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Native American Civil Rights Movement

Page history last edited by Robert W. Maloy 2 years, 2 months ago

Indian Monument, Stockbridge, Massachusetts


Topics on the Page


History of the American Indian Movement (AIM)


  • The Longest Walk (1978)



Voting Rights



American Indian Activism



 Teaching about Native American Mascots




AP United States History Key Concept 8.2:  Civil Rights and Expanding Roles for Government


Mount Rushmore and Native Americans




American Indian Movement (AIM)


Founded in July 1968 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the American Indian Movement (AIM) is an American Indian advocacy group organized to address issues related to sovereignty, leadership, and treaties. Particularly in its early years, AIM also protested racism and civil rights violations against Native Americans (Source).


Here is a link to a detailed timeline beginning in the 1960's and travels through today expressing the Native American Rights Movement. 


This is a lesson plan that walks you through objectives and videos and written notes on the overall civil rights for indigenous peoples. 


 PBS has a ton of great short clips or episodes on the Native American Movement. This is explained throughout many episodes, but this one is 38 seconds and shows real footage of what was happening and would be good for the students so they can visualize what was happening. 


The Longest Walk (1978) 


What was it?      

     The first Longest Walk, in 1978, was a 3,000-mile march across the United States to bring attention to the rights of Native people in the United States and to protest 11 anti-Indian bills introduced in Congress that threatened treaty rights. Emphasizing the walk as a peaceful spiritual protest, thousands of Native activists, allies, and community members gathered together to support the movement. 



Who supported this? 

     This historic movement attracted support from every walk of life. A notable picture from the Longest Walk includes prominent Native and non-Native activists. The Longest Walk was deemed successful in reasserting treaty rights and bringing attention to Native issues. Ultimately, not one of the 11 bills before Congress was passed.



Where was it? 

     Participants in the Longest Walk marched the length of the country, from Alcatraz Island, in San Francisco Bay, to the nation's capital.


All information obtained by NMAI.






A Brief History of the American Indian Movement (AIM)


Article about the History of the Native American Rights movement along with a Crash Course Video 


Indivisble:  African-Native American Lives in the Americas, Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian


Voting Rights


Voting Rights for Native Americans, Library of Congress


Voting Barriers Encountered by Native Americans in Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada and South Dakota (2018)


  • Voter suppression includes


Restrictions on the hours, days and places that people can register and vote.

Requirements that people provide government issued identification before voting.


The removal of eligible voters from the lists of registered voters.




American Indian Activism


Native American Activism:  1960s to the Present, Zinn Education Project


Native American Occupation of Alcatraz Island, 1969:  Proclamation and Letter



 New York Times Article on problems that Native Americans Women are facing today, here 


Standing Rock 

     This Ted Talk by Tara Houska brings to light many of the reasons that Native Americans are fighting for their rights, and how people have responded to them. 



Native American Mascots

external image Flagstaff_Sinagua_HSJROTCSSI.png

Image on the left is the Flagstaff, Arizona, Sinagua High School JROTC Shoulder Sleeve Insignia.


The stylized peaks, on the scroll, symbolize the San Francisco Peaks, one of the highest landmarks in Arizona, and sacred to local Native Americans (Credit: United States Army Institute of Heraldry/Public Domain)


These Massachusetts Schools Still Have Native American-themed Nicknames, Mascots and Logos. MassLive (February 16, 2017)

2,128 Native American Mascots People Aren't Talking About from FiveThirtyEight, September 2014.

Timeline A Century of Racist Sports Team Names, Mother Jones

Native Americans Blast Redskins Gambit to Defuse Name Controversy with Financial Contributions, March 24, 2014.



California Racial Mascots Act(2015). California has banned schools in the state from using "redskins" as a name for sports teams.



  • Lanham Act (Trademark Act of 1946) as amended by Trademark Act of 1988

For more on Native American Mascots and theIntegration of Professional Football, link to Accomplishments of the Civil Rights Movement


Showdown: JFK and the Integration of the Washington Redskins. Thomas G. Smith, Beacon Press, 2011.



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