaths of two FBI agents during an armed confrontation on the Pine Ridge reservation in 1975 and the organization’s Longest Walk campaign three years later made headlines, further underscoring AIM’s uncanny ability to court controversy. By the 1980s, however, the organization was a mere shadow of its former self and was eclipsed by a growing array of diverse organizations and activists who worked through a variety of channels to address the myriad issues confronting Native peoples.

Diversification of the Movement

During the 1970s, a new era of self-determination dawned in Indian Country. Through groundbreaking legislation that became codified acts to far-reaching judicial decisions that solidified treaty rights, American Indians experienced a turning point in the quest for greater sovereignty and self-determination. With the passage of laws like the Indian Education Act of 1972, the Self-Determination Act of 1975, and the Indian Health Care Improvement Act of 1976, along with favorable judicial decisions like those made in United States v. Washington, Santa Clara Pueblo v. Martinez, and McClanahan v. Arizona State Tax Commission, some observers credited the Red Power protests, occupations, and takeovers for the sea change in Congress and the courts.50 But correlation does not imply causation. While Red Power activists certainly raised Americans’ consciousness of issues in Indian Country, the political changes of the era were the harvest of activists working tediously behind the scenes through legal and judicial channels. Their names have been largely forgotten or ascribed to footnotes, but their toil brought big dividends in the last three decades of the 20th century.

While some of these activists operated independently, the great majority worked through a variety of organizations with specialized foci. It would be a great undertaking to chronicle all of these groups, perhaps impossible, as some have left little in the way of a paper trail. Others, however, have left a profound footprint and a wealth of data for posterity, illustrating how political activism can directly translate into change. One such organization is the Native American Rights Fund, a legal apparatus centrally located in Boulder, Colorado, which has done more than any other organization to secure treaty rights and greater political sovereignty for tribal nations via the courts.

NARF evolved out of a group known as California Legal Services in 1971. Relocating to Colorado, NARF recruited a cadre of highly motivated and talented attorneys, including John Echohawk (Pawnee), David Risling Jr. (Hoopa), and Charles Wilkinson.51 The organization worked with local leaders to secure Native lands. In 1973, for example, NARF lawyers partnered with Ada Deer (Menominee) and the Determination of Rights and Unity for Menominee Shareholders to restore the Menominee Nation’s tribal land holdings and reestablish the previously terminated Menominee as a federally recognized tribe.52 Similarly NARF worked with the Penobscot and Passamaquoddy tribes in Maine to successfully reinstate lands that had been ceded through state treaties, which NARF argued were illegal.53

NARF’s legal strategy also extended to protecting burial grounds and gravesites, gaining federal recognition for Indian tribes, securing hunting and fishing rights, and defending American Indians’ religious freedom. Moreover, besides litigating in the courts, NARF has helped draft legislation that has solidified tribal sovereignty. The organization worked closely with congressional lawmakers to draft legislation that would ultimately culminate in the historic Native American Graves Repatriation Act (NAGPRA).54 The act has resulted in the repatriation of funerary objects and human remains found on federal or tribal lands. Since its passage in 1990, NARF has worked to enforce NAGPRA by representing Native plaintiffs in high-profile cases such as Fallon-Piaute Shoshone Indian Tribe v. United States and Bonnichsen v. United States.55 The latter case garnered considerable national attention, as it involved what scientists believed were nine-thousand-year old human remains. Discovered along the Columbia River and known as “Kennewick Man,” NARF argued that the remains should be repatriated to one of the regional tribes. The organization and its client tribes, however, faced stiff opposition from the scientific community, which claimed that because of their age, the remains were not protected under NAGPRA. Although the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that a link between the remains and the tribes of the region could not be ascertained, NARF has since sought a legislative remedy to the case.56

While NARF has worked through the courts and Congress to solidify tribal sovereignty, the Council of Energy Resource Tribes has employed economic channels. Formed in 1975 largely in response to inflated oil and natural gas prices, tribal leaders from twenty-two different Indian nations recognized that through collective efforts they could leverage their economic power and negotiate fairer prices for the natural resources on their lands.57 The organization was sometimes dubbed the “Indian OPEC,” in reference to the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries of the Middle East. Like OPEC, CERT drew the ire of critics who claimed that the organization was profiteering from the nation’s energy woes at the cost of the individual consumer.58 Others criticized CERT for the environmental destruction that came with natural resource exploitation, development, and consumption.59 Moreover, Navajo tribal chairman Peter MacDonald, one of the organization’s founders and leaders, became embroiled in a financial scandal that would ultimately land him in prison.

