Like a Hurricane: The Indian Movement from Alcatraz to Wounded Knee

Like a Hurricane: The Indian Movement from Alcatraz to Wounded Knee

by Paul Chaat Smith, Robert Allen Warrior
     
 

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 liberation. Indians were fighting, too, though it's a fight too few have documented, and even fewer remember. At the time, newspapers and television broadcasts were filled with…  See more details below

Overview

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 liberation. Indians were fighting, too, though it's a fight too few have documented, and even fewer remember. At the time, newspapers and television broadcasts were filled with images of Indian activists staging dramatic events such as the seizure of Alcatraz in 1969, the storming of the Bureau of Indian Affairs building on the eve of Nixon's re-election in 1972, and the American Indian Movement (AIM)-supported seizure of Wounded Knee by the Oglala Sioux in 1973. Like a Hurricane puts these events into historical context and provides one of the first narrative accounts of that momentous period. Unlike most other books written about American Indians, this book does not seek to persuade readers that government polices were cruel and misguided. Nor is it told from the perspective of outsiders looking in. Written by two American Indians, Paul Chaat Smith and Robert Allen Warrior, Like a Hurricane is a gripping account of how for a brief, but brilliant, season Indians strategized to change the course and tone of American Indian-U.S. government interaction. Unwaveringly honest, it analyzes not only the period's successes but also its failures.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
At the outset of this detailed, lively history of the American Indian protest movement in the early 1970s, its authors say that a problem with most other books on Indians (they do not use the term Native Americans) is that they were not written by Indians themselves and that, however sympathetic, they tend to portray Indians as victims and pawns. Smith, described as an activist by the publisher, and Warrior, a professor of history at Stanford, both Indians, have chosen to write about a brief periodthe birth and early days of the American Indian Movement (AIM)when American Indians were indeed politically and socially active. The book focuses on three Indian proteststhe 1969 invasion and 19-month occupation of Alcatraz Island; the 1972 seizure and trashing of the Bureau of Indian Affairs Building in Washington (renamed Native American Embassy for the occasion); and, a year later, the two-month occupation of Wounded Knee, North Dakota, that ended with two dead and 300 Indians under indictment (which effectively bankrupted AIM). Smith and Warrior write clearly and dramatically; they have researched and interviewed well; and although unabashed partisans of the Indian cause, they are frank and even-handed to a point that might be painful to AIM diehards. An important addition to the history of a political movement that has yet to reach its stride. Photos. (Aug.)
Library Journal - Library Journal
During the 1960s and 1970s, a new national identity was forged for Native Americans through demonstrations led by militant leaders. Activist Smith and academic Warrior (Tribal Secrets: Recovering Indian Intellectual Traditions, Univ. of Minnesota, 1994) relate three events central to those changes during the fast-paced, chaotic, and frequently disappointing movement: the takeovers of Alcatraz, the national Bureau of Indian Affairs headquarters, and Wounded Knee. The authors discuss all three heavily symbolic and media-dependent events with clear-eyed scrutiny, lauding personal heroism while recognizing instances of flawed leadership. The authors take up contradictory views in the national Indian community and trace the growth of the American Indian Movement (AIM) from its Chippewa beginnings to national influence under the charismatic leadership of Russell Means. Based on archival sources and personal accounts, this work joins another recent title, Means's autobiography, Where White Men Fear To Tread (LJ 10/15/95), in reconstructing events during a turbulent phase of modern Native American history. Recommended for academic and public libraries.Margaret W. Norton, Morton West H.S., Berwyn, Ill.
Donna Seaman
Smith, an activist, and Warrior, a history professor at Stanford University, sharpen our understanding of what exactly went on during the brief but passionate and paradigm-shifting Indian rights movement between 1969 and 1973. Their thoroughly researched, fast-paced chronicle focuses on three main events that held the attention of people all over the world: the gutsy takeover of Alcatraz, the spontaneous occupation of the Bureau of Indian Affairs in Washington, D.C., and the traumatic siege at Wounded Knee. As they present day-by-day coverage of these unprecedented acts of civil disobedience, Smith and Warrior profile the movement's diverse leaders, including Richard Oakes, Russell Means, and Clyde Warrior, the first activist to publicly challenge the trend toward assimilation by advocating pride in and respect for Indian culture. Such deep change takes time, however, hence the sudden outbreak of dramatic and dangerous confrontations. As the authors analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the Indian movement and the unrelenting vehemence of government opposition, they make it clear that this era of flamboyant protest and "guerrilla theater" is of great and lasting significance.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781565843165
Publisher:
New Press, The
Publication date:
08/01/1996
Pages:
343
Product dimensions:
6.46(w) x 9.57(h) x 1.35(d)

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