Chapter summaries
Chapter resources
     Chapter 1
     Chapter 2
     Chapter 3
     Chapter 4
     Chapter 5
          Books and Articles
     Chapter 6
     Chapter 7
     Chapter 8
     Chapter 9
     Chapter 10
     Bonus Chapter

Bonus chapter
About the author

Resources for Learning More about Social Movements and Culture

Chapter 5. Old Cowboys, New Indians: Hollywood Frames the American Indian Movement

Books and Articles

Burnette, Robert, and John Koster, The Road to Wounded Knee. New York: Bantam Books, 1974. Influential contemporary account of Indian activism in the 1960s and early 1970s.

Crow Dog, Mary, as told to Richard Erdoes. Lakota Woman. New York: Grove Weidenfeld, 1990. (Auto)Biography of one of the women at the center of the Wounded Knee occupation and other AIM actions.

Johnson, Troy. The Occupation of Alcatraz Island. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1996. Most comprehensive treatment of this key event in the evolution of Indian resistance.

Johnson, Troy, Joane Nagel, and Duane Champagne, eds. American Indian Activism: Alcatraz to the Longest Walk. Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 1997. Collection of articles by many of the key scholars on Indian activism before, during, and after the Red Power era.

Josephy, Alvin, et al. eds. Red Power: The American Indians’ Fight for Freedom, 2nd ed. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1999. Reprint of key collection of essays by and about Indian activists in the Red Power era.

Kilpatrick, Jacquelyn. Celluloid Indians: Native Americans and Film. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1999. Fine general study of Indians in mainstream and anthropological films.

Matthiessen, Peter. In the Spirit of Crazy Horse. New York: Viking Press, 1983. Documents the evolution of AIM and the FBI attacks on them.

Means, Russell, with Marvin J. Wolf. Where White Men Fear to Tread: The Autobiography of Russell Means. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1995. Autobiography of the “actorvist” who played a key role in AIM during its heyday and then moved on to Hollywood, while continuing to be an activist.

Nagel, Joanne. American Indian Ethnic Renewal: Red Power and the Resurgence of Identity and Culture. New York: Oxford University Press, 1996. History that places the Red Power movement into the wider context of post–World War II Indian cultural transformations.

Peltier. Leonard. Prison Writings: My Life Is My Sun Dance. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1999. AIM activist Peltier, still in prison for murder, has continued to be a voice for Indian resistance.

Singer, Beverly R. Wiping the War Paint Off the Lens: Native American Film and Video. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2001. Traces the self-representation of Indians in film since the 1970s, and discusses how this differs from Hollywooden Indians.

Voices from Wounded Knee, 1973: In the Words of the Participants. Roosevelt, NY: Akwesasne Notes, 1974. Firsthand accounts by Indian activists at and around the Wounded Knee occupation.

Warrior, Robert, and Paul Chaat Smith. Like a Hurricane: The Indian Movement from Alcatraz to Wounded Knee. New York: New Press, 1996. Most comprehensive and balanced study of AIM.


Alcatraz Is Not An Island. Directed by James M. Fortier. Independent Television Service (ITVS) and KQED, 2001. An award-winning one-hour public television documentary on the Indian occupation of Alcatraz in 1969.

Incident at Oglala. Directed by Michael Apted. Artisan Entertainment, 1992. Documentary on AIM and the events surrounding the murders that led to Leonard Peltier’s imprisonment.

Lakota Woman: Siege at Wounded Knee. Directed by Frank Pierson. Turner Films, 1994. Made for TV with video release. Based on Mary Crow Dog’s autobiography, this is the most substantial treatment of AIM in a fiction film.

Powwow Highway. Directed by Joanelle Nadine Romero and Jonathan Wacks. Handmade Films/Warner Bros., 1986. Set in the context of the AIM era, the film includes some scenes depicting the struggles within Indian communities for political control.

The Spirit of Crazy Horse. Directed by Milo Yellow Hair. PBS, 1990. One-hour documentary exploring the historical context of, and the mixed reactions to, AIM on the Pine Ridge reservation.

Thunderheart. Directed by Michael Apted. Tristar Pictures, 1992. Highly improbable story of a half-Indian FBI agent who investigates and then sides with activists modeled on AIM.

Warrior: Life of Leonard Peltier. Directed by Suzie Baer. Cinnamon Productions, 1992. Sympathetic portrait of Peltier as framed by the government to help stop AIM.


The Alcatraz Indian Occupation. Dr. Troy Johnson. Essay by the leading authority on the Alcatraz protest.

Alcatraz Is Not an Island. Web site for the PBS documentary on the Indian occupation of Alcatraz.

American Indian Film Festival and Institute. Influential film festival put on by the American Indian Film Institute in San Francisco since 1975.

A Brief History of the American Indian Movement. Laura Wittstock and Elaine J. Salinas. A more or less official history from one of the groups currently claiming the AIM legacy.

Index of Native American Activist Resources on the Internet. Extensive list of links to North American and global Native organizations, from the Virtual Library.

Indigenous Environmental Network. Excellent site treating resistance to the environmental racism that impacts many Native communities.

Indigenous Women’s Network. Dedicated to work on self-determination, cultural renewal, health, and education of indigenous peoples around the globe.

Native Networks. Information and links on film, television, and radio produced by indigenous people of North and South America and Hawaii.

Our Red Earth Organization. Resists the exploitation and selling of American Indian beliefs, ceremony, and culture and supports all First Nations in their ongoing attempt to reattain sovereignty and carry out cultural renewal.

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