November 1, 2002

The Independent Television Service ( and PBS ( debut the comprehensive companion Web site to the documentary ALCATRAZ IS NOT AN ISLAND

In 1969, a small group of Native American students claimed Alcatraz

Island. Thousands of Native Americans eventually joined them, retaking Indian land for the first time since the 1880s. ALCATRAZ IS NOT AN ISLAND is the story of how this historic event altered U.S. government Indian policy and programs, and how it forever changed the way Native Americans viewed themselves, their culture and their sovereign rights. The documentary is set to broadcast on PBS on November 7 at 10:00 p.m. (check local listings at

Web site highlights include:

Reclaiming Native Land

Discover how a group of Indian activists fought to take over Alcatraz, and how the federal government’s termination and assimilation policies propelled native solidarity and activism. Through videos and text, hear the inside story of two attempted takeovers of Alcatraz in 1964 and 1969 and the eventual occupation of the island from Indians who participated, and how it has shaped their lives.

Alcatraz Island

Learn the complex history of Alcatraz and its relationship with the

Native Americans over the past hundred years. Trace the history of the island from a Native place of ostracism, to a prison created by the U.S. Army where many Hopi Indians were incarcerated, to a maximum-security penitentiary in the mid-1950s until 1963.

Indian Activism

Understand how Alcatraz became a catalyst for new Indian activism in the 20th century. Use the Indian activism timeline to explore the important civil and human rights victories that followed the island takeover.

Contemporary Indian Art Gallery

Explore dynamic images of contemporary Indian art and learn how these works and others impact social, political, cultural and personal change.


Check out books, articles, Web sites and films on Native American history, the occupation of Alcatraz and Indian activism today.

For Educators

Lesson plans and teacher’s guides are available for incorporating Alcatraz into coursework in middle school, high school and college classrooms.


Get involved in a discussion on the impact and historical implications of the Native American occupation of Alcatraz.

Contact: Jodi Epstein

ITVS 415-356-8383 x225