A Journey to Freedom Richard Oakes, Alcatraz, and the Red Power Movement Kent Blansett

The Henry Roe Cloud Series on American Indians and Modernity
Publication date:
13 Nov 2018
Yale University Press
408 pages: 235 x 156mm
50 b-w illus.

A revealing portrait of Richard Oakes, the brilliant, charismatic Native American leader who was instrumental in the takeovers of Alcatraz, Fort Lawton, and Pit River and whose assassination in 1972 galvanized the Trail of Broken Treaties march on Washington, DC. The life of this pivotal Akwesasne Mohawk activist is explored in an important new biography based on extensive archival research and key interviews with activists and family members.

Historian Kent Blansett offers a transformative and new perspective on the Red Power movement of the turbulent 1960s and the dynamic figure who helped to organize and champion it, telling the full story of Oakes’s life, his fight for Native American self-determination, and his tragic, untimely death. This invaluable history chronicles the mid-twentieth century rise of Intertribalism, Indian Cities, and a national political awakening that continues to shape Indigenous politics and activism to this day.

Kent Blansett, a Cherokee, Creek, Choctaw, Shawnee and Potawatomi descendant, is assistant professor of history and Native American studies at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.