Wednesday, November 21, 2007

SF - On Thanksgiving Day - Celebrate Native and Indigenous People's Resistance and Give Thanks for Survival and Social Justice

See Monthly Review for the full story [An Occupation Worth Supporting] of the November 20, 1969 takeover of Alcatraz off San Francisco's Bay.
International Indian Treaty Council presents
33rd Annual Alcatraz Island Sunrise Gathering
To Celebrate our Resistance and Give Thanks for our Survival
- A special tribute and honoring of the Shell Mound Walkers, Elders, and the Veterans of Alcatraz.
THURSDAY - 11/22/07
UnThanksgiving Indian Ceremony
Date/Time: Thu., November 22
Price: free-$12
Contact Info: Event Website

Special guests, speakers and performances include:
MC: Bill Means, IITC Board Member
(Oglala Lakota), Mike Flores, IITC Board Member
(Tohono O’Odham), Ann Marie Sayers
(Ohlone); Radley Davis, Iss-Ahwi (Pitt -River);
Pomo Dancers; Shingle Springs Rancheria
Miwok Dancers; Aztec Dancers; Arigon Starr
(Kickapoo); Goodshield (Lakota); One Struggle;
and the All Nations Singers.
Tickets $12 per person, children 5 and under
free. Advanced tickets can be purchased online
at or by phone at 415-
981-7625. They can also be purchased the day
of the event at the Pier 33 Ticket Booth. This
event is wheel chair accessible. All are welcome.

• 4:00 am Alcatraz Cruises ticket office opens.
• 4:45 am First boat departure.
• 5:00 am Boat departure.
• 5:15 am Boat departure.
• 5:30 am Boat departure.
• 5:45 am Boat departure.
• 6:00 am Final boat departure.
• 8:00 am Boats begin return

About the 1969 Occupation, Mickey Z of Monthly Review writes:
"The occupiers," writes Ben Winton in the Fall 1999 issue of Native Peoples magazine, "were an unlikely mix of Indian college activists, families with children fresh off reservations and urban dwellers disenchanted with what they called the U.S. government's economic, social and political neglect."

"We hold The Rock," proclaimed Richard Oakes, a Mohawk from New York. Oakes became the occupiers' spokesman . . . and his words became their motto. "The occupation of Alcatraz was about human rights," said Winton. "It was an effort to restore the dignity of the more than 554 American Indian nations in the United States."
Over the course of the occupation, over 5,600 American Indians took part -- some for a day, some for the entire 18 months. Twenty-three year-old John Trudell, a Santee Sioux from San Bernardino, California heard about the occupation, packed a sleeping bag, and headed to Frisco. "He became the voice of Radio Free Alcatraz, a pirate station that broadcast from the island with the help of local stations" explains Winton. "When he hit the airwaves, the response was often overwhelming. Boxes of food and money poured in from everywhere-from rock groups such as The Grateful Dead and Creedence Clearwater Revival (who staged a concert on a boat off Alcatraz and then donated the boat), Jane Fonda, Marlon Brando, city politicians, and everyday folks." For the first time in modern American history, the plight of Native Americans was making headlines.
The fledgling American Indian Movement (AIM) visited the occupiers and soon began a series of their own occupations across America. AIM would soon become a powerful multi-tribal protest organization . . . just one of the many important outcomes of the Alcatraz takeover. More.

From the SF Weekly -

They Fought the Law
By Silke TudorIn 1969, a group of young Native Americans led by charismatic SFSU activist Richard Oakes successfully occupied and held Alcatraz Island for 18 long months, citing the 1868 Fort Laramie treaty which stated that abandoned federal land must be ceded to Native peoples.
Initial attempts to starve the activists off the Island failed because mainland supporters risked arrest by rowing out supplies under cover of darkness. By the time the activists were forced off Alcatraz, public awareness had been raised and US policy toward indigenous people had been affected. It was a start. For 33 years, the Indigenous People's Thanksgiving Sunrise Ceremony on Alcatraz has commemorated its occupation (radical graffiti from the time can still be found on the island). Often referred to as the "Unthanksgiving Ceremony," indigenous spokespeople will readily dispel any myths you may have been fed as a child (according to John Two-Hawks, the first official day of Thanksgiving was proclaimed by Governor Winthrop in 1637 to celebrate the safe return of his men from a massacre of Pequot) but the Sunrise Ceremony will not be wrapped in a fog of resentment. The transition from night to morning on this rugged outcrop is far too inspiring; as the sun rises over the water, the Native tribes will offer music, dance, and prayers of thanks to the wind. This year, with the recent adoption of the "Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples" by the United Nations General Assembly, there might be a little something to be thankful for.

More - here and here on Indigenous People, Self-Determination and Solidarity.

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