Occupation & ownership of Alcatraz Island

About This Item

KPIX news report from December 2nd 1969, featuring a press conference in which Richard Oakes explains to the press that: "Alcatraz offers the insulation necessary for us to develop intellectually." The Regional Director of the US government's General Services Administration Thomas E. Hannon is seen refusing to accept that American Indians may occupy Alcatraz Island indefinitely and an Indian spokesman presents an argument in support of their treaty rights to appropriate surplus federal land.

Originally aired on
KPIX Eye on the Bay News
Date aired
Recording medium
16mm color magnetic sound film
Rights for this video belong to
Type of material
archival news film
Occupation of Alcatraz
KPIX 100804

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Good to know about the occupation


This is great - thanks for posting! 

that is fine movie to watch

I have always wanted to fly out to San Francisco and take a boat trip to Alcatraz.  It has memorized me since I was a child, probably because of all the movies that take place there.

Thank you for Posting this Video of Richard Oakes & UNA Co-Founder Dr. Jack D. Forbes Interview on The Occupation & ownership of Alcatraz Island. 

Lehman Brightman on The Real History of The Alcatraz Take Over 1969-1971


"History will remember Alcatraz as the first time Indians ever tried to regain their lost land. It's the best thing that has happened since Custer's last stand."

"I had 20 students/members of UNA whom took part in The Alcatraz Take Over." 

Lehman Brightman-National President of UNA

A special thanks to all of the UNA members who went on become leaders during the Alcatraz struggle. Jack Forbes, LaNada (Means) Boyer, Horace Spencer, Beliva Cottier, Muriel Waukazoo, Stella Leach, Carmen Chrisy and many others. 

Date: Tue, 6 Oct 2009 16:47:11 -0700From: lvwarjack@yahoo.comUNA Co-Founder LaNada Warjack

Dear Lee,

Congratulations to you! It is about time you have been recognized for your work and efforts in the Bay Area and as the first Director of Native American Studies at the University of California. A short recap of events over forty years ago (1966), we first worked with the American Historical Society, Rupert and Jeanette Costo in San Francisco. Later you became the Director of the American Indian Center on 16th Street when the old guard decided they wanted the Indian Center back. Thats when we decided to form our own organization called United Native Americans networking with Dr. Jack Forbes and David Risling Jr. You organized protests against the BIA for dropping off relocatees in the cities with a one way ticket for employment or vocational training. It was our goal to get our people into the universities and colleges to obtain professional educations. We practiced what we preached and were able get into the University of California at Berkeley to further our own education and continued to organize with other students and organizations, thus the Third World Strike at Berkeley and Native American Studies program.

You became our first Director and we continued the War Path, the organizational newsletter to reach a larger audience. Finally, the students from UC Berkeley and San Francisco State took Alcatraz Island to launch a bigger protest against the federal government for their ill treatment against all our people. Without your leadership and great heart for our Native people, we would not have been able to reach thoes amazing accomplishments. It was our ability to work together as a team with Jack Forbes, David Risling, outside Third World students and academic leaders that has created the momemtum to be successful. Personally, I would like to commend you and thank you personally for your input into this overall success and what exists today. Congratulations and maintain a positive stance for your children and future generations to come.


Dr. LaNada War Jack aka LaNada Means 

Video Evidence Showing UNA Members Denis Turner & LaNada War Jack From Day One Of The Alcatraz Take Over

Occupation of Alcatraz Island: Day 1


KQED news report from November 20th 1969, featuring views of American Indians relaxing on Alcatraz Island and tourists circling the island in boats. There are a series of interviews with protesters who justify their occupation of the island. Dennis Turner replies to a query about the potential threat of federal force being used to evict them by asking: "How can anyone refuse you legal rights to your own property?"

Interviews with American Indians on Alcatraz


A KQED news report from Alcatraz featuring the American Indian occupation of the island, on November 24th 1969. Includes interviews with Dennis Turner, Richard Oakes and LaNada Means. Oakes confirms there there is no outbreak of hepatitis amongst the population and Turner states they're determined to remain there for 10 years if necessary, to defend their property rights. When LaNada Means is asked by a reporter if their protest has any connection with the Third World Liberation Front she replies: "Well, this is a Native American struggle." She describes the occupation as an attempt to make the federal government honor the 1868 Treaty of Fort Laramie and claims the failure of Walter Hickel (Secretary of the Interior) to respond to their November 20th proclamation was expected. She also points out that whilst living conditions for the protesters are very basic, this is in fact: "Average for an Indian way of life anyway. Now, I mean today."

Interviews & confrontation with Coastguard at Alcatraz


KQED news report from Alcatraz Island on November 26th 1969, featuring interviews with the occupying American Indians and excerpts of everyday life there. There is also an episode by the dock in which a U.S. Coastguard boat intercepts a vessel full of protesters, including a brief scuffle.

I believe that's Steve Talbot, from UC Berkeley, non-Native, being interviewed about the legality of the occupation.

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