|Alcatraz: facts and figures
Citing the Treaty of Fort Laramie (1868) between the U.S. and the Sioux, Indians of All Tribes (IAT) claimed the island after the Alcatraz prison was closed in 1963 and the U.S. government declared the island as surplus federal property, since the treaty returned all retired, abandoned and out-of use federal lands to the Native Americans.
However, the occupation started to collapse after a series of incidents of an accidental death, a fire, presence of drug addicted people, presence of non-American Indian people, departure of student participants, and leadership in-fights. Meanwhile, the government had cut off all electrical power and telephone service. Public sympathy and support had eroded. On June 11, 1971, a large force of federal marshals, GSA Special Forces, Coast Guard and FBI agents removed the last 15 people - six men, four women and five children - from Alcatraz with no resistance.
In spite of the controversies, the Occupation of Alcatraz brought international spotlight on the plight of Native Americans and sparked off a wave of more than 200 civil disobedience among Native Americans. It was the dawn of the modern day Native American activism and it was the first inter-tribe event to connect young Native American activists from dozens of tribes.