I took these pictures during a ceremony at Alcatraz where Native Americans were expressing prayer, victory, and thanks through dance to their ancestors. The ceremony was held to honor their ancestors who fought hard for their rights during the occupation of Alcatraz during 1969-71.

"On November 20th, 1969 over seventy people organized by the San Francisco-based Indians of All Tribes set out to occupy Alcatraz Island. An activist group known as “Indians of All Tribes” set their sights on the unused land at Alcatraz. A handful of protestors first journeyed to the island on November 9, 1969 under the leadership of Mohawk college student Richard Oakes. They only stayed for a night before the authorities removed them, but Oakes stressed that the landing had been a symbolic act. 'If a one day occupation by white men on Indian land years ago established squatter’s rights,' he told the San Francisco Chronicle, 'then the one day occupation of Alcatraz should establish Indian rights to the island...'"

Check out this video of the Alcatraz scenes, relief fund and interview with Richard Oakes



© Skye Bennike 2018