The Occupation Of Alcatraz Island

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Richard Lovelace wrote in his 1642 poem “stone walls do not a prison make, / Nor iron bars a cage .” This opening stanza can be applied to the plight of the Native American people beginning with their genocide when the first boots of the white man stepped forth on the North American continent. Much history of the Native American peoples is unknown to the common man, especially due to the systematic educational cover-ups employed by the United States government and the powers and organizations under her.
During the 15th century, there was an estimated 10 million indigenous people living on what is today considered the United States. But in a mere 600 hundred years, that number would drop below 500,000 . This all began with the arrival of Christopher
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The occupation began on the 9th of November, 1969 when Richard Oakes and a small group of others boated over to Alcatraz under the cover of dark . There, the small group set up the “Indians of all tribes,” which would later directly fold into AIM . They gained followers and soon many people were joining the original group on the island to help in the protests . By November 20, it became a well-organized and recognized operation . According to West’s Encyclopedia of American Law, “early use of Alcatraz Island by indigenous peoples is difficult to reconstruct. Ancient oral histories seem to support the view that at one time Alcatraz was used as a place of isolation for tribal members who had violated some tribal law or taboo and were exiled or ostracized for punishment .” The problem began because, “earlier or concurrently, the island changed hands several times during Spanish and Portuguese explorations” and many were unsure of the original origins of the land by that time . Still, according to federal law, the Native American people had the right to claim the land after the federal government was finished with its use . The Occupation continued to grow in size and actually became a small functioning community. UCLA students were recruited and even families with children joined the cause, they needed a school and a day-care ! John Trudell’s radio show would blast across the bay and his career post-Alcatraz would continue to rocket away . Despite all of this, the government still fought

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