|During the military period, the US Army imprisoned a number of Native Americans from 1873 to 1895. Nineteen Hopi "unfriendlys" were incarcerated in Alcatraz’s Lower Prison in 1895.
American Indians of many tribes returned to the island in November 1969. Alcatraz had been dormant for six years after the Federal Bureau of Prisons closed the penitentiary. American Indian activists seized the island, claiming it as Indian land. This was an internationally-publicized political protest to focus attention on the plight of American Indians.
For over a year, American Indians and their families lived on the island. The occupation promoted American Indian unity. It was a key focus of the Indian movement, and there were plans to establish an American Indian cultural center on Alcatraz. However, interest in the occupation waned, order among those living on the island began to deteriorate. Federal officials removed the remaining occupiers from the Indians in June 1971.