Wocante Tinza : a history of the American Indian Movement

No Thumbnail Available
Akard, William K.
Coffin, James L.
Issue Date
Thesis (Ph. D.)
Other Identifiers

The purpose of the study was to develop an ethnohistorical record of the American Indian Movement with an emphasis placed on portraying of the Indian view of the organization. In the course of the study, the movement was examined to determine its validity as a social organization within Indian society. To accomplish the task, the movement's social roles were assessed on four levels: the individual level, the social group level, the Indian societal level and the greater American societal level. Two main research strategies were employed in the data collection process. First, participant-observation was carried out during a two-year term as a non-Indian member of the movement. Much of the data collected gave indication of the internal social structure and social dynamics of the organization. Secondly, interviews were conducted during the membership period and additionally, during a three-year period as a resident on the Rosebud Sioux Indian Reservation in South Dakota. The data collected in this manner included firsthand accounts movement activities and public opinion of the movement. Findinds. 1. The American Indian Movement functions within Indian society on the individual level as a social enclave to aid socially disenfranchised Indian individuals re-enter Indian society. 2. On the social group level, the movement presents a viewpoint on socio-political issues that differs from the monolithic position typical of the IRA tribal governments. 3. The American Indian Movement serves Indian society as a catalyst for social change, an endorsing force for tradition and culture, and as an advocate on behalf of Indian people. 4. The movement functions as a social reform movement to the greater American society by bringing Indian issues to the levels of national and international attention. 5. Structurally, the American Indian Movement is a formal social organization with a blend of traditional and acculturated social components. The American Indian Movement is clearly a valid functioning social organization within Indian society. The movement has successfully integrated socially to all levels of society. Although the efforts and strategies employed by the movement have been sensationalized by the media and provoked a negative controversial image, the American Indian Movement has made positive contributions to Indian society.