Alcatraz Island And The Fight For Indian Sovereignty

1647 Words Jul 29th, 2015 7 Pages
Alcatraz Island and The Fight for Indian Sovereignty Alcatraz Island has had a long history of being a place of incarceration, a place where all American outcasts (Indian and non-Indian) were sent and put away, far from society. Yet, natives managed to make Alcatraz a symbol of unity within the Indian community and also a symbol of resistance against Anglo colonists. Indians have managed to change a symbol of isolation into a symbol of brotherhood and peoplehood. With the occupations of Alcatraz Island, indigenous people raised awareness amongst themselves to stand together in achieving sovereignty, while also raising awareness amongst non-Indian communities about Indian discrimination. It is worth observing, that the movements “changed the rules of Indian activism and consequently garnered more press attention that all the Indian struggles of the entire century.” Although various events took place during that time frame, in an effort by Indians to gain attention from the media, none generated nearly as much attention as Alcatraz. Indians first used the Island of Alcatraz as a place where non-abiding citizens were sent after violating tribal law. Sending people to the island was the only way for Indians to get rid of unwanted troublemakers who did not follow guidelines. Later, the island served the same purpose for non-Indian authorities; the prison was used to incarcerate criminals that were not wanted by other prison systems due to the high threat they posed to…
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