Indigenous Americans Celebrate Alcatraz Occupation

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)— In 1969 thousands of indigenous people claimed Alcatraz Island as their own.  That occupation sparked an armed standoff with federal authorities which lasted until 1971.

“This is the 42nd anniversary of the original occupation of Alcatraz Island. We’ve gathered here for many years to honor and pay tribute to the Alcatraz veterans,” said Morningstar Gali who gathered with several thousand to honor those original occupiers and to give thanks as a people.

KCBS’ Tim Ryan Reports:

Andrea Carmen, who leads the International Indian Treaty Council, offered some words on why the People’s Sunrise Ceremony is important.

“We’re not here to condemn or express any kind of hatred or antagonism, but to honor those that lost their lives of our peoples and nations through the 517 years that we’ve experienced colonization here in this land.”

She added that giving thanks for the survival of the resistance of her ancestors and the continued practice of their culture, language, and way of life are also integral to the “reclaiming” of Alcatraz.

The sound of drums, spiritual dance, reflection and rainfall will fill the island this holiday.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

More from Tim Ryan

More From CBS San Francisco

Get The New CBS SF Bay Area Local App
Got Our Weather App?

Listen Live