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In the surging tide of Indian militancy, the most outspoken group is the American Indian Movement, leaders of last November's occupation of the BIA building in Washington, as well as the Wounded Knee takeover. The group's tactics enrage more conservative Indians, whom AIM refers to as "apples"red on the outside, white on the inside.
Yet AIM'S tactics have produced results. "For 148 years, the tribal leaders have been going to the BIA and trying to get things done," says Owen Echohawk, a Pawnee who is a retired Sun Oil Co. executive. "They could never get in contact with the White House. By taking over that building, AIM ended up negotiating with the White House in seven days." As a result of AIM'S takeover, Nixon has shuffled the top bureaucrats of the BIA. And its budget for fiscal 1974 has been increased by $50 million, to $583 million.
A nationwide convention of American Indians in 1961 adopted a statement of goals: "We, the Indian people, must be governed by principles in a democratic manner with a right to choose our way of life...What we ask of America is not charity, not paternalism...the Indians ask for assistance, technical and financial, for the time needed, however long that may be, to regain in the America of the space age some measure of the adjustment they enjoyed as the original possessors of their native land." In 1973, as an AIM slogan phrases it: "The Red Giant is on one knee, but he's getting ready to stand up."