DiscoverUnsung HistoryThe 1972 Occupation of the Bureau of Indian Affairs
The 1972 Occupation of the Bureau of Indian Affairs

The 1972 Occupation of the Bureau of Indian Affairs

Update: 2023-04-17
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While voters were casting their ballots in the 1972 presidential election, Native demonstrators had taken over the Bureau of Indian Affairs building in Washington, DC, barricading themselves in with office furniture and preparing to fight with makeshift weapons. The occupation marked the finale of a cross-country caravan, the Trail of Broken Treaties, and the activists were demanding the consideration of their Twenty-Point Position Paper, which called for a restoration of Indigenous rights and recognition of Native American sovereignty.

Joining me to help us understand the 1972 occupation and to discuss the larger story of native presence and activism in DC is Dr. Elizabeth Rule, author of Indigenous DC: Native Peoples and the Nation's Capital and Founder of the Guide to Indigenous Lands Project.

Our theme song is Frogs Legs Rag, composed by James Scott and performed by Kevin MacLeod, licensed under Creative Commons. The episode image is Hank Adams, in the fall of 1972, addressing the mission of the cross-country trip to Washington, D.C., from the Hank Adams Collection that was donated to the Washington Secretary of State and is included in: “Hank Adams: “An Uncommon Life.”


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The 1972 Occupation of the Bureau of Indian Affairs

The 1972 Occupation of the Bureau of Indian Affairs

Kelly Therese Pollock