Saturday May 28th 2022

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AIM and Traditional Peacemaking are Still Here

“We are still here.”

“American Indian Vietnam vets were moving to the cities after their military service to find jobs to support their families.  In Minnesota, thousands left the reservations and moved to the cities to go to the schools and find jobs.  At the same time, negative attitudes toward Indians were widespread among the white police force, and nothing seemed to stop them from injuring people caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

“ Even with Federal Funding coming into Minneapolis for jobs training, there was not enough to keep up with the numbers of Indians who were moving into Minneapolis”™ major cities.  The police, first enforcers of the law and, to an extent, of the mores of the majority population, came into contact with Indian people in a very ugly way.”

 Franklin Front Yard Signs thanking American Indian Movement Patrol and Black Lives Matter and Rest in Peace Tributes to George Floyd
[photo: Ben Heath]

“The Birth of American Indian Movement, Minneapolis, MN, July 29, 1968

“From its founding on July 29, 1968, in a cramped loaned space at Twelfth and Plymouth on Minneapolis”™ near north side, AIM focusd on children, who represented the future of Indian people.  Clyde Bellecourt, one of the founders, said, ”˜People were beaten down and afraid to speak out, so something had to be done.  We had to create an organization to represent the people.”™  According to Bellecourt, over a hundred people crammed into the room.  Most lived on the south side of the city, so they had to find rides to get to the momentous meeting.  AIM soon opened its first offices at 1337 East Franklin Avenue [across the avenue from Franklin Library] in the Phillips neighborhood, in the heart of the city”™s urban Indian community.”

“AIM has remained active through these years, its numbers growing from thousands to millions as other groups from Canada and the Americas joined in related activities.The growth was so rapid that organization fell away.  There is still a leadership, but it is a core that remains like a small campfire in the distance.”

[Excerpts from “WE ARE STILL HERE” text By LAURA WATERMAN WITTSTOCK, photographs By DICK BANCROFT,  Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2013 pages xxvii, 3 and 4]

“The Ventura Village neighborhood wants to thank the Native Community for organizing and protecting our area during the unrest following the death of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis Police Department on May 25th. Quoting the June 12th Minneapolis StarTribune: ”˜Michael Goze, CEO of the American Indian Community Development Corporation, and Frank Paro, president of the American Indian Movement (AIM), sent out a call for volunteers as violence erupted into the streets.  Bob Rice, owner of Pow Wow Grounds Coffee Shop, opened his property as the staging area for AIM street patrols and offered other logistical support.”™  Their efforts prevented any more violence or vandalism in the following days.” [Photos by Gerald Auginash on page 7] 

“Traditional Peacemaking”

 “The effectiveness of our AIM Patrol in protecting Indians on the streets of Minneapolis was now recognized throughout Indian Country. Having reintroduced traditional methods of peacemaking, we knew how to protect our Indian community from external threats and resolve internal differences.” ”¦”The Thunder Before the Storm”Â Â By CLYDE BELLECOURT, Minnesota Historical Society Press, page 84, 2016.

 the alley newspaper front page August 1976 of the Jones Block Building in which the American Indian Movement had its first office at 1337 East Franklin directly across avenue from the Franklin Community Library 1314 East Franklin Ave.

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