Despite whatever controversy swirled around CERT, the organization grew in membership and claimed nearly fifty tribal nations in both the United States and Canada.60 Part of this growth was due to the passage of the Indian Mineral Development Act and the Federal Oil and Gas Management Act, which further extended tribal control over resources on tribal lands in the 1980s, and, more recently, the passage of Indian Tribal Energy and Self-Determination Act in 2005.61 Along with the growth has come greater sensitivity to environmental degradation and an attempt to forge a greener path into the future. CERT’s Thunderbird Project, for example, stresses sustainability and environmental risk management in the development of biofuel feedstocks and renewable energy parks that house multiple renewable energy sources.62

CERT’s evolution over the past forty years has enabled the body to remain a potent and effective advocate of tribal sovereignty and self-determination. Just as CERT has expanded economic development and independence in Indian Country, the American Indian Higher Education Consortium has helped usher in greater control over education and culturally responsive curricula. The organization was founded in 1973 to represent and advocate for tribally chartered colleges and universities, including Navajo Community College, DQ University, Oglala Sioux Community College, Sinte Gleska College, Standing Rock Community College, and Turtle Mountain Community College. These small, yet incalculably significant institutions ushered in a new phase in Indian education and cultural preservation, enabling tribes to control curriculum and teach Native students according to their own educational philosophies. AIHEC proved to be of great assistance to the fledging tribal colleges, which had little recognition or acceptance nationally. Most notably, the organization helped secure the passage of the Tribally Controlled Community College Act of 1978, which earmarked federal funds for the tribal colleges, ultimately ensuring their survival and facilitating their expansion.63

In the ensuing decades, the tribal college movement exploded. New colleges cropped up across Indian Country and the number of degree programs proliferated. By the 1990s, several tribal colleges were offering baccalaureate degrees in teacher education, nursing, environmental science, and other fields. AIHEC continued to advocate for greater federal funding, offered technical assistance to assure that programs were accredited, and supported the development of new tribal colleges. By 2016, there were thirty-seven tribal colleges that AIHEC recognized and several more in the development phases.64 Despite AIHEC’s tremendous success in expanding educational self-determination and the growth of the tribal college movement, tribal colleges continue to face great obstacles and chronic underfunding. Today, AIHEC reports that tribal colleges receive only a fraction of the funding that other institutions of higher education collect. For example, Congress appropriated $194.5 million for Howard University, exclusive of its medical school, while tribal colleges received $105 million collectively.65 Without AIHEC, such discrepancies would be unaccounted for and the future of tribal colleges in doubt.

NARF, CERT, and AIHEC are examples of just three organizations that have worked tirelessly on behalf of Indian nations. There are many others. There have also been a vast array of local grassroots organizations, such as the Coalition for Navajo Liberation, Survival of American Indians Association, and the Nebraska Indian Commission, that have tackled specific regional issues.66 There also have been nonorganizational, individual, or tribal efforts to solidify treaty rights, secure civil rights, or preserve culture and language. As the movement forges ahead in the 21st century, it has grown broader and more diverse, just like Indian Country itself.

Into the Uncertain Future

Owing to the federal government’s trust responsibilities, Native nations are more directly affected by shifting political tides than any other subaltern group in the United States. During the postwar period, a rise in civic nationalism informed the policy of Termination as the federal government sought to end its services to Indian Country. It was not long before Native leaders across the spectrum recognized that the new policy approach would be disastrous and that it threatened the very survival of their culture and tribal identities. In the ensuing decades, they established a variety of national and regional organizations to overturn this policy and further secure treaty rights, tribal sovereignty, and their self-determination. While some of these groups faded by the end of the century, others—especially those with more focused aims that worked within established channels—flourished and even expanded. By the end of the century, their achievements were undeniable.

Any student of American Indian history knows that eras come and go. The 1930s brought about the Indian New Deal, which ended the assimilationist policies of the previous era and seemingly brought about a new period of cultural preservation and respect for treaty rights. Termination, in turn, ended the Indian New Deal. As Indian Country celebrates great legal victories, greater control over their natural resources, and the growth of tribal colleges and culturally responsive curricula, vigilance remains essential. Will the coming decades bring about changes that again threaten the very survival of Native nations?

