In 2009, in collaboration with native leaders, a group of San Francisco State and California State University East Bay students and faculty conducted interviews of native scholars and activists and documented the 40th anniversary of the historic 19-month American Indian occupation of Alcatraz Island. The resulting exhibit was originally shown at the San Francisco State Cesar Chavez Student Center Art Gallery in November 2010 and was subsequently invited by the National Park Service to be installed on Alcatraz Island.
The multi-media exhibit contains photographs of the 40th anniversary occupation celebration; an audio landscape with excerpts from interviews of Alcatraz veterans and activists; a collage of contemporary and archival footage; contemporary native poetry; and original art. Alcatraz historian Dr. Troy Johnson provides interpretation for what remains an important part of the history of the island and an event that sparked the flame of American Indian activism. The occupation provided visibility for the many challenges facing America’s original peoples and led to victories in civil rights and native sovereignty.
Alcatraz occupation veterans, American Indian artists, activists and scholars, as well as the students and faculty who created the exhibit will be present at the opening to interact with the public. The exhibit is sponsored by the Richard Oakes Multicultural Center; American Indian Studies and Cesar Chavez Institute at San Francisco State; the International Indian Treaty Council; the Department of Ethnic Studies at Cal State East Bay; and The Cultural Conservancy, a non-profit indigenous rights organization. We wish to acknowledge the support of the National Park Service and a generous donation from the Service Employees International Union Local 1021 Native American Caucus.
Join us, Sunday November 20th!
The exhibit is located next to the gift shop in the former Band Practice Room in the cellblock basement on Alcatraz Island.