USET President Brian Patterson told the gathering of tribal leaders November 8 that a group from among them would sing the AIM song. “It will take the place of the morning prayer,” Patterson said.
Cedric Cromwell, Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe chairman, introduced the song with a brief history of the AIM movement. “The American Indian Movement is a Native American organization in the United States, founded in 1968 in Minneapolis by urban Native Americans,” Cromwell read from a prepared statement. “The national AIM agenda focuses on spirituality, leadership, and sovereignty. AIM was founded in 1968 by Dennis Banks , George Mitchell, Herb Powless, Clyde Bellecourt, Harold Goodsky, Eddie Benton-Banai, and a number of others in Minneapolis’s Native American community. Russell Means born Oglala Lakota, was an early leader in 1970s protests.”
The spirit of AIM lives on, Cromwell said. “Just to share with you that the AIM is still alive and well today and we’re going to sing the AIM song representing that movement that we all partake in today, that continues to move our people forward and advances Indian country to be a strong sovereign in today’s world.”
Joining in the song were Hiawatha Brown, Narragansett Indian Tribal council member, who offered tobacco for the prayer/song; Mark Harding, Mashpee Wampanoag treasurer; and Lance Gumbs and Gordell Wright, Shinnecock Indian Nation Representatives.