Alcatraz Occupation

graffiti written on a building
Graffiti from the Indian of All Tribes Occupation


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 Indigenous people, relocated to the Bay Area, to protest against the United States government's policies that took aboriginal land away from American Indians and aimed to destroy their 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.

For More Information:

For a more indepth narrative on the 1969-1971 Occupation, please visit the We Hold the Rock page.

To see virtual artifacts from the Occupation, as well as artificats from other Alcatraz time periods, please visit the Museum Collection at The Rock exhibit page.

Visit the Ohlone and Coast Miwok page to learn more about the San Francisco Bay Area's Native American communities.

Last updated: November 20, 2017

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