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American Indian Movement protest photograph collection

Call Number: RH WL MS Q13


This collection consists of 32 large-scale black and white photographs of a protest by Native Americans in Washington, D.C. From what is shown in the photographs, the protest ends with police violently breaking it apart and arresting protesters.


  • Creation: July 6, 1976

Conditions Governing Access

No access restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Spencer Library staff may determine use restrictions dependent on the physical condition of manuscript materials.

History of the American Indian Movement (AIM)

The American Indian Movement (AIM) formally began in 1968 with urban Native women in Minneapolis, Minnesota wanting to put a stop to police brutality. The movement quickly grew nationally, and starting in 1969 members occupied Alcatraz Island in the San Francisco, California area for 19 months.

AIM members briefly occupied the Bureau of Indian Affairs' (BIA) headquarters in Washington, D.C. in 1970. In 1972 the movement organized a march on D.C. called the Trail of Broken Treaties. This march ended in another six-day occupation of the BIA offices. As part of this protest, AIM members presented a 20-point list of demands to the U.S. President, largely focused on treaties and restoration of land, civil, and economic rights of tribal nations.

In the leadup to the United States' Bicentennial, AIM members began a car caravan in the state of Washington with Yakima Nation members. Calling this the Trail of Self Determination, the caravan picked up protesters from other tribal nations throughout the Northwest and Great Plains states. The caravan arrived in D.C. in early July 1976 and demonstrated in front of the U.S. Capitol and White House. Fifty-four protesters were arrested after seeking a tour of the BIA building on Constitution Avenue, including 16 men, 16 women, and 22 youths. The charges were dropped, and the protesters continued making daily demonstrations in front of the White House until the end of July, when they broke up camp and went home.

AIM continues to advocate for Native American rights.

[Information retrieved from American Indian Movement, "A Brief History,"; Walters, Karina, "History Through a Native Lens," Native Americans in Philanthropy and Candid,; Brodt, Jessica, "Native American Delegations, Diplomacy, and Protests at the White House," White House Historical Association,; and Washington Area Spark, "Trail of Self Determination,"]


1.5 Linear Feet (1 oversize box)

Language of Materials


Scope and Contents

This collection consists of 32 black and white 11x14" photographs. All have "BIA 7-7-76" handwritten in the bottom left corner and are numbered sequentially in the bottom right corner in what appears to be the same handwriting.

The photographs were taken from several different angles, mostly at a distance behind the protest or from a vantage point above. The photographer is unknown. Most of the images are of large groups of protestors and police, but some are focused in on smaller groupings, and one is of a single individual. The protest and arrests appear to be taking place at a back entrance to a large building. Police used zip ties to keep protestors' arms behind their backs, as well as batons to bring protestors to the ground.

The photographs have been kept in their sequential number order, with four prints placed in each folder.

Physical Location


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchase, McBride Rare Books, 2021.



Guide to the American Indian Movement Protest Photograph Collection
American Indian Movement protest photographs
Finding aid prepared by mwh. Finding aid encoded by mwh.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
American Indian Movement protest photographs, RH WL MS Q13, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas

Repository Details

Part of the University of Kansas. Kenneth Spencer Research Library Repository

1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence KS 66045-7616 United States