November 20, 2009

Alcatraz changed course of history?

1969 Alcatraz takeover 'changed the whole course of history'

By Nicole Lapin and Jason Hanna"Forty years later, Native people still recognize the occupation for what it was and remains: a seminal event in American history that brought the plight of American Indians to the world's attention," Bratt and his brother Peter said in a statement.

"It's easy to pass off the Alcatraz event as largely symbolic, but the truth is the spirit and dream of Alcatraz never died, it simply found its way to other fights," the Bratt brothers said. "Native sovereignty, repatriation, environmental justice, the struggle for basic human rights--these are the issues Native people were fighting for then, and are the same things we are fighting for today."
And:The occupiers didn't get their demands. But President Nixon ended the U.S. tribal termination policy in June 1970, while they still were on the island. This was a result of the public spotlight that the occupation put on Indian issues, Johnson and Glassner said.

"It might have happened anyway, but Alcatraz had the attention of the nation, and it led to those changes being initiated in the White House," Glassner said.
Comment:  Funny, the Wounded Knee episode of the We Shall Remain series assured us that the 1973 occupation of Wounded Knee was the turning point in modern Native history. Now we're hearing it was the occupation of Alcatraz. Which is it: Wounded Knee or Alcatraz?

For more on the subject, see 40th Anniversary of Alcatraz Occupation.

Below:  "Adam Fortunate Eagle says the occupation was the most significant Native American event in more than a century."

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