Of All Tribes: American Indians and Alcatraz

Abrams. Sept. 2023. 256p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781419757198.
Gr 5 Up–Prolific author Bruchac presents the history and legacy of the 1960s Indian occupations of Alcatraz Island. Bruchac dedicates the first half of the narrative to the history of the island and vignettes of Native Americans who were imprisoned there or played major roles in its occupations. This history also touches on residential schools, colonization, and the Indian Removal Act. The second half of the book explores Alcatraz’s occupations, with its primary focus being the 19-month Indians of All Tribes occupation in 1969 and 1970. The occupation’s legacy is complex, and this section explores Alcatraz as a Native American “pilgrimage site”; the work of Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard Nixon in regards to American Indians; many Native activists, including Richard Oakes and John Trudell; and sexism, erasure, and cultural appropriation of Native American culture by white people. Forty pages of back matter—including an extensive time line, references, and substantial index, and the contemporary and historical images included throughout—round out this densely packed, textbook-style presentation. Readers should expect a bit of jostling in the narrative’s chronology and occasional conjecture, but the overall result is an illumination of what “turned out to be one of the most consequential events for Native Americans in the twentieth century.”
VERDICT Ideal for classroom use, this title provides an essential and frequently omitted voice to recent history.

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