In 1969, a group of Native American activists calling themselves the Indians of All Tribes arrived on Alcatraz Island. They spoke out against the U.S. Government's Termination Policy and the broader plight of Native Americans. GGNRA commemorates this moment in history, with 19 months of special events and an exhibition: Red Power on Alcatraz, Perspectives 50 Years Later.
2019 marks the 50th Anniversary of the Occupation of Alcatraz by the Indians of All Tribes, a key event in the history of Alcatraz Island, the Native American civil rights movement, and our nation. Golden Gate National Recreation Area, in collaboration with Indians of All Tribes, is planning 19 months of events and programming (to reflect the length of the Occupation), including:
Indians of All Tribes Days 2019: Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Alcatraz Occupation
Wednesday, November 20, 2019 | 1:00pm - 4:00pm
November 20 marks the 50th anniversary of the start of the Occupation. The morning will include opening remarks and prayers, and the restoration of iconic political messaging on the island. Veteran Occupiers and their guests will also have a gathering and reunion on November 20 in the New Industries Building on Alcatraz. This is an opportunity for those who spent time on Alcatraz during the historic Occupation to reconnect -- some of them for the first time in 50 years. The afternoon event (1:00-4:00) will be open to the public and feature speakers connected to the historic Occupation.
Thursday, November 21, 2019 | 9:00am - 4:00pm
Veteran Occupiers will gather in the New Industries Building for a day-long gathering and speaking program, open to the public. Speakers will include veteran Occupiers and family members, who will share their experiences of this historic event and its continuing relevance. Event will be closed for lunch from 12:00pm-1:00pm.
Saturday, November 23, 2019 | 9:00am - 4:00pm
The new exhibit, Red Power on Alcatraz: Perspectives 50 Years Later, will be highlighted on Saturday, November 23. This day will feature an exhibit dedication, open houses with exhibitors: Ilka Hartmann and Stephen Shames, a presentation by Dr. LaNada War Jack and Kent Blansett, and a performance. Event will be closed for lunch from 12:00pm-1:00pm.
November 20, 2019 to June 2022, New Industries Building
Exhibit: Red Power on Alcatraz: Perspectives 50 Years Later
In 1969, a group of Native American activists called the Indians of All Tribes arrived on Alcatraz. Red Power on Alcatraz: Perspectives 50 Years Later tells the story of their 19 month occupation of the island, a watershed moment in the movement for Native American civil rights. For the 19 months duration of the exhibit, visitors can view photographs by Ilka Hartmann and Stephen Shames, original materials from the collection of Kent Blansett, and contributions from the community of veteran Occupiers.
Cultural Programs, 2nd Saturdays of each Month
During the Occupation, Native American Activists called for an Indian Cultural Center on Alcatraz Island. In keeping with this idea, cultural programs and activities will take place the 2nd Saturday of each month from December 2019 through June 2022. Visitors can participate in a variety of presentations, workshops, demonstrations, and activities led by former occupiers and Native American groups. Be sure to check the Alcatraz events calendar for current list of programs.
“Alcatraz put me back into my community and helped me remember who I am. It was a rekindling of the spirit. Alcatraz made it easier for us to remember who we are.”
- JOHN TRUDELL Santee Sioux
Off-Island Commemorative Programming:
The organizations listed below are hosting events around the Bay Area in commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Indian Occupation on Alcatraz Island. Visit the links below to find additional info (chronological):
Three leaders of traditional Bay Area territories will speak from the heart about historical and contemporary events that have left them landless and without federal recognition, the impact of this situation on their people, the work they are doing to reclaim culture and re-assert their claim to these lands, and why Indigenous presence matters as San Francisco emerges as one of the wealthiest cities on the planet and a hub for tech corporations and real estate speculation.
Sponsored by the San Francisco Arts Commission in partnership with Sovereign Bodies Institute and Sewam American Indian Dance.
Date: Saturday, October 26
Location: Pioneer Monument, 147 Fulton Street.
Indigenous Fashion designers Sho Sho Esquiro (Kaska Dene, Cree), the first Indigenous designer to show at Paris Fashion Week, Project Runway alumna Patricia Michaels (Taos Pueblo), and Leah Mata is a member of the yak tityu tityu (the people) Northern Chumash Tribe, located on the Central California Coast., will show their collection using the Pioneer Monument as a backdrop. Working in partnership with Sovereign Bodies Institute, the show will work to bring awareness to murdered and missing Indigenous women.
Co-Sponsored by the San Francisco Arts Commission and San Francisco Public Library
Date: Saturday, October 26 – Saturday, November 30
Location: San Francisco Main Library, 100 Larkin Street.
