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Ranging from the end of World War II to the late 1960s, Daniel Cobb uncovers the groundwork laid by earlier activists. He draws on dozens of interviews with key players to relate untold stories of both seemingly well-known events such as the American Indian Chicago Conference and little-known ones such as Native participation in the Poor People's Campaign of 1968. Along the way, he introduces readers to a host of previously neglected but critically important activists: Mel Thom, Tillie Walker, Forrest Gerard, Dr. Jim Wilson, Martha Grass, and many others.
Cobb takes readers inside the early movement—from D'Arcy McNickle's founding of American Indian Development, Inc. and Vine Deloria Jr.'s tenure as executive director of the National Congress of American Indians to Clyde Warrior's leadership in the National Indian Youth Council—and describes how early activists forged connections between their struggle and anticolonialist movements in the developing world. He also describes how the War on Poverty's Community Action Programs transformed Indian Country by training bureaucrats and tribal leaders alike in new political skills and providing activists with the leverage they needed to advancethe movement toward self-determination.
This book shows how Native people who never embraced militancy—and others who did—made vital contributions as activists well before the American Indian Movement burst onto the scene. By highlighting the role of early intellectuals and activists like Sol Tax, Nancy Lurie, Robert K. Thomas, Helen Peterson, and Robert V. Dumont, Cobb situates AIM's efforts within a much broader context and reveals how Native people translated the politics of Cold War civil rights into the language of tribal sovereignty.
Introduction Two Days in Golden 1
Ch. 1 Parallels 8
Ch. 2 Declarations 30
Ch. 3 Dilemmas 58
Ch. 4 Meanings 80
Ch. 5 Activists and Manipulators 102
Ch. 6 Inside Out 125
Ch. 7 Many Roads 147
Ch. 8 Freedom 171
Conclusion: A Struggle Just Beginning 193