San Francisco, Alcatraz Island, and nineteen Hopi leaders

San Francisco - Photograph by Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert

A few weeks ago I traveled with my family to San Francisco for my sister-in-law’s wedding. We stayed in a house that overlooked the San Francisco Bay. Below are other photographs that I took of that trip. The last photograph is of Alcatraz Island. When I took this photo, I was reminded of an important and difficult time in Hopi history.

In November 1894, Hopi leaders at Orayvi refused to accept U.S. government policies, including the forced removal of Hopi children to government-run schools. Consequently, officials arrested 19 of these leaders and shortly thereafter transferred the Hopi prisoners to Alcatraz Island.

Separated from their families and village community, they remained on the Island from January 1895 to September of the same year. Although I wrote briefly about this topic in Education beyond the Mesas, historian Wendy Holliday has written much more on the Hopi prisoners in a two-part essay entitled “Hopi History: The Story of the Alcatraz Prisoners.”

For those interested in learning more about the Hopi leaders who were imprisoned on Alcatraz Island, you can access both parts of this article by clicking on the following links:http://www.nps.gov/archive/alcatraz/tours/hopi/hopi-h1.htm and http://www.nps.gov/archive/alcatraz/tours/hopi/hopi-h2.htm

Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert

Sailboat on the San Francisco Bay - Photograph by Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert
Alcatraz Island - Photograph by Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert

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