Native Americans occupy Alcatraz Island, Nov. 20, 1969
This week in 1969, Native American activists began a nearly two-year occupation of Alcatraz Island off the coast of San Francisco. Claiming the site of the decommissioned prison should be returned to them according to treaty, the demonstrators hoped to turn Alcatraz into a cultural and educational center for Native American studies.
“In a pre-dawn ‘invasion,’ 89 American Indians occupied Alcatraz again today to reclaim it as their own,” reported the Nov. 20, 1969, Ukiah Daily Journal of Ukiah, Calif.
“It was the second time this month that Indian demonstrators have landed on the former prison island, which they say is theirs ‘by right of discovery.’ ”
Read more about the occupation of Alcatraz
An article in the Nov. 25, 1969, Fond du Lac Commonwealth Reporter of Fond du Lac, Wis., detailed the sickness, cold, and supply challenges plaguing the occupiers in their first week on the island. American Indians hope to own Alcatraz
A Nov. 29, 1969, article in The Lima News of Lima, Ohio, noted that activism had spread to other cities and tribes. Island Occupation Electrifies Indians