Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Richard Oakes Hero or Publicity Seeker? in Like a Hurricane

Richard Oakes the "ringleader" of the occupation of Alcatraz went
through great obstacles to gain attention to the cause of Indian
power. Although it's foreboding on page five which reads, "(Richard
Oakes) would be their representative, and through him - in theory -
they would speak in a single, unified, and defiant voice." It becomes
apparent throughout the text that this type of language used by the
authors Smith and Warrior are foreshadowing future events on the
island of Alcatraz. The life of Richard Oakes and his beginnings in
northern New York as a Mohawk express a thread of togetherness among
the Indian movement.

Oakes personal accounts of Native Americans did not match up to what
he was reading about them. Instead of love and friendship for fellow
men, Indians were constantly bickering and drinking. The authors
show us the origins of Oakes belief in a more universal message of
Indian revival and power in the United States. The belief in a
community center for Indians on Alcatraz Island was a crazy yet
ingenious idea that ended up unifying Indians throughout the nation,
but as the authors point out the occupiers turned on the leader

Oakes' bold move to jump out of the boat and to swim the frigid
waters to the shore of Alcatraz seemed to not be thought out, but it
was an idiotic yet brilliant move to start the occupation. The line,
"He was tired of doing things only for publicity," was intriguing
because it seemed the whole occupation could be construed as a
publicity stunt orchestrated by Oakes. All in all Oakes is seen as a
hero to Indians in chapter one in Like A Hurricane.


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