Indians of All Tribes Occupation of Alcatraz: 1969 - 1971
From November, 1969 to June, 1971, a group called Indians of All Tribes, Inc., occupied Alcatraz Island. This group, made up of American Indians relocated to the Bay Area, was protesting against the United States government's policies that affected them. They were protesting federal laws that took aboriginal land away from American Indians and that aimed to destroy American Indian cultures. The Alcatraz occupation is recognized today as one of the most important events in contemporary Native American history. It was the first intertribal protest action to focus the nation's attention on the situation of native peoples in the United States. The island occupation ignited a protest movement which culminated with the occupation of Wounded Knee on the Pine Ridge Reservation of the Oglala Sioux in South Dakota in 1973. Because of the attention brought to the plight of the American Indian communities, as a result of the occupation, federal laws were created which demonstrated new respect for aboriginal land rights and for the freedom of American Indians to maintain their traditional cultures.
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