Occupation of Alcatraz
The Occupation of Alcatraz began on November 20, 1969, when 89 Native Americans crossed San Francisco bay in a fleet of small boats and occupied the abandoned former island-prison of Alcatraz. The occupiers hoped to bring attention to the plight of Native Americans on neglected federal reservations and to gain the rights to Alcatraz as a Native American cultural center. The government refused to give them the deed to island, but did not interfere with the protesters, who soon swelled to over 600 in number. After more than a year, the protest began to dwindle in size, and federal marshals finally removed the last protesters on June 11, 1971. The protest was unsuccessful in claiming Alcatraz as Indian land, but they had galvanized Native American protesters across the country. Millions of acres of tribal land were eventually returned, and the U.S. government passed more than 50 proposals supporting tribal self-rule.