On the night of February 27, 1973, 54 cars rolled, horns blaring, into a small hamlet on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Within hours, some 200 Oglala Lakota and American Indian Movement (AIM) activists had seized the few major buildings in town and police had cordoned off the area. The occupation of Wounded Knee had begun. Demanding redress for grievances, the protesters captured the world's attention for 71 gripping days. With heavily armed federal troops tightening a cordon around meagerly supplied, cold, hungry Indians, the event invited media comparisons with the massacre of Indian men, women and children at Wounded Knee almost a century earlier. In telling the story of this iconic moment, the final episode of WE SHALL REMAIN examines the broad political and economic forces that led to the emergence of AIM in the late 1960s, as well as the immediate events that triggered the takeover. Though the federal government failed to make good on many of the promises that ended the siege, the event succeeded in bringing the desperate conditions of Indian reservation life to the nation's attention. Perhaps even more important, it proved that despite centuries of encroachment, warfare and neglect, Indians remained a vital force in the life of America. This is the last of a 5-part American Experience mini-series.moreless
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