Native American Civil Rights Movement
A presentation of the Native American civil rights movement.
Published on: Mar 3, 2016
Transcripts - Native American Civil Rights Movement
Native American Rights Movement
Beginning from the Native American's first
contact with Europeans, they have fought
and struggled against land encroachment
and forced acculturation. In the 19th
centuries, Native Americans increasingly
demanded equitable treatment by the U.S.
Government, in addition to respect for the
rights and lands that are guaranteed to
them by treaties.
Once Native Americans abandoned
military resistance, they sometimes utilized
the U.S. Court system to win rights. In
1831, the Cherokee sued Georgia to
prevent the state from forcing them to
evacuate their homeland, but they did not
Ponca chief Standing Bear won a case that
proved Native Americans were deemed
persons within the meaning of Constitution
and could sue for a writ of habeas corpus.
Also, in the 20th
century, tribes sued the
federal government thousands of times
over land claims.
Native Americans also formed pan-Indian
organizations that protested the negative
aspects of the Federal Indian policy. The
Society of American Indians, one of the
first such organizations, Famous Sioux
activist Gertrude Bonnin served as
secretary in 1916. She later traveled to
Indian reservations to gain support for the
passage of the Indian Citizenship act.
Throughout the 1960s, Native American
activism continued to show dramatic
increases as younger American Indians,
encouraged by the civil rights movement,
tried to awaken white America to the
injustices that were inflicted upon the
modern Native Americans. In one major
event, Native American youth helped to
stage a series of fish-ins in the Pacific
Northwest that drew pronounced media
attention toward violations of treaty-granted
Another dramatic event of the decade was
the 18-month occupation of Alcatraz
islands by the Indians of All Tribes.
Alcatraz made Indian causes highly visible
for the next several years and contributed
to the era of red power. Red power is
another term for the modern Native
American rights movement.
In the 1970s, sovereignty became the chief
rallying cry for Native American activists.
One movement was the American Indian
Movement which was led by Dennis
Banks, John Trudell, and Russell Means,
which gave young, militant Indians a voice.
AIM's takeover of the Bureau of Indian
Affairs headquarters in Washington D.C.,
the cross-country protest called the Trail of
Broken Treaties, and finally the violent
standoff with federal troops at Wounded
Knee, South Dakota in 1973 all contributed
to the intensification of the scrutiny of
Native American activists.
In recent years, Native American activists
have continued to focus on land and other
treaty rights. However, they have also
broadened their horizons and now include
movements for environmental, defamation,
and economic issues.
Activist Winona LaDuke has launched a
fight against the dumping of toxic and
nuclear wastes on reservations.