Teens learn about AIM from Means' ex-wife, son

By Shondiin Silversmith
Navajo Times

CHINLE, Feb. 13, 2014

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(Times photos – Shondiin Silversmith)

TOP: Nat’aanii Means talked to the students about himself as an activist as well as his experience with the American Indian Movement at Chinle High.

BOTTOM: Nat’aanii Means hands out copies of his CD for the Chinle High students to enjoy. He performed a few songs for the students including “The Radical” featuring his father Russell Means.

There are a lot of important moments in Native American history that one would think would be common knowledge for any Native student – the American Indian Movement is one of those.

But when music teacher Eric Swanson asked his Chinle High School students who knew what AIM was, no one raised their hand.

"It made me feel a little disappointed that we're not helping them learn about it because that's our responsibility as teachers," Swanson said, adding that he thinks the problem could be that teachers have to teach according to state standards, which doesn't consider Native American culture and background.

Swanson taught students in his World of Music class about AIM as part of a lesson about songs for social justice, a genre of music used by various movements "to raise awareness about issues that they want to create dialogue about."

One of those movements was AIM.

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