It’s Native American Heritage Month and it wouldn’t be fair to celebrate it without also acknowledging some of the darker moments in Indigenous American history.
54 years ago today, the Indians of All Tribes started their occupation of Alcatraz. Everardo Reyes, a Ph.D. student in ethnomusicology at Berkeley explores the importance of music and radio during this political protest.
On Nov. 20, 1969, a group of Indigenous Americans that called itself Indians of All Tribes, many of whom were UC Berkeley students, took boats in the early morning hours to Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay. They bypassed a Coast Guard blockade and took control of the island. The 19-month occupation that followed would be regarded as one of the greatest acts of political resistance in American Indian history.
Everardo Reyes is a Ph.D. student in ethnomusicology at Berkeley. After taking several classes with John-Carlos Perea, who last year was a visiting associate professor in Berkeley’s Department of Music, Reyes was inspired to research how radio and music were used during the Alcatraz takeover to capture mass attention and amplify the Red Power movement.
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