Like a Hurricane

Paul Chaat Smith, Author, Robert Allen Warrior, With New Press $25 (343p) ISBN 978-1-56584-316-5
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 period--the 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 protests--the 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.)
Reviewed on: 07/29/1996
Release date: 08/01/1996
Paperback - 343 pages - 978-1-56584-402-5
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