The two decades, 1960s and 1970s marked an important époque in the shift of perception of native Indians in America. The question of Indian rights was raised on the political level as American leaders started to think of the stance on the highest level. Thus, Indian activism shall certainly be considered as a successful attempt for human rights recognition among indigenous people of America.
Besides the Indian activism, other social movements overwhelmed America at that time. “It’s the mid-1960’s, and everyone is fighting back. Black Americans are fighting for civil rights, the counterculture is trying to subvert the Vietnam War, and women are fighting for their liberations.” Many other issues had to be resolved. In order to remain the government for people, governmental elites had to express some reaction towards ongoing events. “It was a brilliant move, and a major departure from government practice in other high-profile cases against other radicals of the era.” So, the political reaction may be evaluated as rather positive in resolving the issue.
Looking back in history, the success of Indian activism may also be positively evaluated in term of newly created legitimate bodies. For instance, in 1968 Lyndon Johnson signed an order that meant to establish the National Court on Indian Opportunity. Also, a number of supports for Indian people came from the American Congress. The Democratic chairman of Indian Affairs, James Haley expressed a strong support for human rights, and Indian rights, in particular, numerous times. James Haley together with the President John Kennedy struggled for giving back the land to Indians.
American Indian Movement also significantly contributed to the improvement of perception of indigenous people in sports. They opposed the use of figures as mascots and expressed their attitude in a number protests. Thus, they managed to appeal to the public regarding a number of other issues such as racism and social inequality. Some of the slogans one could see in the protests stated that: “ Indians are people, not mascots”, or “Being an Indian is not a character you people”. The message they were trying to convey was to change the attitude towards others, those who were not white. In the course of the American Indian Movement, some other social reevaluations were of a public significance, too. For instance, this was a second wave of feminism and the movement for the rights of African Americans. Thus, the American Indian Movement certainly managed to contribute to the raise of awareness of these existing issues as well as to the change of their perception.
Overall, the American Indian Activism shall be considered as a successful attempt to various matters. They managed to involve legitimate political bodies to talk about their issues and protect their rights. Besides, a movement was successful in terms of raising awareness of such important issues as human rights, the rights of indigenous people and their place in American society.
- Smith, Paul Chaat, and Robert Allen Warrior. Like A Hurricane. New York: New Press, 1996. Print.