What are some similarities and differences between the United Farm Workers and the American Indian Movement? 

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mkoren's profile pic

mkoren | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted on

The United Farm Workers and the American Indian Movement were groups that had some similarities and some differences. One similarity is that both groups worked to improve conditions for the people they represented. The United Farm Workers worked to improve conditions for Hispanics while the American Indian Movement worked to improve conditions for Native Americans.

The United Farm Workers tried to help migrant farm workers get better wages and better working conditions. They worked long hours for low pay. They didn’t have bathrooms in the fields, and they were exposed to pesticide spraying while they were working. They organized a strike against the California grape farm owners. They encouraged people not to buy California grapes or products, like wine, that were made from California grapes. After a long struggle, they got recognition for their union, better wages, and better working conditions.

The American Indian Movement worked to help Native Americans. Native Americans were facing high unemployment, lower income levels, discrimination, and limited education opportunities and job training. The American Indian Movement worked to protect treaty rights of the Native Americans. They were somewhat successful in doing this. They also have recently worked to draw attention to the names of sports teams and the use of mascots that they feel wrongly portray the Native Americans.

One significant difference between the movements is that there has been more violence associated with the American Indian Movement. The incident at Wounded Knee in 1973 is an example of a more aggressive policy followed by the American Indian Movement. They took over the town for about 70 days, but the takeover was largely unsuccessful. The United Farm Workers had protests that were mostly nonviolent.

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pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

The major similarity between these two movements is that they were part of the cultural ferment of the 1960s.  Both movements arose during the 1960s in the United States.  Both were also aimed at achieving the goals sought by racial minority groups.

Beyond that, these were rather different movements.  They had goals that were pretty different.  The UFW was aimed largely at issues of working conditions and wages while the AIM was aimed more broadly at Native American rights and dignity.  In addition, the two used different tactics.  The UFW was more like Martin Luther King’s wing of the Civil Rights Movement, using nonviolent methods.  By contrast, the AIM’s tactics included violence.

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