The Occupation of Alcatraz

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In the Occupation of Alcatraz (1969-1971) Native Americans took over the island of Alcatraz in San Francisco Bay, its infamous prison having been closed down some years before.

The Alcatraz Proclamation to the Great White Father and his People, 1969:

“We, the native Americans, reclaim the land known as Alcatraz Island in the name of all American Indians by right of discovery. …

“We will purchase said Alcatraz Island for twenty-four dollars in glass beads and red cloth, a precedent set by the white man’s purchase of a similar island 300 years ago. …

“We will give to the inhabitants of this island a portion of the land of their own to be held in trust . . . by the Bureau of Caucasian Affairs . . . in perpetuity — for as long as the sun shall rise and the rivers go down in the sea. We will further guide the inhabitants in the proper way of living. We will offer them our religion, our education, our way of life — ways in order to help them achieve our level of civilization and thus raise them and all their white brothers up from their savage and unhappy state. …

“Further, it would be fitting and symbolic that ships from all over the world, entering the Golden Gate, would first see Indian land, and thus be reminded of the true history of this nation. This tiny island would be a symbol of the great lands once ruled by free and noble Indians. …”


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