Alcatraz: An Unfinished Occupation

Oct. 14, 2019 - Nov. 17, 2019 Multiple Venues, San Francisco, CA

On Indigenous Peoples’ Day (Monday, October 14), canoes representing tribes from up and down the West Coast and beyond will take to the waters of San Francisco Bay and circle Alcatraz Island to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 1969 Occupation of Alcatraz by the Red Power movement.

As part of this commemoration, The Natural History Museum is co-presenting Alcatraz: An Unfinished Occupation, organized by Alcatraz Canoe Journey with the California Historical Society, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Exploratorium, the Presidio Trust, and the San Francisco Public Library. The series includes Alcatraz Is Not an Island, a special issue of SFMOMA’s Open Space magazine.

The Alcatraz Occupation launched the current era of Indigenous rights and remains a guiding light for resistance, resilience and a more just relationship between people and planet in an era of peril.

Alcatraz Canoe Journey is a grassroots project of Indigenous organizers and allies based in the Bay Area and led by elder Eloy Martinez. Inspired by the annual Tribal Canoe Journey in the Pacific Northwest and the resurgence of canoe traditions in Indigenous communities across the continent and beyond, Alcatraz Canoe Journey will be the first event of its kind in the Bay Area. Alcatraz Canoe Journey hopes to inspire a new generation of youth leaders, empower local and urban Indigenous communities and educate the public about the Alcatraz Occupation and the enduring importance of First Peoples in the context of global environmental crisis.


Alcatraz Canoe Journey 2019

Oct. 14, 2019 Aquatic Park in San Francisco

On Indigenous Peoples’ Day 2019, canoes representing tribes from as far North as Canada and as far West as Hawaii will converge on San Francisco Bay for a paddle around Alcatraz Island to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Occupation of Alcatraz and stand in solidarity for the water, the land, the air, and future generations.

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Landless in the Bay Area

Oct. 23, 2019 San Francisco Public Library

Three leaders of traditional Bay Area territories will speak from the heart about historical and contemporary events that have left them landless and without federal recognition, the impact of this situation on their people, the work they are doing to reclaim culture and re-assert their claim to these lands, and why Indigenous presence matters as San Francisco emerges as one of the wealthiest cities on the planet and a hub for tech corporations and real estate speculation.

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The Indigenous Canoe Movement

Nov. 12, 2019 California Historical Society

A conversation with three Indigenous leaders from across North America rebuilding canoe and maritime traditions in their own communities. All will also speak to the challenges and positive impacts of canoe culture on Indigenous communities and the environmental movement.

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The Indigenous Environmental Movement

Nov. 6, 2019 The Exploratorium, San Francisco

Three Indigenous millennial activists will speak to the role of indigenous peoples in protecting water, land and biodiversity in the face of environmental and moral hazards including fossil fuel extraction and climate change.

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The Occupation of Alcatraz

Nov. 17, 2019 The Presidio Officers' Club Theater

A conversation with two original Alcatraz Occupiers about the context in which the Occupation occurred; energy and intent behind the Occupation; immediate impacts of the Occupation on policy, politics and culture in Indian Country; and reasons the Occupation is equally relevant 50 years later. Moderator Julian Brave NoiseCat (Canin Lake Band Tsq’escen), Narrative Change Director for The Natural History Museum, will also discuss contemporary Indigenous activism.

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