Hundreds of American Indians Gathered on Alcatraz Island on Indigenous Peoples’ Day

Drummers sang the AIM song as they marched into the circle.

Published October 12, 2017

Native News Online photos by Arthur Jacobs.

ALCATRAZ ISLAND – As they have since the occupation of Alcatraz Island 48 years ago, American Indians and their allies gathered for Indigneous Peoples’ Day Sunrise Ceremony on Alcatraz Island in the San Francisco Bay early Monday morning.

A ferry from Berkeley brought east bay residents to the pier in San Francisco. Kanyon Sayers. an Ohlone traditional, welcomed with words and song the people on the ferry.

Kanyon Sayres

Kanyon Sayres

Desirae Harp sings the Woman’s Warrior Song to the circle

It is an annual event that provides a strong alternative to those who celebrate Columbus Day. This year marked the 525 years of Indigenous resistance to when Christopher Columbus arrived in the Western Hemisphere in 1492.

Smoke from six fast moving wildfires in the northern part of the San Francisco Bay lingered in the air.

The event was sponsored by the International Indian Treaty Council. The night before the sunrise ceremony, there was a dinner, Aztec/Mayan dancing, a movie and ceremony. Oren Lyons, Faithkeeper, Turtle Clan, Onondaga Nation, Haudenosaunee, Six Nations, Iroquois Confederacy spoke to the people there and showed a movie, ‘Spirit Game: Pride of a Nation’. This new movie demonstrated how the native people play lacrosse for the creator. Oren Lyons reminded us to do everything for the creator and how that would allow us to remember the miracle before us.

Corrina Gould gives a necklace to Oren LYons

Corrina Gould, Chochenyo and Karkin Ohlone gives a necklace to Oren Lyons to welcome him onto her people’s land the night before the trip to Alcatraz.

Sunrise on the island, Lenny Foster (Diné) said, “Forty-eight years ago when Alcatraz Occupation took place, I was here. Your presence today is medicine,”  Lenny Foster is the spiritual adviser for Leonard Peltier.

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