Today, Alcatraz Island is a deservedly popular tourist destination. Perhaps best known through inaccurate Hollywood film representations, Alcatraz Island, located in the middle of the San Francisco Bay and Golden Gate National Recreation Area's main attraction, offers a close-up look at the site of the first lighthouse and U.S.-built fort on the West Coast, the infamous federal penitentiary long off-limits to the public, and the 18-month occupation by Indians of All Tribes. Rich in history, there is also a natural side to the "Rock"—gardens, tide pools, bird colonies, and bay views beyond compare. But it is the occupation beginning in 1969 that is perhaps most relevant to Indian country.
Forty-two years ago today, on June 11, 1971, the Indian occupation of the Rock came to an end after 18 months (Read more: Alcatraz Occupation Four Decades Ago Led to Many Benefits for American Indians). The National Park Service has strived to ensure that a lasting mark remains to honor American Indians, which can be seen by visitors today. (Read more: Alcatraz Occupation Graffiti Preserved)
For information about visiting Alcatraz Island, go to Nps.gov/alca. Meanwhile, here are five videos about the occupation that are well worth watching to inspire your visit to the Rock.
ONE: Footage of the 1969 occupation and protests
TWO: Photos of the takeover of Alcatraz Island by American Indians
THREE: "We Were There: AIM and Alcatraz"
FOUR: "The Mouse That Roared": The 1969 Indian occupation of Alcatraz
FIVE: Richard Oakes delivers the Alcatraz Proclamation, 1969