The Ohlone Indians were probably the first people known to have visited the island before Spanish explorers first entered the bay in 1775. It is likely that the Ohlone visited the island to collect eggs and fish, or used it as a safe harbor in a storm. Oral tradition indicates that the island may have been a place of spirituality and healing.
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.

Photograph GOGA 2316o
In 1972, Congress made Alcatraz part of the National Park Service. They following year the site was opened to the public. Today, it is one of the most visited sites in the National Park Service, and one of the most popular tourist destinations in San Francisco.
Grafitti GOGA 2438j
"This Land Is My Land" Sign GOGA 17588a
Invitation GOGA 35158a1
Lamp Cover GOGA 32241 Baseball GOGA
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