Today, Indian Country continues to face many grave problems. Native communities are plagued by poverty, unemployment, and underemployment. Although casinos and natural resources have opened doors to greater economic prosperity on the whole, good-paying jobs and economic opportunities remain scarce. The long shadow that poverty casts affects myriad social conditions, especially health and wellness. Native people suffer disproportionately from family disintegration, illicit drug use, suicide, and chronic diseases such as cirrhosis, heart disease, and preventable diabetes.67 Despite the great strides made in education, American Indians and Alaska Natives have the highest high school and college dropout rate in the United States, while indigenous languages continue to fade away with each passing generation. Such problems are troubling and quite often attract the unwanted attention of well-intending outsiders who hope to rescue Native people from these seemingly oblique realities. As postwar American Indian history illustrates, however, determination and resilience are common threads that run throughout Native nations. And self-determination—Native people deciding for themselves what’s best for their communities—remains the overarching principle that will undoubtedly guide future generations of Native activists.

Discussion of the Literature

The historiography of postwar American Indian activism is just now beginning to blossom. Until recently, most studies focused on the most high-profile and militant components of the Red Power movement. Indeed, the takeover and occupation of Alcatraz along with the relatively brief and controversial career of AIM monopolized the literature and discourse on Native activism into the 1990s.68 Historians seemed to be of one mind that Red Power was a synonym for Native activism and that it all began with Alcatraz. Some studies did recognize earlier organizations, actors, and events such as the NIYC, Clyde Warrior, or the American Indian Chicago Conference. For the most part, however, they remained shadowy, mysterious entities or lodged at the tail end of a discursive endnote.

This frozen state in the historiography of American Indian activism began to thaw in the 1990s with the publication of studies on the NCAI and its chief protagonist, D’Arcy McNickle.69 Not only did these studies lead scholars to reach back to the immediate postwar period to better understand modern American Indian politics and issues, but they also forced us to reconsider how we define Native activism. By taking a broader, more inclusive approach as to what constitutes activism, a richer, more descriptive narrative emerged. Accordingly, the historiographical fixation on the high-profile takeovers and occupations of the 1970s began to relax, as scholars increasingly turned their attention to the roots of intertribal activism in the 1950s and 1960s. More in-depth studies on NCAI’s various campaigns and efforts emerged, and studies on the Workshop on American Indian Affairs, the Regional Indian Youth Councils, and the NIYC shed new light on this once murky era of postwar Indian activism. Moreover, these studies offered a more nuanced look at why activism developed the way it did, situating the movement in a global, Cold War context.70

Despite the new ground that has been broken in postwar American Indian activism, many studies have maintained an organizational focus, concentrating on NCAI, NIYC, or even the National Council on Indian Opportunity as the engines that powered political change through the 1960s and beyond.71 Part of the reason for this concentration is that these groups kept records and their papers are available to researchers working in the field. Of course, just as important were grassroots efforts that did not leave much of an archival footprint. Uncovering these histories has been trickier, as it is largely contingent on oral histories or direct involvement in activist politics. There are a handful of such works, and one can only hope there will be more.72 Likewise, there is a relative dearth of literature on Native women activists who have played such a prominent role from the founding of the NCAI to the present. Some memoirs have illuminated specific women, but heretofore the field of postwar American Indian activism lacks a comprehensive volume on women and gender dynamics.73

Primary Sources

Fortunately, there are plenty of primary sources for researchers interested in postwar American Indian activism. Unfortunately, many of the best sources come in the form of archival collections and may require extensive travel. Because of the intertribal nature of Native activism and owing to the fact that the movement is one that stretches to nearly all corners of North America, serious scholars may find that they will need to purchase a multidestination plane ticket. There are, however, other important primary sources that are more accessible and will not require jet-setting coast to coast. Memoirs, newspapers, microfilm collections, and the actors themselves may only be a quick jaunt or e-mail away.

Perhaps the most logical place to begin when investigating primary source material relating to American Indian activism after 1945 is Washington, DC, and its environs. The Smithsonian Institution holds many important archival collections at its main repository near the National Mall, at the National Museum of the American Indian, or at its overflow support center in nearby Suitland, Maryland. Of course, the National Archives is home to some of the richest collections in the United States. The BIA records are there, as are the papers of the NCAI, to name just a few bedrock collections.

