At Alcatraz Island, Haaland highlights Indigenous progress

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SAN FRANCISCO — U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland on Saturday said progress has been made by Indigenous people during a visit to Alcatraz Island, which became a symbol of the struggles of Native People for self-determination following its takeover in the 1960s, but more remains to be done.

Haaland visited the island off of San Francisco’s coast on the 52nd anniversary of the occupation by Indigenous students who were demanding that the U.S. government recognize longstanding agreements with tribes and turn over the deed to the island.

The group was removed after a 19-month occupation but the takeover became a watershed moment in Native American activism.

“Alcatraz was borne out of desperation,” said Haaland, who was accompanied by some of the dozens of people who occupied the island in 1969. “Out of this we gained a sense of community and visibility in the eyes of the federal government. But more than that, our Indigenous identities were restored.”

Haaland, who is from Laguna Pueblo

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