Seen from San Francisco, Alcatraz island measures 1,675 feet (511 m) by 590 feet (180 m) and is 135 feet (41 m) at highest point during mean tide. It is home to a former famous prison amongst other things.
Beginning on November 20, 1969, a group of Native Americans called United Indians of All Tribes, mostly college students from San Francisco, occupied the island to protest federal policies related to American Indians. Some of them were children of Native Americans who had relocated in the city as part of the Bureau of Indian Affairs' (BIA) Indian termination policy, which was a series of laws and policies aimed at the assimilation of Native Americans into mainstream American society, particularly by encouraging Native Americans to move away from the Indian reservations and into cities.
The American Indians claimed the island by provisions of the Treaty of Fort Laramie (1868) between the US and the Sioux; they said the treaty promised to return all retired, abandoned, or out-of-use federal lands to the native peoples from whom they were acquired. Indians of All Tribes then claimed Alcatraz Island by the "Right of Discovery", as indigenous peoples knew it thousands of years before any Europeans had come to North America. The Native Americans demanded reparation for the many treaties broken by the US government and for the lands that were taken from so many tribes.
During the occupation, President Richard Nixon rescinded the Indian termination policy, designed by earlier administrations to end federal recognition of tribes and their special relationship with the US government. He established a new policy of self-determination, in part as a result of the publicity and awareness created by the occupation. The occupation ended on June 11, 1971. ...