On Monday, Native people from across the West Coast gathered in San Francisco for a ceremonial canoe journey to Alcatraz Island. Each canoe represented a territory, tribe, community or family. They paddled to celebrate culture and values on Indigenous Peoples' Day, and to commemorate the 1969 Occupation of Alcatraz.
"It's honoring the Native people. They took care of the earth and we're still here," said Ruth Orta, an elder with the Him're-n Ohlone tribe. "We haven't gone anyway."
The Occupation of Alcatraz started on Nov. 20, 1969 with a group who called themselves the Indians of All Tribes.
"We feel that if we are going to succeed, we must hold on to the old ways," read the Indians of All Tribes' call to action. "This is the first and most important reason we went to Alcatraz Island."
Their movement lasted 19 months and gave visibility to broken treaties and a calls for self determination for Native people. The historic event of activism is recognized as one of the most important actions in contemporary Native American history that made strides for American Indian civil rights.