Outside of the nation’s capital are many other collections that may be of even greater use, depending on one’s focus. New Mexico, a state with a large, vibrant, and influential American Indian population, is home to a variety of such collections. Most are located at the University of New Mexico’s Special Collections at Zimmerman Library or at the State Records Center and Archives in nearby Santa Fe. The records of the NIYC at UNM and those of the Southwestern Association on Indian Affairs at the state archives are two such collections that are a one-hour train ride apart.

Farther west, California’s Bay Area may be a worthwhile destination for those investigating Red Power. The San Francisco Public Library is home to the Alcatraz Collection, a trove of documents relating to Native activists’ siege of the former prison in San Francisco Bay. One will also find the Indians of All Tribes’ archival collection in the Research Archives at the San Francisco Main Library. In nearby Palo Alto is Stanford University’s Department of Special Collections, where journalist Stan Steiner’s papers are housed. Steiner interviewed and collected information on many of the early activists who founded the NIYC. Also of possible interest are the papers of longtime activist and educator Jack Forbes (Powhattan). Forbes was an elder of sorts of the early intertribal activist movement in the Bay Area and played a pivotal coordinating role for the Indians of All Tribes and that outfit’s precursor, UNI. Forbes also edited Warpath, an early Red Power newspaper, and would go on to help establish DQ University, California’s first tribal college.

In the end, it may not be necessary at all to make costly trips to Washington, DC, New Mexico, or the Bay Area. There are other important primary source collections that have been microfilmed or digitized, such as the Doris Duke American Indian oral history project, which contains many intriguing and revealing testimonies on Native activism during the Red Power era. Activist newspapers such as Americans Before Columbus, Akwesasne Notes, and Warpath can be found at libraries around the country, as can a variety of memoirs and edited compilations of important documents in American Indian activism. Clinton Rickard (Tuscarora), Russel Means (Lakota), Dennis Banks (Ojibwe), Wilma Mankiller (Cherokee), and Adam Fortunate Eagle (Ojibwe) are just a handful of the activists who have written autobiographies or personal accounts.74

Finally, there are the activists themselves, many of whom are more than happy to discuss their experiences and insights. As with any study involving human subjects, researchers should take care to follow the requisite protocols of university and/or tribal institutional review boards. Sometimes this bureaucratic step can be frustratingly slow, but the voices of those who have worked for change will greatly enrich and improve the depth of any study on American Indian activism after World War II.

Further Reading

Castile, George Pierre. To Show Heart: Native American Self-determination and Federal Indian Policy, 1960–1975. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1998.Find this resource:

    Cobb, Daniel M. Native Activism in Cold War America: The Struggle for Sovereignty. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2008.Find this resource:

      Cobb, Daniel M., and Loretta Fowler, eds. Beyond Red Power: American Indian Politics and Activism since 1900. Santa Fe, NM: School for Advanced Research Press, 2007.Find this resource:

        Cowger, Thomas W. The National Congress of American Indians: The Founding Years. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1999.Find this resource:

          Deloria, Vine, Jr. Custer Died for Your Sins: An Indian Manifesto. New York: Macmillan, 1969.Find this resource:

            Fixico, Donald L. Termination and Relocation: Federal Indian Policy, 1945–1960. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1986.Find this resource:

              Iverson, Peter. “We Are Still Here”: American Indians in the Twentieth Century. Wheeling, IL: Harlan Davidson, 1998.Find this resource:

                Johnson, Troy R. The Occupation of Alcatraz Island: Indian Self-Determination and the Rise of Indian Activism. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1996.Find this resource:

                  Johnson, Troy R., Joane Nagel, and Duane Champagne, eds. American Indian Activism: Alcatraz to the Longest Walk. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1997.Find this resource:

                    Josephy, Alvin M., Jr., Joane Nagel, and Troy Johnson, eds. Red Power: The American Indians’ Fight for Freedom. 2d ed. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1999.Find this resource:

                      Rosier, Paul C. Serving Their Country: American Indian Politics and Patriotism in the Twentieth Century. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2009.Find this resource:

                        Shreve, Bradley G. Red Power Rising: The National Indian Youth Council and the Origins of Native Activism. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2011.Find this resource:

                          Smith, Paul Chaat, and Robert Allen Warrior. Like a Hurricane: The Indian Movement from Alcatraz to Wounded Knee. New York: New Press, 1996.Find this resource:

                            Wilkinson, Charles. Blood Struggle: The Rise of Modern Indian Nations. New York: W. W. Norton, 2005.Find this resource:


                              (1.) Hazel W. Hertzberg, The Search for an American Indian Identity: Modern Pan-Indian Movements (Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 1971), 60, 67, 117, 156.

