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American Indian Movement

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Almost four hundred centuries ago, the United States of America has celebrated the unification of European colonists and Native Americans on Plymouth by a day we call Thanksgiving. This day was significant because it marked a union of two peoples of very distinct backgrounds exchanging one another's practices and customs and ultimately joining in one large feast which has been a symbol of unity and friendship. Sadly, as time progressed, conflicts between Native Americans and European settlers grew. As these settlers of European descent composed the majority of the demographic of the United States, it became more apparent that the Native Americans and their practices were seen as inferior. The United States government viewed the American Indians as "wards of the Government who need protection and assistance of federal agencies and it is the Government's obligation to recreate their governments, conforming them to a non-Indian model, to establish their priorities, and to make or approve their decisions for them" (Rothenberg, 2010, p. 502).

Now, four centuries after the first Thanksgiving, there continues to be an ongoing conflict on American-Indian rights against the government of the United States concerning property, treaty issues, employment, the protection of Indian religious freedom and cultural integrity, and so forth. Founded in 1968, the American-Indian Movement (AIM) was founded to address these issues and grant more rights to American-Indians. The Wounded Knee incident of 1973, for example, was a protest by AIM to address the U.S. Government's failure to fulfill treaty negotiations with them along with more longstanding issues of injustice towards American-Indians.



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