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The Story of Native Americans through the Eyes of Richard Oakes

Every nation in the world has got its deep rooted history and so does the United States of America. Native Americans had occupied a vast land of today’s USA before the European settlers arrived. The natives occupied a vast portion of the land. When the European settlers discovered that the natives’ land was rich in minerals such as gold and oil, they forcefully evicted the native settlers from their land and settled them in reservations.

The entrance of the settlers caused the natives to suffer diverse injustices. In response, different activist groups have tried for a long time to protest against these injustices. The natives believe that the solution to their problems lies with self-governance. Historical injustices is never easy to correct.

Richard Oakes left a mark in the Native American’s struggle. Fortunately, Oakes acquired formal education. While at a local university in California, the Alcatraz occupation mission was born. After the US government closed the Alcatraz penitentiary in the early sixties, some Native Americans had made several attempts to occupy it. Government officials swung into action to neutralize this attempts.

In 1969, Oakes in the company of eighty nine others, sailed to Alcatraz. The team arrived at Sunset and occupied the Island. They reckoned they had a legal standing based on the 1868 treaty. Due to their large numbers they overpowered the coast guards. The only way to get rid of this group was through force. Instead, the government under the leadership of President Nixon opted to use peaceful means to remove the activist. The occupation went on for nineteen months.

This group was joined by many other natives in the subsequent days. They were united behind a common struggle. The people looked up to Oakes and his friends for direction. The natives were determined to go all the way, until they get their demands meet. They got a lot of local and international attention and support. This support was financial as well as material. The activist were so organized that the broadcasted their plight on radio everyday.

There was a turn of events when Oakes lost his stepdaughter who fell from a high step. The death of the child broke the camel’s back and Oakes decided to desert the mission and leave the Island. Every one now wanted to ascend to power. Due to the discord, many people opted to go back to their old life. Eventually, only a group of fifteen people remained and were eventually evicted by the federal agencies. In the days to come the federal government conceded and gave the natives the Alcatraz island to use as a cultural center.

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