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ALCATRAZ ISLAND, Calif. — Thousands of Native Americans and allies boarded ferries at Pier 33 in San Francisco during the pre-dawn hours of Thursday to attend the International Indian Treaty Council's Annual Indigenous Peoples' Thanksgiving Sunrise Gathering on Alcatraz Island.

Chief Arvol Looking Horse (Lakota) is a spiritual leader who is the 19th keeper of the Sacred White Buffalo Calf Pipe and Bundle. 

On Thursday Chief Looking Horse, pictured below in a headdress, spoke to the crowd about the prophecy of the white buffalo woman. 

"We as Indigenous people still face global disasters. We're still faced with genocide. We're are faced with a lot of anger and violence...we must stand together united for the future of our children. We must stand together like we did at Standing Rock."

All Nations Drum began the event with the American Indian Movement's anthem.

The event commemorates the 52nd anniversary of the Alcatraz occupation by Indian students young people who called themselves "Indians of All Tribes." The original Native protesters made a proclamation that they were reclaiming the land for all American Indians by right of discovery and offered to purchase Alcatraz for "twenty-four dollars ($24) in glass beads and red cloth, a precedent set by the white man's purchase of a similar island about 300 years ago."

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The original occupation of Alcatraz began on November 20, 1969, and lasted 19 months until federal marshals removed the protesters in June 1971.

Photos by Arthur Jacobs and Patricia Montes Gregory. 

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