Alcatraz Proved a Point.
[Red Power / California]. Morris, Joseph Leo Indian Joe - Artist.

Alcatraz Proved a Point.

Regular price $475.00 $0.00

San Francisco: All-Tribe Arts & Crafts, [1972]. 57.5 x 45 cm. Broadside, offset printed in multiple colors on white stock and signed in the plate by the artist. The illustration shows an American Indian man holding up a tomahawk and kneeling on Alcatraz, while a buffalo herd gallops across the sky over the Golden Gate Bridge toward San Francisco. On Alcatraz are painted the words, "Alcatraz - Indian Land - Occupied Nov. 20, 1969 - June 11, 1971", and in the border surrounding the image are the names of the tribes that participated in the occupation. Minor bumping to lower corner, else clean, crisp and bright. Near Fine.

A poster commemorating the Indian occupation of Alcatraz by depicting the Indian legend of the Buffalo Reappearing in the West, "meaning that the Indians would return united and strong although our treaties had been broken and our land stolen by the white men" (Jicarilla Chieftain, October 2, 1972, in a brief article by "Indian Joe" Morris explaining the poster and offering it for sale). Morris, a member of the Blackfeet tribe, was one of the primary artists involved in the occupation.

The occupation of Alcatraz was a major event in the Red Power movement of the late 1960s to early 1970s. During it, over 89 American Indians from a number of different tribes, calling themselves the Indians of All Tribes, seized and occupied Alcatraz island for over a year and a half, arguing that the land had been stolen from them in the broken Treaty of Fort Laramie. Their number swelled to over 400 at its height, and they garnered international support for American Indian rights.

Ultimately, a number of factors -- the accidental death of leader Richard Oakley's daughter and continued strife among those in power about how best to continue to support the occupiers, as well as increased pressure from the federal government -- led to the occupation's end. Nevertheless, it showed what could be accomplished when American Indians united in common cause, and paved the way for other occupations of former Indian land.

Morris created at least two additional variants of this poster, both using different illustrations and neither of which appear to have been printed in color. Neither this poster nor either of the variants are located in OCLC, but we note what appears to be a copy of this poster in the finding aid of the Joseph Morris Alcatraz Occupation Collection at the National Park Service, and one of the variants at the Oakland Museum of California.


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