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A Journey to Freedom: The Life of Richard Oakes, 1942-1972


Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1928/13002

A Journey to Freedom: The Life of Richard Oakes, 1942-1972

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dc.contributor.author Blansett, Kent
dc.date.accessioned 2011-08-19T20:45:25Z
dc.date.issued 2011-08-19
dc.date.submitted May 2011
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/1928/13002
dc.description.abstract “A Journey to Freedom: The Life of Richard Oakes 1942-1972,” is the story of Indigenous leader and activist Richard Oakes, and focuses on the climax of the national movement toward Native self-determination and freedom. “A Journey to Freedom” investigates the intersections of place, space, identity, and socio/political coalitions within the Red Power movement. Oakes’ leadership was influential in the Alcatraz (1969) and Fort Lawton (1970) takeovers, as well as Pit River’s resistance to PG&E Corporation’s illegal land use. Each successive takeover pushed for land rights, treaty rights, and the development of ecological centers that forged links between reservation and urban spaces. Oakes’ political activism also influenced other organizations such as the Black Panthers, Brown Berets, Atzlan, and the national environmental movement. The assassination of Richard Oakes led to the Trail of Broken Treaties march on Washington D.C. and ultimately resulted in the passage of federal self-determination legislation. I use two theoretical models to construct an “alternative” twentieth-century history: what I define as “Intertribalism” and the advent of an “Indian City.” While the term “Pan-Indian” implies the Ethnic-American destruction of Tribal identity, Intertribalism emphasizes the study of coalitions between Tribes. Native history, within this context, is transnational history. Intertribalism, I argue, emerged as a central force of American Indian Nationalism. Intertribalism is also connected to Indian Cities. Unlike traditional ethnic neighborhoods, these cities were comprised of institutions (Indian Centers, Indian bars, health centers, businesses, churches, and a host of others) that politicized a highly migrant and dispersed urban population. “A Journey to Freedom” is the first urban comparative study to examine the construct of Indian Cities within New York, San Francisco, and Seattle. Oakes’ unique life provides an alternative narrative to previous scholarship that placed the American Indian Movement as the lone icon of Red Power. My dissertation counters this representation by emphasizing the multiple roles of community, ideology, identity, and nationalism. “A Journey to Freedom,” moves beyond an examination of contemporary Native leadership, and exposes the deep and diverse foundations of the larger Red Power movement that informs contemporary definitions of Native politics and sovereignty. en_US
dc.language.iso en_US en_US
dc.subject Red Power en_US
dc.subject Alcatraz en_US
dc.subject San Francisco en_US
dc.subject Seattle en_US
dc.subject New York en_US
dc.subject Akwesasne en_US
dc.subject Urban Indian en_US
dc.subject Native Nationalism en_US
dc.subject Intertribalism en_US
dc.subject Richard Oakes en_US
dc.subject Fort Lawton en_US
dc.subject Pit River en_US
dc.subject Indians of All Tribes en_US
dc.subject.lcsh Oakes, Richard, 1942-1972
dc.subject.lcsh Mohawk Indians--Biography
dc.subject.lcsh American Indian Movement--History
dc.subject.lcsh Alcatraz Island (Calif.)--History--Indian Occupation, 1969-1971
dc.title A Journey to Freedom: The Life of Richard Oakes, 1942-1972 en_US
dc.type Dissertation en_US
dc.description.degree Doctor of Philosophy en_US
dc.description.level Doctoral en_US
dc.description.department University of New Mexico. Dept. of History en_US
dc.description.advisor Connell-Szasz, Margaret
dc.description.committee-member Connell-Szasz, Margaret
dc.description.committee-member Hutton, Paul
dc.description.committee-member Cahill, Cathleen
dc.description.committee-member Farber, David
emb.embargo.terms 2017-05-14
emb.embargo.lift 2017-05-14

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