Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version



Great Plains Research Vol. 20 No. 2, 2010


Copyright © 2010 by the Center for Great Plains Studies. University of Nebraska-Lincoln


Nearly all of the many books dedicated to Native activism focus on the Red Power movement that flourished between 1968 and the late 1970s. In the minds of most people familiar with the topic, Native activism has become synonymous with events such as the 1969 occupation of Alcatraz Island, the 1968 creation of the American Indian Movement (AIM), the 1972 Trail of Broken Treaties, the 1973 occupation of Wounded Knee, and the 1970s civil war on South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Reservation. In the present book, Daniel Cobb argues that Native activism is not limited to these events. In an effort to prove his thesis, Cobb turns his attention to the Native forms of political activism that thrived from the mid-1940s to the end of the 1960s. The reason why this period has been so far largely overlooked is simple: its activism was not characterized by the confrontational tactics made famous by AIM. Rather, this less spectacular kind of activism was made up of seemingly mundane activities such as grant writing, organizing community meetings and youth councils, and petitioning the government. More reformist in nature, the Native activism of the 1950s and 1960s tried to improve living conditions for American Indians by working within the system.