Alcatraz Island, part of the National Park Service, is shown looking from the garden to the water tower September 8, 2022, in San Francisco, CA.
The Occupation of Alcatraz (November 20, 1969 – June 11, 1971) was a 19-month long protest when 89 Native Americans and their supporters occupied Alcatraz Island. The protest was led by Richard Oakes, LaNada Means, and others, while John Trudell served as spokesman. The group lived on the island together until the protest was forcibly ended by the U.S. government.
The protest group chose the name Indians of All Tribes (IOAT) for themselves. IOAT claimed that, under the Treaty of Fort Laramie between the U.S. and the Lakota tribe, all retired, abandoned, or out-of-use federal land was to be returned to the Indians who once occupied it. As 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 that the island qualified for a reclamation by Indians.
Photo by Khue Bui