SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Native Americans who occupied Alcatraz Island 50 years ago are gathering there for a day of events to mark the anniversary.

About a dozen original occupiers and another 20 friends and family members took a boat to Alcatraz on Wednesday morning.

The National Park Service says speakers will share experiences from the occupation and discuss its continuing relevance. They’ll also help restore messages painted by occupiers on a former barracks building at the Alcatraz Island dock.

In this photo taken Friday, Nov. 15, 2019, the words “Indian Land” are painted on a building on Alcatraz Island with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background in San Francisco. The week of Nov. 18, 2019, marks 50 years since the beginning of a months-long Native American occupation at Alcatraz Island in the San Francisco Bay. The demonstration by dozens of tribal members had lasting effects for tribes, raising awareness of life on and off reservations, galvanizing activists and spurring a shift in federal policy toward self-determination. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

The occupation by activists began Nov. 20, 1969, and lasted 19 months. It’s widely seen as a seminal event for tribes, reinvigorating them to stand up for their rights and identities. It also helped spur a shift in federal policy toward self-determination, allowing tribes to take over federal programs on their land.

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