Saturday, November 26, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Buy Nothing Day, and Indigenous People's 'Unthanksgiving Day' to everyone!

SF Turkey Day Championship Goes to Lincoln High School
Congratulations to San Francisco's Lincoln High School Football team for their exciting 21 to 20 victory, but also to the inspiring 20 point 2nd half effort from the Balboa High School Buccaneers as well in the Annual SF Turkey Bowl at Kezar Stadium on Thanksgiving Day. What a game this year! Though I missed the game this year, we are fortunate that there has been good local coverage of public school athletics in the SF press.
See the SF Examiner's article on the game.

San Francisco Solidarity with Indigenous People on Thanksgiving Day

Over the years, as a progressive tradition of solidarity I have always tried to attend the annual Alcatraz Sunrise Gathering to support Indigenous Peoples Thanksgiving Day and to confront the myths of history, give thanks for our lives and honor the spirit of continued resistance.
The alcatraz event is a tradition that streches back 30 years to Thanksgiving 1975 when the American Indian Movement and others came together to support the struggle of Native people for self-determination.
Every Thanksgiving morning thousands gather at PIER 41 - at SF's FISHERMAN'S WHARF - to catch ferries from 5 - 6:30 am. This year MC's and special guests included:
Lenny Foster, Floyd Westerman, Traditional Pomo Dancers, Danzantes Aztecas, Humaya Dancers, and the All Nation Drummers.
The Sunrise Gathering on Alcatraz Island is always followed by a pot-luck feast, open to the public, free of charge, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Oakland Inter-Tribal Friendship House, 523 International Boulevard, Oakland. The organizers always include music, special guest speakers and great food and solidarity. They always need volunteers as well for cooking. If you can help, please call (510) 444-5808.
For more history on the American Indian Movement and the history of the Indian Occupation of Alcatraz from December 1969 through early 1971 check out the film Alcatraz is not an Island . From the website -

The takeover of Alcatraz was one of the most successful American Indian protest
actions of the 20th century, fueling the rise of modern Native American activism. In fact, many of the 74 Indian occupations of federal facilities that followed Alcatraz were either planned by or included people who had been involved in seizing the island.

The occupation also brought Indian rights issues to the attention of the federal government and American public, changing forever the way Native people viewed themselves, their culture and their inherent right to self-determination. The occupation also succeeded in getting the federal government to end its policy of termination and adopt an official policy of Indian self-determination. From 1970 to 1971, Congress passed 52 legislative proposals on behalf of American Indians to support tribal self-rule. ...

After visiting the occupiers on Alcatraz Island, the American Indian Movement (AIM) began a series of national protest actions by seizing federal facilities. Comprised of mostly younger, more progressive and better educated urban Indians, AIM was initially formed to protect urban Indians from civil rights abuses. Inspired by the Alcatraz occupation, AIM became an important multi-tribal protest organization during the '70s. Its first protest action was on Thanksgiving Day 1970, when AIM members painted Plymouth Rock red and seized the Mayflower II replica in Plymouth, Massachusetts to challenge a celebration of colonial expansion. From the takeover of Alcatraz Island in 1969 to the Longest Walk in 1978, the Alcatraz-Red Power Movement (ARPM) used social protest to demand that the government honor treaty obligations by providing resources, education, housing and healthcare to alleviate poverty. The ARPM aimed to build Indian colleges and create Indian studies programs, museums and cultural centers with federal funds to redress centuries of cultural repression.

At San Francisco State, where I teach, we also honor the memory of Richard Oakes, a SF State student leader who was instrumental in leading the Alcatraz takeover. Along with other students from SF State and campuses like UCLA, Oakes represented a generation of youth and oppressed groups fighting for power and self-determination for their peoples. The spirit of Alcatraz lives on through us and the annual Sunrise gatherings. Please join us next year.
For more info on the Film Alcatraz is Not an Island

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