Monday, October 11, 2010

A Note on the Beginning of Like a Hurricane

In the mid-1960's, everyone was fighting back; African Americans were fighting for civil rights, the a majority of the public was trying to subvert the Vietnam War, and women were fighting for their liberation. Indians were fighting, too, though it's a fight too few have documented, and even fewer remember.

Paul Smith and Robert Warrior, both came out with a bang when they started the book. The Indians, on boat, sneaking onto Alcatraz from all parts of the San Francisco bay. Indians from Sausalito landed on the east side while other coming from San Francisco landed on the other and so forth. It is interesting to see that the Indians did this in the middle of the night when no one could see them. It was if they were doing something illegal, which was not made clear if it was. They were going to the island on their own and I do not understand why they had to do it in the middle of the night.

It is interesting that all these Indians, wanted this land back, this small piece of land, literally in the middle of the bay. I understand that it was a place where the Indians used to live, and it was called Pelican Island, but it was still in the middle of the bay. It is also interesting how a lot of the Indians who came over, were college students and how they wanted to take action. There were 40 Indians that claimed the island on March 8, 1964. It did not take long after the closing of the prison for the Indians to try and claim it for themselves. What was the city thinking about using the island for after the prison closed? Unlike most other books written about American Indians, this book does not look to persuade readers that government polices were cruel and misguided.

Like a Hurricane was a gripping account of how for a brief, but brilliant, season Indians strategized to change the course and tone of American Indian-U.S. government interaction. Unwaveringly honest, it analyzes not only the period's successes but also its failures.


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