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Stephen Shames : Alcatraz is Not an Island


I went to Alcatraz with my friend and fellow photographer Alan Copeland soon after Indians of All Tribes claimed the island. I became friends with Richard Oakes. And the three of us produced a book, “Alcatraz is Not an Island” with our photos and Richard Oakes’ text. The book was never published perhaps because Richard’s essay seemed too radical for east coast book editors.

This photo essay contains photographs I took in 1969 on Alcatraz plus images from the Kashia Band of Pomo Indians (Annie Oakes tribe) in northern California; the Ateyapi (fatherhood) Program in Rapid City, South Dakota; the Navajo tribe in Torreon, New Mexico; and the Crow Pow Wow near Billings, Montana. I hope these positive images provide context.

Stephen Shames

The series was exhibited on November 23 in San Francisco for the 50th Anniversary of the Occupation of Alcatraz by the Indians of All Tribes.



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