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Sunday, November 20, 2022

On this date in 1969, an unprecedented Native activist event known as the Alcatraz Occupation took place in California.

  • On that day, before dawn, 78 Indians landed on Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay and occupied the island. They called themselves “Indians of All Tribes” and issued a proclamation, “We Hold the Rock.” In it they offered to buy Alcatraz in glass beads and red cloth, the price paid Indians for Manhattan Island over three hundred years earlier. Although federal marshals eventually removed the occupiers from the island, scholars view the two-year protest as a springboard for modern-day Indian activism.

A song written by Joe DeFilippo, a Baltimore songwriter and retired social studies teacher and performed by the R. J. Phillips Band, We Hold the Rock