American Indian Civil Rights Movement & Occupation of Alcatraz Discussion

For this week’s discussion blog, please answer the following questions: PLEASE WRITE A 400 word discussion on the following questions!

1. What stood out to you from this week’s textbook readings? What is Dunbar-Ortiz referring to with the “Ghost Dance Prophecy,” and how does it connect to the Occupation of Alcatraz?

2. According to Prof. Mayfield’s lecture, what did tribal termination policies entail? What about relocation policies?

3. According to the readings and Prof. Mayfield’s lecture, how the American Indian Civil Rights movement emerge?

4. Describe the goals and significance of the Occupation of Alcatraz based on this week’s reading.

5. After, thoroughly interpret and rhetorically analyze the Alcatraz Proclamation (not the full article, just the proclamation itself.) Consider the following: purpose, tone, word choice, historical allusions, intended audience, context etc.

6. Lastly, please reflect on your overall thoughts/reactions to this week’s materials.

Please respond in 200 words to this student:1. I did not know that the Bureau of Indian Affairs was not largely representing or had office held by Native Americans. When the Bureau invested the Cherokee and Creek funds into state bonds, two tribes that have resisted assimilation for years, the tribes protested these actions that were made and even filed petitions against their use, saying this was not their doing (168). Dunbar-Ortiz is referring to the Indian’s constant resistance the United States Government in terms of assimilation and the stripping of their culture with the “Ghost Dance Prophecy”. The occupation of Alcatraz connects to this because during this time of termination, culture was being taken once again, but instead of accepting this, Native Americans resisted this in an effort to preserve their culture and people as they always have.

2. The termination policies entailed that entire reservation and tribal nations are terminated from US soil, forcing members to leave the reservation to endure American Schooling and work as part of the American culture. This was in hopes that Native Americans would absorb American values, capitalism, English Language, and literary. The relocation policies intended to take the young working men away from the reservation, give them employment training and help them find a house for their family, and hope that they will be able to succeed in an effort to assimilate Native Americans into the greater society.

3. The American Indian Civil Rights Movement emerged during the time of World War 2. As a thank you for their undoubtedly honorable service in the military, Indians were given legal weight in court against the federal government, expanded federal subsidies, and given 2 million acres of land back. However, during the time of Civil right for the rest of the minority groups, the Native Americans were treated with the termination policy. It was not until the Occupancy of Alcatraz that the Indian Civil Rights Movement really emerged in full force. Through this, the termination policy was removed and civil rights for Native Americans began to show progress.

4. The significance of the Occupation of Alcatraz was to stand up against the termination and relocation policies that had been set forth during the 1950s. During this time, the Indian Identity, culture, language, and land were all being stripped from the Indians once again, this time in the form of their reservations being taken away. The assimilation and termination policies set forth by the government to erase Indian culture were getting extreme, so in retaliation and as a political movement, the Alcatraz Occupation began. The goal was to preserve Indian Culture, involve a sense of Native American pride among Indians, remind the United States government that Indians were not going to be assimilated easily or quietly. Their culture was going to live on and the story of mistreatment by the government was going to be heard at last by the media.

5. The purpose of the Alcatraz Proclamation was to reiterate the mistreatment Native American Indians have been dealing with for the 300 odd years the United States have occupied North America. The tone of the Proclamation is sarcastic and condescending, with word choice being particular to show the US government in poor light. In the first sentence, the Native Americans re-claim Alcatraz “by right of discovery”, showing the forceful taking of land that does not belong to them just as the American’s “Manifest Destiny” to seize land Native Americans already occupied. The use of historical allusions and context of the event, such as the price they are willing to pay for ownership of Alcatraz is parallel with how the land was divided 300 years ago and it’s parallel to the siege of reservations through termination. The intended audience is both the general public as well as the US government to make them realize how poor they have treated this group of people.

6. I think that this week’s material was very interesting and shows such resilience in the Native people. I was amazed on how through the occupation of Alcatraz, which started as a simple idea, was able to catch so much national attention and inspired a new generation of Native Americans to stand up for the rights their family has had stripped from them for years.


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