Indian Occupation of Alcatraz 40th Anniversary

  |   History, Parks   |   3 Comments


Although the Miwoks were convinced it was an island of evil spirits, barren and guano-coated, it’s still pretty badass to think that a group led by Mohawk Richard Oakes tried to reclaim Alcatraz in 1969. They took a boat into the bay, jumped onto The Rock, and claimed it by right of discovery, declaring:

The choice now lies with the leaders of the American government – to use violence upon us as before to remove us from our Great Spirit’s land, or to institute a real change in its dealing with the American Indian. We do not fear your threat to charge us with crimes on our land. We and all other oppressed peoples would welcome spectacle of proof before the world of your title by genocide.

Celebrities like Marlon Brando and Jane Fonda joined the cause and a colony was founded, but it sank toward defeat when Oakes’ 13-year old stepdaughter Yvonne fell to her death.

CounterPULSE will host a talk to commemorate this bold act of defiance by the “Red Power” movement, on Wed., Nov. 11, 7:30pm. It’s free.