Work continues at the University of Oklahoma Press

In 1969, Ricahrd Oakes and Adam Fortunate Eagle, then known as Adam Nordwall, instigated an invasion of Alcatraz by American Indians. From the mainland, Fortunate Eagle orchestrated the events, but they assumed an uncontrollable life of their own. Fortunate Eagle provides an intimate memoir of the occupation and the events leading up to it. Accompanied by a variety of photographs capturing the people, places, and actions involved, Heart of the Rock brings these turbulent times vividly to life.

From the start, public support was strong. Money poured in from around the country. Sausalito sailors and their "navy" transported supplies and people to the island. San Fransisco restaurants sent Thanksgiving dinner. A school was started; chores and responsibilities were shared by everyone. Alcatraz became home, and American Indians of all tribes became a family.

But the occupation lasted two years, and Oakes, who had become it spokesman, left after his stepdaughter's death on the island. Memoranda from the White House recommended doing "anything" to turn the public against the occupation so it could be ended. Water and electricity were cut off, reports of conflict on the island began appearing in the press, and suspicious fires burned five buildings. Nevertheless, the occupation of Alcatraz remains what historian Vine Deloria, Jr. has called "perhaps the most significant Indian action since the Little Bighorn."


About The Author
Adam Fortunate Eagle is an Ojibwe artist, writer, and frequent guest lecturer. As an advocate for Native civil rights throughout his life, he was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from the State University of New York, New Paltz. He is the author of Heart of the Rock: The Indian Invasion of Alcatraz and Pipestone: My Life in an Indian Boarding School.

Vine Deloria, Jr., (1933–2005) was Professor of Political Science at the University of Arizona and the author of a number of books and articles on events affecting the lives of American Indians. He served as the Executive Director of the National Congress of American Indians and was an active spokesman and leader for the American Indian community throughout the nation.


Book Information
66 b&w illus.
232 Pages
Paperback 978-0-8061-3989-0
Hardcover 978-0-8061-3396-6
Kindle 978-0-8061-8700-6
e-pub 978-0-8061-8701-3
Published December 2014
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