28/09/2022

Work Energy

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Little Story of Richard Oakes

2 min read
Richard Oakes Activist

Richard Oakes Activist is a Native American who is an activist for his people. He is a Mohawk activist who is educating at Curricula University and he is contributing to helping change government regulations about Native Americans and culture. Richard came from New York precisely at Akwesasne and he was born on May 22, 1942, and died on September 20, 1972, in California, United States. He and his fellow activists are famous for the Occupation of Alcatraz.

Life Journey

During his life journey, Richard Oakes began working at St. Lawrence Seaway dock area, but he stopped working at the age of 16 years after he was hired as a steelworker. This work made it on a big trip. While working in Rhode Island Bridges, he met his wife from Bristol, Rhode Island and was an Italian and British descent. They have a boy named Bryan Oakes who was born in June 1968. Richard then leaves his wife and child, divorces his wife and goes west. Arriving in San Francisco he began his studies at the University of San Francisco State. He also has a side job namely as a bartender and this work brings him into the local Native American community. Since Richard was in San Francisco, he also remarried a woman named Annie Marufo in 1969 and already had 5 children. In addition, in 1969 this too, Richard began to enter the process of the occupation of Alcatraz. With his school friends, he led the incident. From this incident, the name Richard Oakes is known to the world.

Occupation of Alcatraz

A group of Native American activists noticed the clause in the Fort Laramie 1868 Agreement between the United States government and Lakota people that stated that all federal land that had been retired, abandoned or not used technically was Indian land. From this belief, a group of activists launched the occupation of Alcatraz Island since retiring as a prison in 1963. This particular occupation was actually the second but lasted longer and gained more media presence than the first occupation in 1964 Demonstrators, including families with children, live quietly on the island until they are forced out with water and electricity cut off. Richard Oakes, a Mohawk student, and protester sent a message at the time to the San Francisco Department of Interior that read: ‘We invite the United States to recognize justice for our claims. The choice now lies with the leaders of the American government – to use violence against us as before to remove us from the land of our Great Spirit or to institutionalize real change in dealing with American Indians. We are not afraid of your threat to accuse us of crime on our land. We and all other oppressed people will welcome the spectacle of evidence before the world of your title with genocide. However, we seek peace. From November 20, 1969, to June 11, 1971, Alcatraz Island was forcibly occupied by 89 American Indians who called themselves ‘Indian of All Tribes,’ or IOAT.

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