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.