The San Francisco Arts Commission will partner with the Public Library to curate an exhibition and related programming featuring weekly Poetry Jams led by Poet Laureate Kim Shuck. The opening will coincide with the Native American Fashion Show taking place at the Pioneer Monument.
Co-sponsored by American Indian Film Institute and San Francisco Arts Commission
Date: Saturday, October 26 – Saturday, November 2. See website for show times.
Location: Films will be shown at BRAVA theater with the awards show at the Presidio Theater on November 2.
The American Indian Film Institute is the premiere Native American media and cultural arts exposition in the West Coast and its annual film festival is the world’s oldest forum dedicated to Native American cinema. The full schedule will be available Oct 1st.
Community partnership: San Francisco International Airport, the San Francisco Arts Commission, the American Indian Film Institute
Date: Thursday, October 10 – Wednesday, December 4
Location: San Francisco International Airport; Terminal 3 mezzanine (photography), International Terminal Departures Lobby (film shorts). Both exhibitions are located pre-security and are available to all Airport visitors.
An exhibition of portraits from the Early Days Photo Shoot will be exhibited on the mezzanine level of Terminal 3, while shorts by Native American filmmakers we be presented at SFO Museum’s Video Arts screening room in the International Terminal Departures Lobby.
With Mark Tilsen (Oglala Lakota), Isabella Zizi (Northern Cheyenne, Arikara, Muscogee) and Melinda Micco (Seminole Nation of Oklahoma) Date: -
Location: Exploratorium - Bay Observatory (map)
Three Indigenous activists will speak to the role of indigenous peoples in protecting water, land and biodiversity in the face of environmental and moral hazards including fossil fuel extraction and climate change.
An Afternoon with Photographer Ilka Hartmann, sponsored by the San Francisco Public Library
Date: Saturday, November 09, 12:00 - 2:00
Location: Saroyan Gallery - 6th Floor, Main Library, 100 Larkin St.
Ms. Hartmann will talk about what it was like, as a freelance photographer, to visit Alcatraz, and to become friends with the occupiers.
With Lehua Kamalu (Native Hawaiian), Frank Brown (Heiltsuk) and L. Frank Manriquez (Tongva-Ajachmem)
Location: California Historical Society (map)
A conversation with three Indigenous leaders from across North America rebuilding canoe and maritime traditions in their own communities. Lehua Kamalu, Kanaka Maoli, captained the Hikianalia, a traditional polynesian outrigger canoe on its recent voyage from Hawaii to California. Kamalu is the first woman to captain a traditional polynesian vessel. Frank Brown, Heiltsuk from Bella Bella, British Columbia, organized North America’s first Tribal Canoe Journey to coincide with Expo ‘86 in Vancouver, BC. Brown will talk about his original vision, what it took to launch the first Tribal Canoe Journey, and how the event has taken hold and grown in the 30+ years since. L. Frank Manriquez of the Tongva-Ajachmem is an artist, language activist and leader in the California Indian community. She was the first member of her nation to build and navigate a traditional tii’at in over 100 years and participates in the annual Tribal Canoe Journeys. All will also speak to the challenges and positive impacts of canoe culture on Indigenous communities and the environmental movement.
Sponsored by the San Francisco Arts Commission in partnership with the American Indian Cultural Center and the Native American Health Center
Date: Wednesday, November 13, 5:30PM-7:30PM
Location: San Francisco City Hall, 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Pl.
This annual gathering honors American Indian culture by bringing together the American Indian community, local heroes, and political leaders who have worked to strengthen American Indian initiatives to celebrate with song, dance, and food. This year’s Celebration will feature the kick off for the American Indian Cultural Center of San Francisco.
A conversation with two original Alcatraz Occupiers about the context in which the Occupation occurred; energy and intent behind the Occupation; immediate impacts of the Occupation on policy, politics and culture in Indian Country; and reasons the Occupation is equally relevant 50 years later.
Join California Historical Society at the San Francisco Public Library’s Main Library for a powerful evening of stories from the Occupation of Alcatraz, in commemoration of its 50th anniversary. A group of original occupiers will tell the rich, untold stories of organizing and living on Alcatraz Island.
Sponsored by the San Francisco Arts Commission in partnership with the, American Indian Film Festival and the American Indian Cultural Center
Date: Friday, November 22, 6PM-8PM
Location: Herbst Theater
This celebration will feature acclaimed recording artist Buffy Sainte-Marie and will honor activists that have led various Indigenous resistance movements over the last 50 years. The event will also include a reception in the SFAC Main Gallery, which will feature The Continuous Thread exhibition.
This event commemorates 527 years of Indigenous resistance and survival in the Americas, honors the cultural resiliency of Indigenous Peoples in California and around the world, and celebrates the 50th anniversary of the occupation of Alcatraz by Indians of All Tribes in 1969-1970.
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