Either term is generally acceptable when referring to North American people indigenous to the United States — although some individuals may have a preference, and others may feel being called "Indian" is inappropriate or even offensive. But as some experts and scholars point out, however, "American Indian" refers specifically to the aboriginal peoples of the lower 48 states — while "Native American" includes Alaska Natives as well. First Nations generally refers to tribal groups indigenous to Canada — it is generally considered incorrect to refer to U. The term "American Indian" is generally preferred by news media and many academic environments when referencing Native peoples of the lower 48 states.
The beacon flashed incessantly. Like some sort of traffic light gone crazy, it pierced the thick nighttime mist hovering over San Francisco Bay. The light sent a message five miles across the dark waters from Ghirardelli Square to Alcatraz Island.
There, cheers erupted as the light flashed the words, "Go Indians! The occupiers held the island for nearly eighteen months, from Nov. They were an unlikely mix of Indian college activists, families with children fresh off reservations and urban dwellers disenchanted with what they called the U.
They wanted more than an apology from the U. Since well before Modoc and Hopi leaders were held at Alcatraz in the late s, U. Among the worst of the broken promises was the Treaty of Fort Laramie.
It was there that the government hammered out written agreements with the Crow, Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara, Sioux and other tribes. The government promised in writing that tribes would always be entitled to their land and their sovereign rights.
Congress instead simply wrote new laws that invalidated the treaties. Little did it matter that this was land that had been occupied for centuries, and many generations, by Native people. Advertisements Less than 70 years later, in the s, the government was at it again, pushing a new policy of "Termination" that literally sought to wipe out all rights and legal claims of Indian tribes.
The federal Termination Era also sought to relocate thousands of Indian people to the cities to be acculturated with the non-Indian world. Poole had arrived to urge American Indians to leave the island, but the occupation continued for another 16 months.
Island caretaker John Hart and Dennis Turner, a tribal leader, look on. Against that historical backdrop, the occupation of Alcatraz was about human rights, the occupiers said.
It was an effort to restore the dignity of the more than American Indian nations in the United States. Historians and other experts say the occupation -- though chaotic and laced with tragedy --improved conditions for the 2 million American Indians and Alaska Natives alive today.
As a child, she had bounced in and out of government boarding schools, often expelled for speaking out against the institutional conditions. At the University of California-Berkeley, she was once suspended for organizing a raucous student protest over the lack of ethnic sensitivity in academia. She was determined to change the world, and was among the first to set up an month-long residence on Alcatraz, leaving it only for brief meetings in Washington and in Massachusetts with members of the Kennedy family.
Thirty years later, Boyer says the work begun at Alcatraz is only beginning. She and her daughter Jessica are on their way back to Berkeley.
LaNada, who received a doctorate in in political science, has LaNada Boyer inside one of the Alcatraz guard barracks where occupiers lived from Much of the graffiti from 30 years ago remains throughout the island today.
Photo by Linda Sue Scott. Her daughter wants to enroll there in journalism school. Journalists, Jessica believes, can change the world. Both agree that much work remains. They blame the legacy of European contact with American Indians for that.
Fifteenth-century Spanish explorers brought with them the concept of Manifest Destiny, a philosophy shaped by the Roman Catholic Church to justify its crusades against the Muslim world in Europe. The concept ostensibly gave divine right to pillage and plunder, to desecrate cultures that did not embrace the authority of the Church or the Crown.
Thus, forcibly marching Cherokees, Choctaws and others from The South to Oklahoma, imprisoning Navajos at Bosque Redondo, and rounding up Geronimo, all became palatable -- if not legally justifiable -- actions.
In less than two generations, a population of American Indian people that had once numbered more than 2 million people had dwindled to one tenth of that number in the early 20th century.
That is why Alcatraz was so important, Boyer says. The occupation was the seed of an effort to rebuild Indian cultures and political alliances among tribes.
Boyer was one of many who felt that way.KQED news report on the American Indian occupation of Alcatraz from June 16th , featuring brief extracts of the news team arriving and taking a motorboat ride around the island. There are excellent panning shots from the top of Alcatraz and detailed tracking shots of buildings on the island, including the prison block.
Engaged Resistance also foregrounds sites of resistance that confront easy assumptions about Indians, assimilation, and tribal expression, and it discusses indigenous texts that have catalyzed resistance into powerful change, such as the Indian occupation of Alcatraz from to , and in particular, the poems, paintings, and public.
Dear Twitpic Community - thank you for all the wonderful photos you have taken over the years. We have now placed Twitpic in an archived state. After November 20, when the word about the Occupation got out to Indian Country, Indians came from all over- for a visit or to stay on the island.
Some moved their family to Alcatraz, others came every weekend with their kids. There were many occupations and sit-ins in Indian country in the two decades following Alcatraz, but Alcatraz was the first. The Mohawk leader of that occupation, Richard Oakes, was a true visionary.
Dr. Dean Chavers is director of Catching the Dream, a scholarship and school improvement organization in Albuquerque. On this day in , a curious kind of civil rights action began on a previously deserted island in San Francisco Bay. Fourteen Native American activists, most of them college students, landed on Alcatraz despite a Coast Guard .