“We feel that this island is the only bargaining power that we have with the Federal Government… We are going to maintain our occupation until the island, which is rightfully ours, is formally granted to us. Otherwise they will forget us, the way they always have, but we will not be forgotten.” 
In 1969, a group of 79 Native Americans sailed to the Island of Alcatraz to stage an occupation drawing attention to the injustices of their treatment.  One of the biggest injustices the Native American protested was that they did not want their students leaving college “coming out white-oriented.”  The occupation of the island lasted a total of 19 months and nine days. The occupation experienced tumultuous obstacles including the lack of electricity, fire outbreaks, and a leadership crisis. When asked about the success of the occupations, Adam Fortunate Eagle a participant in the occupation, stands by his part of the protest saying, “ [it] served its purchase. Look at the gains Indians have made.” 
In contrast to the victory for Native American rights that Alcatraz brought during the 1960s, Sherman Alexie writes a semi-autobiographical account of his experiences growing up on a reservation in Washington State in the 1970s and 80s. Alexie’s portrayal of growing up Indian is in stark contrast to the proclaimed victory by previous generations, especially in terms of education. In one scene Alexie realizes that he is assigned the same geometry textbook as his mother while at school on his reservation. This realization, “hits [his] heart with the force of a nuclear bomb. [His] hopes and dreams floated up in a mushroom cloud.” 
Alexie determines that in order to have any hopes of escaping the perpetual cycles or reservation life and poverty he must attain education at a primarily white school. As an outsider Alexie struggles to fit in and succeed in his new school, as well as wrestle with the hostility coming from his own tribe for leaving the reservation. Many of those living on the reservation saw Alexie’s decision to transfer to a largely white school as an act of betrayal. “Some Indians think you become white if you try to make your life better, if you become successful.” 
The contrast between these two examples of Native American views on education is an interesting examination. One, views the submission and acceptance of white culture in education as an injustice. Something to be avoided at all costs. The other, looks towards a white education as a chance for opportunity and hope.
These experiences are within fifteen years of one another. Why do you believe there is such a stark contrast in their opinions and viewpoints on the issue of education?
 “Planning Grant Proposal to Develop an All-Indian University and Cultural Complex on Indian Land, Alcatraz,” in Great Documents in American Indian History, edited by Wayne Moquin (Da Capo, 1995), 379.
 “Alcatraz is not an Island,” PBS, accessed April 10, 2014, http://www.pbs.org/itvs/alcatrazisnotanisland/occupation.html
 “Planning Grant Proposal to develop an All-Indian University and Cultural Complex on Indian Land, Alcatraz, 377.
 “Alcatraz is not an Island.”
 Sheman Alexie, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian (New York: Little, Brown and Company), 31.
 Alexie, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian, 131.
Image: “Group of Omaha boys in cadet uniforms, Carlisle Indian School, Pennsylvania, 1880.” http://www.nebraskastudies.org/0700/frameset_reset.html?http://www.nebraskastudies.org/0700/stories/0701_0144.html