Alcatraz Island Occupation

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  • Alcatraz, an island located in California's San Francisco Bay, was once home to the Ohlone people. It is also the site of a federal prison that was used from 1933 to 1963. On November 20, 1969, eighty-nine Native American activists identifying themselves as Indians of All Tribes claimed the former prison “by right of discovery,” echoing the legal justification that had been used by Euramericans to dispossess the Natives’ ancestors of lands in previous centuries. The occupation lasted until June 11, 1971, when heavily armed federal officials removed the final fifteen activists on the island.

    Alcatraz had been targeted by Native American activists on several occasions prior to the occupation that began in late November 1969. The first such legal confrontation occurred on March 9, 1964, ...

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