                              (2.) Carlos Montezuma, “Reservations,” a speech delivered to Illini Club and Friends of the University of Illinois between 1893 and 1895, Supplement to the Papers of Carlos Montezuma, ed. John W. Larner Jr., Center for Southwest Research [hereafter CSWR], University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico [hereafter UNM] (Lanham, MD: Scholarly Resources, Inc., 2001), 936.

                              (3.) Carlos Montezuma, untitled essay, n.d., Supplement to the Papers of Carlos Montezuma, 941.

                              (4.) Joseph Bruner to Harold Ickes, letter, 16 October 1936, microfilm reel 1, frame 0627, in Native Americans and the New Deal: The Office Files of John Collier, ed. Robert E. Lester, CSWR, UNM (Bethesda, MD: University Publications of America, 1993).

                              (5.) National Congress of American Indians, “What Does Termination of Federal Trusteeship Mean to the Indian Peoples?,” quoted in Paul C. Rosier, “‘They Are Ancestral Homelands’: Race, Place, and Politics in Cold War Native America,” Journal of American Indian History 92.4 (March 2006), 1316.

                              (6.) John Collier, From Every Zenith: A Memoir and Some Essays on Life and Thought (Denver: Sage Books, 1963), 315–316, 362; Dorothy Parker, Singing an Indian Song: A Biography of D’Arcy McNickle (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1992), 93, 106; Thomas W. Cowger, The National Congress of American Indians: The Founding Years (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1999), 25–26, 31.

                              (7.) Cowger, The National Congress of American Indians, 31.

                              (8.) Ibid., 37–38.

                              (9.) Ibid., 43.

                              (10.) Ibid., 42.

                              (11.) Francis Paul Prucha, The Great Father: The United States Government and the American Indians, abr. ed. (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1984), 340; Donald L. Fixico, Termination and Relocation: Federal Indian Policy, 1945–1960 (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1986), 28, 32.

                              (12.) House Concurrent Resolution 108, accessed July 16, 2016; Prucha, The Great Father, 346.

                              (13.) Prucha, The Great Father, 346.

                              (14.) Fixico, Termination and Relocation, 127–128.

                              (15.) Cowger, The National Congress of American Indians, 120.

                              (16.) “American Indian Development: A Project Sponsored by the National Congress of American Indians, First Annual Report,” The John Collier Papers, 1922–1968, microfilm reel 54, frame 758, CSWR, UNM (Sanford, NC: Microfilming Corporation of America, 1980).

                              (17.) Cowger, The National Congress of American Indians, 123; Bradley G. Shreve, Red Power Rising: The National Indian Youth Council and the Origins of Native Activism (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2011), 36.

                              (18.) Rosier, “‘They Are Ancestral Homelands,’” 1304, 1311, 1316.

                              (19.) Cowger, The National Congress of American Indians, 128; Rosier, “‘They Are Ancestral Homelands,’” 1314, 1318.

                              (20.) Bradley G. Shreve, “‘We Must Become One People, United, with a Singleness of Purpose’: The American Indian Chicago Conference of 1961,” Journal of Illinois History, 12.2 (Summer 2009): 112–113.

                              (21.) Shreve, “‘We Must Become One People,’” 107–108.

                              (22.) Ibid., 121–122.

                              (23.) Ibid., 123.

                              (24.) Stan Steiner, The New Indians (New York: Harper and Row, 1968), 36.

                              (25.) Clyde Warrior, “Which One Are You?,” Americans Before Columbus 2.4 (1964): 7.

                              (26.) Minutes of the National Indian Youth Council, August 10, 11, 1961 folder 11, p. 2.

                              (27.) Bradley G. Shreve, “From Time Immemorial’: The Fish-in Movement and the Rise of Intertribal Activism,” Pacific Historical Review, 78.3 (2009): 407–408.

                              (28.) Ibid., 412.

                              (29.) Trova Heffernan, Where the Salmon Run: The Life and Legacy of Billy Frank Jr. (Olympia: Washington State Heritage Center, 2012), 44, 82.

                              (30.) Ibid., 418.

