Skip to main content

Robert E. Robideau American Indian Movement Papers

Identifier: MSS-557-BC

Scope and Content

The Robert E. Robideau papers contain reports, court documents, Freedom of Information Act released FBI files, newspaper clippings, correspondence, handwritten notes, publications, audiocassette tapes, flyers, and research files pertaining to Robideau's lifelong work as an American Indian Movement activist. The original collection is divided into 3 overlapping series. 2 more series were added in July 2011.

AIM consists of 23 boxes which contain the majority of AIM's activities from 1975 through 1994. This series combines AIM's general activities with the Leonard Peltier Support Group and Defense Committee materials.

Audio consists of two boxes of audio recordings containing the only recorded copies of the 1976 Butler/Robideau murder trial. Also contained in this series are recorded phone conversations, interviews, speeches, and lectures.

AIM Related Publications consists of four boxes of newspaper publications. Noted Indian publications such as Crazy Horse Spirit, News from Indian Country, Akwesasne Notes, and many others are included here.

The 2011 addition contains two series, which overlap with materials in the original accession.

Leonard Peltier Case documents Robert Robideau's efforts to secure Leonard Peltier's liberation from prison. The series contains information on Peltier's case including Freedom of Information Act released FBI documents, legal, and legislative documents. It also includes correspondence written by Peltier, photographs of Peltier and correspondence written about the case. Further, there are press and media materials including articles, DVDs and audio tapes on the incident at Oglala and Peltier's trial. Lastly, there are documents on various campaigns to free Peltier, including color slides, flyers, pamphlets and photographs of demonstrations

American Indian Movement and Indigenous Civil and Human Rights Movement series shows Robideau's activism. It contains articles, correspondence, flyers, interviews, pamphlets, photographs, newsletter, reports, and slides. A few examples of his Native American activism in the collection are papers on Big Mountain- opposition to Navajo-Hopi Relocation Act, and a campaign for the survival of the Hupa tribe. The series also houses Freedom of Information Act released FBI documents on AIM leaders including David Hill, Dennis Banks, and Russ Redner and in particular Anna Mae Aquash. The materials include articles, correspondence, and interviews related to her murder. An example of Robideau's involvement in the Indigenous Civil and Human Rights Movement is his participation in the struggle for Puerto Rican independence including articles, photographs, and flyers from the Independence for Puerto Rico Forum.


  • 1974-2007


Language of Materials


Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Copy Restrictions

Limited duplication of CSWR material is allowed for research purposes. User is responsible for compliance with all copyright, privacy, and libel laws. Permission is required for publication or distribution.

Biographical and Historical Information

Robert Robideau joined the American Indian Movement (AIM) in 1973. Indian inmates, Clyde Bellecourt, Dennis Banks, and Edward Benton-Banai founded AIM in 1968 in the Stillwater State Penitentiary. The organizers endeavored to teach the many Indian inmates about their spiritual history and how to stay out of jail once paroled. The movement aimed to revitalize a sense of pride in traditional Indian values and to correct the conditions under which Indians lived: 70-80% unemployment; inadequate housing, education, and health care; and the highest infant mortality rate and the lowest life expectancy in the nation. By the time Robideau joined in 1972, AIM added to their objectives the need for tribal sovereignty and began its quest to restore it.

AIM's quest for sovereignty rights and self-determination alarmed the US government and from 1970 to 1980 the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) targeted AIM as a terrorist organization. During this time three major incidents occurred: The Trail of Broken Treaties caravan in 1972 (or the BIA building takeover), the Wounded Knee Occupation in 1973, and the incident at Oglala in 1975. In 1975, the FBI raided the AIM camp at Oglala on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. A shoot-out occurred between AIM members and FBI agents resulting in the death of two FBI agents, Mr. Jack Coler and Mr. Ron Williams, and a young Native American, named Joe Stuntz. The FBI launched an investigation, called RESMURS, focusing on prominent AIM members known to be present during the shoot-out: Jimmy Eagle, Oglala Sioux/Arapaho, Pine Ridge, Robert Robideau Sioux/Chippena, North Dakota, Dino Bulter, Rogue River Tututney, Oregon, and Leonard Peltier, Chippewa/Sioux, North Dakota.

