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On This Day… A Weird Prison Break

Written by: George Chittenden : 13 Jun 2019

It was on this day, 20th November, back in 1969 when Alcatraz penitentiary received some unexpected visitors! Early that morning eighty-nine Native American Indians boarded boats and made the five-mile trip across foggy San Francisco Bay to the infamous Island. Alcatraz penitentiary had been closed since 1963, and they had ambitious ideas regarding its potential.

Landing on the island, they declared the former prison Indian land by right of discovery, demanding the American government provide funding to turn it into a Native American cultural centre and university. The occupation lasted for nineteen months, and on June 11th, 1971, it was forcibly ended by the U.S. Government. The Occupation of Alcatraz had a direct effect on federal Indian policy and, established a precedent for Indian activism.

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