Source Evaluation #1

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For my first source I used episode 5, titled “Wounded Knee”, of PBS’ documentary series “We Shall Remain”. This documentary had extensive information regarding the American Indian Movement as a whole, and also the activist group’s involvement in the Occupation of Wounded Knee of 1973. In addition, it told the story of Native life since the Wounded Knee massacre and more specifically, the Ogala Lakota tribe.

The documentary began by describing the long list of grievances brought upon by Dick Wilson, including starvation, extreme poverty, and murder. In a last act of defiance they overtook Wounded Knee in an attempt to save their way of life. The film described how the occupation was considered by many to be a revival of Indian Culture and life; “Tecumseh and Geronimo had their day. And we had ours”. It also brought the issues of indian life to national press.

The documentary also focused on the American Indian Movement. It told how they were the most influential Native activist group. The main asset the American Indian Movement had that other groups did not was that they were willing to commit acts of violence. Violence later brought media, which gave the group a strong voice. The Documentary gave insight to the AIM’s role in the occupation. It referenced how the first thing that AIM did after taking over Wounded Knee was contact the media. Had it not been for that, the indians may have never gotten national attention.

Overall, the documentary is a very strong first source that gives foreground to an insurrection that would become on of the most pivotal moments in modern Native American history. Furthermore, it provided lots of information about the AIM and their role in modern Native American History.

“Wounded Knee.” Episode #5. We Shall Remain. PBS. 2011. Television.

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http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/weshallremain/press