                              (31.) “Remarks by Governor Albert D. Rosellini to a Gathering of Washington State Indians,” March 3, 1964, Indian Affairs folder, box 3, Washington State Sportsmen’s Council Papers, Special Collections University Archives, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington.

                              (33.) Mel Thom, statement to the U.S. Senate Subcommitteee on Executive Reorganization, 12 December 1966, box 3, folder 30, Office Files of the National Indian Youth Council, CSWR, UNM.

                              (34.) Clyde Warrior, speech before the Capitol Conference on Indian Poverty, 9 May 1964, box 19, folder 4, Office Files of the National Indian Youth Council, CSWR, UNM.

                              (35.) Mel Thom, “Indian War 1964,” American Aborigine 3.1 (1964): 5.

                              (36.) Warrior, “Which One Are You?,” 1, 7.

                              (37.) Shreve, Red Power Rising, 159.

                              (38.) Steiner, The New Indians, 4.

                              (39.) Shreve, Red Power Rising, 178.

                              (40.) Troy R. Johnson, The Occupation of Alcatraz Island: Indian Self-Determination and the Rise of Indian Activism. (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1996), 16.

                              (41.) Ibid., 17.

                              (42.) Ibid., 50.

                              (43.) “Bureau of White Affairs,” Warpath (Fall 1968); 6.

                              (44.) Letter from Jack Forbes to Sol Tax, 10 January 1966, series F-2, box 3, folder: “correspondence, 1966.” Jack Forbes Collection, Special Collections, Shields Library, University of California at Davis.

                              (45.) Indians of All Tribes, “Proclamation” [November 1969], in Red Power: The American Indians’ Fight for Freedom, 2d ed., eds. Alvin M. Josephy Jr., Joane Nagel, and Troy Johnson (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1999), 40.

                              (46.) “The Twenty-Point Proposal of Native Americans on the Trail of Broken Treaties,” in Josephy, Nagel, and Johnson, Red Power, 44–47.

                              (47.) Paul Chaat Smith and Robert Allen Warrior, Like a Hurricane: The Indian Movement from Alcatraz to Wounded Knee (New York: New Press, 1996), 162–163.

                              (48.) Ibid., 200.

                              (49.) Akim D. Reinhardt, Ruling Pine Ridge: Oglala Lakota Politics from the IRA to Wounded Knee (Lubbock: Texas Tech University Press, 2007), 164.

                              (50.) Josephy, Nagel, and Johnson, eds. Red Power, 5; Kareren Baird-Olson, “Reflections of an AIM Activist: Has It All Been Worth It?,” In American Indian Activism: Alcatraz to the Longest Walk, eds. Troy Johnson, Joane Nagel, and Duane Champagne (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1997), 235.

                              (51.) Alexander Ewen and Jeffrey Wollock, “History of the Native American Rights Fund,” in Encyclopedia of the American Indian in the Twentieth Century (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2015), 305.

                              (52.) Charles Wilkinson, Blood Struggle: The Rise of Modern Indian Nations (New York: W. W. Norton, 2005), 186–187.

                              (53.) Ibid., 227–229.

                              (54.) “Repatriation Act Protects Native Burial Remains and Artifacts,” Native American Rights Fund Legal Review 16.1 (1990): 3.

                              (55.) Native American Rights Fund, Native American Rights Fund Annual Report (2004), 26–27,

                              (57.) Garrit Voggesser, “The Evolution of Federal Energy Policy for Tribal Lands and the Renewable Energy Future,” in Indians and Energy: Exploitation and Opportunity in the American Southwest, eds. Sherry L. Smith and Brian Fehner (Santa Fe, NM: School for Advanced Research Press, 2010), 66.

                              (58.) Ewen and Wollock, Encyclopedia of the American Indian, 108.

                              (59.) Bradley Glenn Shreve, “Up against Giants: The National Indian Youth Council, the Navajo Nation, and Coal Gasification, 1974–77,” American Indian Culture and Research Journal 30.2 (2006): 20.

                              (60.) Donald L. Fixico, Indian Resilience and Rebuilding: Indigenous Nations in the Modern American West (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2013), 159.

                              (61.) Ibid., 156–158, 166.

                              (63.) David M. Gipp, “The Story of AIHEC,” in Tradition and Culture in the Millennium: Tribal Colleges and Universities, eds. Linda Sue Warner and Gerald E. Gipp (Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing, Inc., 2009), 7.

