"To Awaken a Nation Asleep": Community Building Amid Radical Activism, and the Indian Alcatraz Occupation

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Costanzo, Rachel Zoe




This thesis examines events leading to and during the Indian occupation of Alcatraz Island of 1969-1971. While scholars have used the occupation as an example of the changing trajectory of American Indian activism in the late 20th century, especially in regards to the American Indian Movement and Red Power Movement, the event is rarely examined on its own terms. This thesis seeks to fill that gap, focusing on concrete community building initiatives both on and around Alcatraz between 1964 and 1971. In doing so, it argues that Alcatraz was not only a symbolic space of Indian freedom, but also a physical place where Indians’ lives were changed, and Indians’ futures were informed. The thesis brings to bear significant archival research from the National Parks Service Records and Collections, public collections in San Francisco, CA, where many occupiers have preserved their occupation accounts and photographs.


History - American
American Studies
Native American Studies




Carleton University

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Theses and Dissertations

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