Robert E. Robideau was one of the prime suspects in the incident at Oglala. He was acquitted, along with Dino Butler, in the killing of the two FBI agents in 1976. Ever since, Robideau devoted himself to justice campaigns. He worked for the release of his cousin Leonard Peltier, sentenced to two life terms for the FBI agent killings. In pursuit of Peltier's freedom, Robideau served two terms as the director of the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee, published articles and embarked on speaking tours to educate the public on Peltier-s innocence. Alongside his work for Peltier's release, Robideau also educated the public on the murder of AIM activist, Anna Mae Aquash. A year after the Oglala shoot-out, the body of Anna Mae Aquash was found dumped in a ravine on the Pine Ridge Reservation. She was buried as an unidentified person until her body was exhumed, at the request of family and friends. Once her identity was confirmed, her family ordered a second autopsy revealing she died from a bullet wound at the back of her head. Robideau worked to publicize and educate Native Americans and the public at large about the Leonard Peltier and Anna Mae Aquash cases.

Robideau never gave up his Indian activist work. In 1994, he led a contingent of thirteen chapters of the American Indian Movement in denouncing the Minneapolis chapter of AIM (or National AIM) because that chapter was subverting the movement. This led to the creation of what is now known as the Autonomous Chapters of the American Indian Movement. Robideau worked not only as an activist for AIM, but also for the Indigenous Civil and Human Rights Movement. He died on February 17, 2009 in Barcelona Spain. He was 61 years old. Authorities said that his death might have been related to seizures caused by shrapnel left in his head from an accidental explosion.


33 boxes (31 cu. ft.)

Related Material

Kay Cole Papers. Center for Southwest Research, University Libraries, University of New Mexico FBI Files on the American Indian Movement and Wounded Knee (microfilm) (ZIM Microfilm E93 F33 1986, 26 rolls.) Christopher Felver Photograph Collection Center for Southwest Research, University Libraries, University of New Mexico Lisa Law Big Mountain Weaving Project and Santa Fe Big Mountain Defense Support Group Papers. Center for Southwest Research, University Libraries, University of New Mexico Roger A. Finzel American Indian Movement Papers. Center for Southwest Research, University Libraries, University of New Mexico Native American Program Series. Center for Southwest Research, University Libraries, University of New Mexico.

Separated Material

Archival cds/dvds and original reel to reel recordings are stored in B3.

Processing Information

An addition was processed in July 2011. The addition is organized into two series: Leonard Peltier Case and the American Indian Movement and Indigenous Civil and Human Rights Movement. Both series are arranged alphabetically. Additional audio and video recordings were added to the audio series.

Audio and video reformatted to CD/DVD in August 2011. At this time, tapes were renumbered, however original box and tape numbers will be found in the individual entries. There are no cds for box 24A, tape 4; 24C, tapes 7-8; 25A, tape 8 which were duplicates of other tapes. Box 24C, tape 4 (John Trudell) could not be located as of 7/2011.
Finding Aid of the Robert E. Robideau American Indian Movement Papers, 1974-2007
Processed by Charles F. Sandia; addition processed by Jordan Biro
©2000, 2011
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is in English

Revision Statements

  • June 28, 2004: PUBLIC "-//University of New Mexico::Center for Southwest Research//TEXT (US::NmU::MSS 557 BC::Robert E. Robideau American Indian Movement Papers)//EN" "nmu1mss557bc.sgml" converted from EAD 1.0 to 2002 by v1to02.xsl (sy2003-10-15).
  • Monday, 20210524: Attribute normal is missing or blank.

Repository Details

Part of the UNM Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections Repository

University of New Mexico Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections
University Libraries, MSC05 3020
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque NM 87131