1969 November 9

Fourteen Native-Americans Occupy Alcatraz


A small group of Native-American activists staged a brief occupation of Alcatraz Island, the site of a former federal prison that closed in 1963. After the prison closing, Native-Americans began to claim it as Indian territory. Members of the original group were soon removed by the Coast Guard, but another group reached the island and remained overnight.

Although the occupation on this day lasted only one day, ending the next morning, a much larger occupation by Native-American activists began a week and a half later on November 20, 1969 and lasted for nineteen months until June 1971.

For other Native-American protests, see the Christmas-time “No Salmon, No Santa” protest on December 23, 1963, the “fish-in” on March 2, 1964, and the protest at Plymouth Rock on Thanksgiving Day on November 26, 1970.

Watch a video of the occupation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-8RzUqtX8hY

Learn more: Paul Smith and Robert Allen Warrior, Like a Hurricane: The Indian Movement from Alcatraz to Wounded Knee (1996)

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