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American Indian Movement

The American Indian Movement (AIM), a Native-American civil rights group in the United States that burst on the national scene with its seizure of the village of Wounded Knee, South Dakota, on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. This seizure involved the taking of eleven hostages and led to a seventy-one-day standoff with federal agents, resulting in two deaths and several persons wounded.

AIM has been the subject of much controversy, some of it centering around the 1977 trial of Leonard Peltier, an AIM leader with apparent involvement in the 1975 murders of two FBI agents. Many doubt that he was responsible for these murders, and Amnesty International, among others, has called for his release. (See Leonard Peltier for more information.)

Another famous AIM member was Anna Mae Pictou-Aquash, for whose ca. 1976 murder two other AIM members are currently on trial: John Graham and Arlo Looking Cloud.

During the Sandinista/Indian conflict of the mid-1980s, AIM openly sided with the Nicaraguan government against that country's native people. Predictably, this stance caused AIM to lose much of its hard-earned status as a leading advocate of indigenous rights.

AIM still exists, albeit in a somewhat less controversial form. Its official website may be found at