Essay about Enrique Lugo Alcatraz

Submitted By enrique44
Words: 852
Pages: 4

Enrique Lugo
Dr. Postell
English 1101
November 23, 2014

Alcatraz On August 5, 1775, Spanish Lieutenant, Juan Manuel de Ayala, discovered a small island and named it La Isla de los Alcatraces, meaning Island of the Pelicans. At that time the island was not significant, just a small island with a lot of pelicans on it. No one would have imagined what it would become the following centuries. Since its discovery, Alcatraz, has had many uses, but three have stood out the most; the first one is when it was used as a prison, then as a Native American refuge, and now as a tourist attraction. Perhaps the most known use for the Island of Alcatraz is the military prison. Alcatraz did not start off as a Federal penitentiary. It started off as a small prison during the Civil War, where those arrested for treason would stay. Even though they had to add living headquarters for the inmates, it was not what it would eventually become. It would later become the “Pacific Branch, U.S. Military Prison, Alcatraz Island”. It served as an army disciplinary barrack where the prisoners would spend the day working, learning, and receiving military training. In 1934 that all changed when the island was acquired by the Federal Bureau of Prisons. “This “prison system’s prison” was specifically designed to house the most horrendous prisoners, the troublemakers that other federal prisons could not successfully detain. Its isolated location made it ideal for the exile of hardened criminals, and a strict daily routine taught inmates to follow prison rule and regulation”. (Mahaney) The prisoners had four rights, which were medical attention, food, shelter, and clothing. They were basically living like cavemen in the 20th century. After 29 years of operating, the first maximum security civilian penitentiary in America’s history, was closed due to its expensive operating cost. A couple of years after the prison was closed a small group of Sioux tried to “overtake” the island and claim it to be theirs. They used the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868 as a base of their actions because it states that “any land abandoned by the federal government can be reclaimed by the Sioux people”. Even though they were removed just hours after their act by Federal Marshals, they proved to be an inspiration for a bigger group of Native Americans to attempt the same thing five years later. Around 100 Native American college students were the ones to have a second go at it. Although only 14 of those 100 actually made it to the island, they were still able to read the Proclamation to the Great White Father (November 1969) which stated “We will purchase Alcatraz Island for twenty-four dollars in glass beads and red cloth, a precedent set down by the white man's purchase of a similar island about 300 years ago”. The following day they were guided off the island by Federal Authorities. This stunt set the stage for the biggest and final occupation of Alcatraz. It started with 80 Native Americans from 20 different tribes and soon was supported by the hippies who joined the Native Americans and some Caucasians. “This hippie infiltration was accompanied by drugs and alcohol being imported to the island which led to a certain amount of disorganization and violence among the resident factions that had