                              (65.) American Indian Higher Education Consortium, “Fiscal Year 2017 Appropriations Requests for Tribal Colleges and Universities,” circular in author’s possession.

                              (66.) David R. Christensen, “‘The Ground You Walk on Belongs to My People’: Lakota Community Building and Red Power in Western Nebraska, 1917–2000,” (University of Nevada at Las Vegas, PhD diss., 2016), 135–136.

                              (67.) Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development, The State of Native Nations: Conditions under U.S. Policies of Self-Determination (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008), 7–9.

                              (68.) Rupert Costo, “Alcatraz,” Indian Historian 3.1 (1970): 4–12; Steve Talbot, “Free Alcatraz: The Culture of Native American Liberation,” Journal of Ethnic Studies 6.3 (1978): 83–96; Richard DeLuca, “‘We Hold the Rock!’: The Indian Attempt to Reclaim Alcatraz Island,” California History 62.1 (1983): 2–22; Peter Matthiessen, In the Spirit of Crazy Horse (New York: Viking, 1983); Jeff Sklansky, “Rock Reservation and Prison: The Native American Occupation of Alcatraz Island,” American Indian Culture and Research Journal 13.2 (1989): 29–68; Troy R. Johnson, You Are on Indian Land!: Alcatraz Island, 1969–1971 (Los Angeles: University of California American Indian Studies Center, 1995); Smith and Warrior, Like a Hurricane; Johnson, The Occupation of Alcatraz Island; Johnson, Nagel, and Champagne, eds., American Indian Activism. Firsthand accounts of Alcatraz and AIM include Peter Blue Cloud, Alcatraz Is Not an Island (Berkeley: Wingbow Press, 1972); Adam Fortunate Eagle, Alcatraz! Alcatraz!: The Occupation of 1969–1971 (Berkeley: Heyday Books, 1992); Russell Means with Marvin J. Wolf, Where White Men Fear to Tread: The Autobiography of Russell Means (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1995); Adam Fortunate Eagle with Tim Findley, Heart of the Rock: The Indian Invasion of Alcatraz (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2002); and Dennis Banks with Richard Erdoes, Ojibwa Warrior: Dennis Banks and the Rise of the American Indian Movement (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2004).

                              (69.) Parker, Singing an Indian Song; and Cowger, The National Congress of American Indians.

                              (70.) Rosier, “‘They Are Ancestral Homelands’,” 1300–1326; Daniel M. Cobb and Loretta Fowler, eds., Beyond Red Power: American Indian Politics and Activism since 1900 (Santa Fe, NM: School for Advanced Research, 2007); Bradley Glenn Shreve, “The Evolution of Modern American Indian Politics,” in The Political Culture of the New West, ed. Jeff Roche (Lawrence: University of Kansas Press, 2008); Daniel M. Cobb, Native Activism in Cold War America: The Struggle for Sovereignty (Lawrence: University of Kansas Press, 2008); Shreve, “We Must Become One People, United, with a Singleness of Purpose’,” 107–128; Shreve, “From Time Immemorial,” 403–434; Paul C. Rosier, Serving Their Country: American Indian Politics and Patriotism in the Twentieth Century (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2009); Shreve, Red Power Rising; Paul McKenzie-Jones, “Evolving Voices of Discontent: The Workshops on American Indian Affairs, 1956–1972,” American Indian Quarterly 38.2 (2014): 207–236; Paul McKenzie-Jones, Clyde Warrior: Tradition, Community, and Red Power (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2015).

                              (71.) Thomas A. Britten, The National Council on Indian Opportunity: Quiet Champion of Self-Determination (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2014).

                              (72.) Charles Wilkinson, Blood Struggle: The Rise of Modern Indian Nations (New York: W. W. Norton, 2005); Trova Heffernan, Where the Salmon Run.

                              (73.) Wilma Mankiller and Michael Wallis, Mankiller: A Chief and Her People (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1993); Sarah Epler Janda, Beloved Women: The Political Lives of LaDonna Harris and Wilma Mankiller (DeKalb: Northern Illinois University Press, 2007).

                              (74.) Clinton Rickard with Barbara Graymont, Fighting Tuscaora: The Autobiography of Clinton Rickard (Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 1973); Means with Wolf, Where White Men Fear to Tread; Banks with Erdoes, Ojibwa Waorrior; Mankiller and Wallis, Mankiller; Eagle, Heart of the Rock.