April 2, 1970. Re-occupation of Fort Lawton

American Indian Movement activists join with local Seattle-area Native activists and members of "Indians of All Tribes" to storm the east gate at Fort Lawton, an active U.S. Army Reserve base in northwest Seattle, and re-enter the post. April 2 is the same date scheduled for the preliminary hearings of the Indian activists who attempted to repossess Fort Lawton on March 8 and March 15. Fifteen more American Indian activists are arrested and held for arraignment, including activists from the earlier repossession of Alcatraz Island. Charges against the group are later dismissed. Through the continuous efforts of the Indians of All Tribes, Fort Lawton is awarded to American Indians in 1971 as an Indian cultural center. Today, Bernie Whitebear, director of the Daybreak Star Cultural Center at Fort Lawton, attributes much of their success to the occupation of Alcatraz Island. In 1990 Whitebear states, “Alcatraz was very much a catalyst to our occupation here. We saw what could be achieved there, and if it had not been for their determination effort at Alcatraz, there would have been no movement here. We would like to think that Alcatraz lives on in part through Fort Lawton.” Ross Harden, one of the original occupiers of Alcatraz Island, says that the Lawton occupiers came from the different groups occupying Alcatraz Island.

More information about this action can be found at the United Indians of All Tribes Foundation website.