Welcome to Indian Land
When you get on that famous island smack dab in the middle of the San Fransisco Bay known as Alcatraz you are met with a sign reading “You are on Indian land”. Not really what you would be expecting on the island known for its prison but once you read up on the history you will find out it is one of the most appropriate signs on the whole island. The sign remains on the walls of the former federal penitentiary from the 18-month takeover of the island by Native American activists in 1969. Remembering the rage behind that historic occupation, though, is only part of Indigenous People's Alcatraz Sunrise Gathering. Thousands of people — including some of the freedom fighters from the occupation 41 years ago — gather once a year on Thanksgiving morning to give thanks and acknowledge our people’s courageous spirit of resistance.
Every time I am part of this event, my thoughts range from rage to sadness to admiration and back again. The 1969 occupation is considered the beginning of the American Indian activist movement, and its credited with the eventual passage of numerous laws aimed at recognizing and assisting indigenous people in the United States. The morning is made up of a prayer ritual, drummers, Aztec and Pomo dancers.
Since my feelings about Thanksgiving are complicated, I make sure that I attend this event yearly to acknowledge the Native American struggles. The history and herstory of the native American struggle is disheartening, yet inspiring. If you would like to join me this year, get more information here.
Nov 14, 2012
Oct 02, 2012
Sep 18, 2012
Jul 20, 2012