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Alcatraz - "Once You've Tasted Freedom, you'll Never go back"

Pics from the Indian Occupation of Alcatraz (Nov 1969 to Nov 1970). Most of the pictures were taken by me, my brother Ed, and sister Linda during the Fall of 1970. Other pictures were taken earlier during the Occupation and by others as noted...

Alcatraz - "Once You've Tasted Freedom, you'll Never go back"

  • 163 Pins

Margaret Lareiro, michael moppin and Cecil (dark glasses) are three that i recognize. Courtesy of Troy Johnson Collection:

/Some of the women that kept the day-to-day operations on the Rock going during the Indian Occupation from 1969-1970. From left to right, Sue Tiger, Shirley (Garcia) Guevera, Sandra Aguilar, Eldy Bratt, Justine Moppin, Rosalie McKay and Cecelia Peppilion.

  • Elvin Willie
    Elvin Willie

    My mom, Rosalie McKay, brought me and my 4 siblings to the Island in November 1969. They all made sure people were fed, the living arrangements were made bearable as possible, and helped maintain as much normalcy for the families, children and fellow occupiers.

  • Elvin Willie
    Elvin Willie

    There were many others too. This picture was taken years later during one of the re-unions, i'm guessing the 20th or 30th anniversary of the Occupation, possible 1980 or 1990. I'm also not sure who to credit for the photo, i'm still researching.

Eldy with Peter and Veruschka Bratt, MainCell Block during the Indian Occupation, 1969. It's amazing to me how Eldy, my mom, Beryl, Justine, Lanada, Eleanor, Lou Trudell and others were brave enough to bring their children to the occupation.

  • Elvin Willie
    Elvin Willie

    I didn't take this pic, but when (if) I find out, I'll give them credit. This is how I remember Eldy, Veruschka and Peter at the time.

Alcatraz| One evening as I was photographing the Skyline of San Francisco, I look over slightly right and saw this scene over Alcatraz. It was incredible! I hurry grabbed my gear and rushed these shots because the sun set so fast. Nobody paid attention to this beautiful scene sadly. I am glad I was able to capture it. #sanfrancisco #nikon #nikontop #cityscape #photographer #nikonphoto #sunset #clouds. Photo by Adam Tolle

  • Gail P
    Gail P


Peter Blue Cloud and Joe Bill, Island Residents during the Occupation. Peter was the editor of the Island newsletter and head of the Kitchen detail. Joe Bill was one of the original occupiers. Me and Joe attended a Santana Concert at the Winterland, SF during this time period. Both great people.

The last prisoners leaving Alcatraz, 1963, six years befpre the Indian Occupation.

Forgotten day

one bright october day several years ago...

Another view of the Lighthouse and Warden's House...home sweet home.

My first night on the Rock was in the house shown on the right....a Blackfoot lady by the name of Vicky Santana showed us were to camp out for night on the second floor. The next morning,we found our accommodations in the Main Cell block (Nov 1969)

Place where ceremonies were held, a sweat lodge was located nearby.

Indian Welcome sign on Alcatraz (1969)

The time when Alcatraz was liberated...Nov 1969 to June 1971.

Alcatraz Lighthouse during the Un-Thanksgiving event on Alcatraz. Photo by Scott Sawyer.

Sunrise photo of Un-Thanksgiving event on Alcatraz by Lenny Rush.

Alcatraz from the docks today. Can you imagine looking up and seeing a million embers filling the dark foggy sky as they blew to the east? And breathlessly running on the dock avoiding the large spot light from a passing Coast Guard Cutter? Those are memories me and my brother have of one cold night in May of 1970 on Alcatraz Island. .

The Big E passing Alcatraz during the Indian Occupation. It was stationed at Alameda during this time. The screen shot is from an archived KQED TV program about the Indian Occupation.

Guard's apartment on Alcatraz. I lived on the second floor of this building during the Occupation. As tensions eased between the occupiers and the government, we moved out of the Main Cell Block down to more comfortable quarters in the apartment buildings on the Parade Ground in January 1970.

My sisters Lisa McKay and Karren Harrison on Alcatraz during the Occupation.

My brother Edward Willie posing on Thanksgiving 2014 and also 45 years ago at the same time and location.

  • Gail P
    Gail P

    Great pic! Thanks for sharing!

Ed Castillo, student from UCLA "Indians Welcome." 1969-1971 Occupation of Alcatraz, or the better named Reclamation of Alcatraz as promised in the Treaty of Fort Laramie

Former resident Elvin Willie - 45 years after the Occupation (11/27/14)

Former resident of Alcatraz - Edward Willie

sunrise ceremony on the Rock - 2014

Sunrise on Alcatraz - Nov. 27, 2014