RCC Honors History Project

1969 Alcatraz proclamation

Posted by chad612 on March 4, 2009


            I N D I A N S   O F   A L L   N A T I O N S 

                     THE ALCATRAZ PROCLAMATION
                              to the
                 Great White Father and his People


Fellow citizens, we are asking you to join with us in our attempt
to better the lives of all Indian people.

     We are on Alcatraz Island to make known to the world that we
have a right to use our land for our own benefit.

     In a proclamation of November 20, 1969, we told the
government of the United States that we are here "to create a
meaningful use for our Great Spirit's Land."

     We, the native Americans, reclaim the land known as Alcatraz
Island in the name of all American Indians by right of discovery.

     We wish to be fair and honorable in our dealings with the
Caucasian inhabitants of this land, and hereby offer the following

     We will purchase said Alcatraz Island for twenty-four dollars
in glass beads and red cloth, a precedent set by the white man's
purchase of a similar island about 300 years ago.  We know that
$24 in trade goods for these 16 acres is more than was paid when
Manhattan Island was sold, but we know that land values have risen
over the years.  Our offer of $1.24 per acres is greater than the
$0.47 per acre the white men are now paying the California Indians
for their lands.

     We will give to the inhabitants of this island a portion of
the land for their own to be held in trust...by the Bureau of
Caucasian Affairs...in perpetuity -- for as long as the sun shall
rise and the rivers go down to the sea.  We will further guide the
inhabitants in the proper way of living.  We will offer them our
religion, our education, our life-ways in order to help them
achieve our level of civilization and thus raise them and all
their white brothers up from their savage and unhappy state.  We
offer this treaty in good faith and wish to be fair and honorable
in our dealings with all white men.

     We feel that this so-called Alcatraz Island is more than
suitable for an Indian reservation, as determined by the white
man's own standards.  By this, we mean that this place resembles
most Indian reservations in that:

     1.  It is isolated from modern facilities, and without
         adequate means of transportation.
     2.  It has no fresh running water.
     3.  It has inadequate sanitation facilities.
     4.  There are no oil or mineral rights.
     5.  There is no industry and so unemployment is very great.
     6.  There are no health-care facilities.
     7.  The soil is rocky and non-productive, and the land does
         not support game.
     8.  There are no educational facilities.
     9.  The population has always exceeded the land base.
     10. The population has always been held as prisoners and kept
         dependent upon others.

     Further, it would be fitting and symbolic that ships from all
over the world, entering the Golden Gate, would first see Indian
land, and thus be reminded of the true history of this nation.
This tiny island would be a symbol of the great lands once ruled
by free and noble Indians. 

     What use will we make of this land?

     Since the San Francisco Indian Center burned down, there is
no place for Indians to assemble and carry on tribal life here in
the white man's city.  Therefore, we plan to develop on this
island several Indian institutions: 

     1.  A Center for Native American Studies will be developed
which will educate them to the skills and knowledge relevant to
improve the lives and spirits of all Indian peoples.  Attached to
this center will be travelling universities, managed by Indians,
which will go to the Indian Reservations, learning those necessary
and relevant materials now about. 

     2.  An American Indian Spiritual Center, which will practice
our ancient tribal religious and sacred healing ceremonies.  Our
cultural arts will be featured and our young people trained in
music, dance, and healing rituals.

     3.  An Indian Center of Ecology, which will train and support
our young people in scientific research and practice to restore
our lands and waters to their pure and natural state.  We will
work to de-pollute the air and waters of the Bay Area.  We will
seek to restore fish and animal life to the area and to revitalize
sea-life which has been threatened by the white man's way.  We
will set up facilities to desalt sea water for human benefit.

     4.  A Great Indian Training School will be developed to teach
our people how to make a living in the world, improve our standard
of living, and to end hunger and unemployment among all our
people.  This training school will include a center for Indian
arts and crafts, and an Indian restaurant serving native foods,
which will restore Indian culinary arts.  This center will display
Indian arts and offer Indian foods to the public, so that all may
know of the beauty and spirit of the traditional Indian ways.

     Some of the present buildings will be taken over to develop
an American Indian Museum which will depict our native food and
other cultural contributions we have given to the world.  Another
part of the museum will present some of the things the white man
has given to the Indians in return for the land and life he took: 

disease, alcohol, poverty, and cultural decimation (as symbolized
by old tin cans, barbed wire, rubber tires, plastic containers,
etc.).  Part of the museum will remain a dungeon to symbolize both
those Indian captives who were incarcerated for challenging white
authority and those who were imprisoned on reservations.  The
museum will show the noble and tragic events of Indian history,
including the broken treaties, the documentary of the Trail of
Tears, the Massacre of Wounded Knee, as well as the victory over
Yellow-Hair Custer and his army.

     In the name of all Indians, therefore, we reclaim this island
for our Indian nations, for all these reasons.  We feel this claim
is just and proper, and that this land should rightfully be
granted to us for as long as the rivers run and the sun shall

     We hold the rock!

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