Association on American Indian Affairs
The Records of the Association on American Indian Affairs document the corporate life of an influential and resilient player in the history of twentieth-century Native American advocacy. From its formation by non-Indians in New York in 1922 to its re-establishment in South Dakota in 1995 under a wholly Indian administration, the AAIA has defended the rights and promoted the welfare of Native Americans and, in this process, has shaped the views of their fellow citizens. The AAIA has waged innumerable battles over the years, touching on the material and spiritual well-being of Indians in every state of the Union: from the right of Native Americans to control their resources to their right to worship freely; from their right to federal trusteeship to their right to self-determination. The evolving nature of this struggle, in terms of conception and execution; the environment in which it was waged, both within and without the AAIA; the parade of men and women who figured in it; and the relationships among them can all be found in the abundant and insightful records which constitute these Records. The correspondence, minutes, reports, articles, clippings, and other documents in the collection, augmented by photographic and audiovisual material, represent a window not only on the AAIA but on the entities and personalities with which it interacted. While its vision has co-existed with others, and while it has been far from alone in its contribution to Indian life, no consideration of twentieth-century Native American affairs can disregard its arduous and, for the most part, fruitful work.