“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

San Francisco in San Francisco City and County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)

Indian Occupiers

This Land is My Land

Indian Occupiers Marker image. Click for full size.
By Andrew Ruppenstein, April 2, 2018
1. Indian Occupiers Marker
"Alcatraz is not an island, it's an idea. The idea that you can recapture and be in control of your life, your destiny, and self-determine your future."
-- Richard Oakes, Spokesperson for the Occupation

Pursuing an Ideal

In November, 1969, a group of American Indians calling themselves "Indians of All Tribes" seized Alcatraz Island to highlight continuing grievances against the federal government and to assert tribal rights to reclaim land. Cornposed of progressive college students in California, the Indians were the urban descendents of nineteenth century warriors.

Shaping a Place

The Indians of All Tribes welcomed media coverage of their public protest and hoped to raise national consciousness about contemporary tribal issues. The occupiers also considered converting Alcatraz into an Indian University, a cultural center, and a museum. These ideas lost momentum as the numbers of occupiers dwindled due to the challenges of living on The Rock.

After nineteen months. U.S. Marshals intervened to reclaim the government property and the last Indians were evicted in June, 1971.

Indian Occupiers Marker - Wide View image. Click for full size.
By Andrew Ruppenstein, April 2, 2018
2. Indian Occupiers Marker - Wide View
The Occupation of Alcatraz became a landmark event that reinvigorated Native American pride and initiated dramatic legislative and cultural change.

The Voice of Alcatraz

During the Occupation, John Trudell, a member of the Santee Dakota tribe, spoke eloquently on public radio about the resilience of Native Americans coping in modern society. Later, Trudell became the National Field Director of the American Indian Movement (AIM), again stepping forward to lead indigenous people in their struggle for visibility and justice.

Trudell's gifts were not limited to the political realm: his music and poetry have also affected audiences in a profound way.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Native Americans.
Location. 37° 48.398′ N, 122° 24.255′ W. Marker is in San Francisco, California, in San Francisco City and County. Marker is on Pier 33 north of The Embarcadero. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: San Francisco CA 94133, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Francisco Street (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Discarded Treasure (about 500 feet away); Down to the Seas in Ships (about 700 feet away); Belt Line Railroad (about 800 feet away); Luxury to the Tropics (approx.

Alcatraz Island, as seen from Fort Mason image. Click for full size.
By Andrew Ruppenstein, April 7, 2018
3. Alcatraz Island, as seen from Fort Mason
0.2 miles away); Telegraph Hill (approx. ¼ mile away); Gold Mountain (approx. ¼ mile away); Coit Memorial Tower (approx. 0.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in San Francisco.
More about this marker. The marker is located at the passenger waiting area on Pier 33 (the launch point for the ferry to Alcatraz).
Also see . . .
1. Indians on Alcatraz : First Anniversary (American Archive of Public Broadcasting, 35 min.). "The program is the one-year anniversary of the Native American occupation of Alcatraz on November 20, 1969. The program opens with Denny Smithson speaking to two Native Americans on the boat going to Alcatraz Island. The guests speak about the conditions of the occupation and the press surrounding the occupation. This is followed by an interview with John Trudell, chief spokesman for Alcatraz island, conducted by Denny Smithson as they sit on a retaining wall in the upper courtyard of the island. This includes a discussion about the treatment of Native Americans by the federal government including their access to land and religious practices. This is followed by a press conference with John Trudell and LaNada Means reflecting on Native American treatment and protest, including plans for the new cultural center Native Americans proposed to build on Alcatraz Island." (Submitted on April 17, 2018.) 

2. Occupation of Alcatraz (Wikipedia)
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. "The Occupation of Alcatraz was an occupation of Alcatraz Island by 89 American Indians who called themselves Indians of All Tribes (IOAT). According to the IOAT, under the Treaty of Fort Laramie (1868) between the U.S. and the Lakota, all retired, abandoned or out-of-use federal land was returned to the Native people who once occupied it. Since Alcatraz penitentiary had been closed on March 21, 1963, and the island had been declared surplus federal property in 1964, a number of Red Power activists felt the island qualified for a reclamation....The Alcatraz Occupation lasted for nineteen months, from November 20, 1969, to June 11, 1971, and was forcibly ended by the U.S. government. The Occupation of Alcatraz had a direct effect on federal Indian policy and, with its visible results, established a precedent for Indian activism." (Submitted on April 17, 2018.) 

3. We Hold the Rock: The Alcatraz Indian Occupation (National Park Service). (Submitted on April 17, 2018.)
Credits. This page was last revised on April 17, 2018. It was originally submitted on April 17, 2018, by Andrew Ruppenstein of Sacramento, California. This page has been viewed 101 times since then and 24 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on April 17, 2018, by Andrew Ruppenstein of Sacramento, California.
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Aug. 11, 2020