Alcatraz occupier calls events a ‘day of smiles’

About 150 people are now gathered at Alcatraz to mark the 50th anniversary of a takeover of the island by Native American activists.
Original occupiers, friends, family and others assembled yesterday [Macau time] for a program that included prayer, songs and speakers. They then headed to the dock to begin restoring messages painted by occupiers on a former barracks building.
One of the original occupiers, 80-year-old Eloy Martinez (pictured), called it a “day full of smiles” that reunited old friends and reinforced the message that Native Americans are “still here” and are “still resisting.”
Golden Gate National Recreation Area is hosting three days of events to commemorate the anniversary of the 19-month occupation, in collaboration with the Indians of All Tribes and others.
The events include the opening of an exhibit called “Red Power on Alcatraz: Perspectives 50 Years Later,” which features photographs and mementos from the occupation.
The items on display come from the personal collection of Kent Blansett. He’s an associate professor of history at the University of Nebraska at Omaha who has written about Alcatraz.
The exhibit includes posters from the occupation, newsletters, photographs, film, skateboards and information on the occupation’s organizers.
It also includes political buttons that illustrate how the movement influenced the 1972 presidential race. Blansett says the candidates were trying to appeal to Native Americans who captured the attention of the federal government with the Alcatraz takeover.

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