Making Space for Resistance: Past, Present, Future
2019 marks the 50th Anniversary of the Alcatraz Island Occupation, an act of Indigenous resistance compelling justice and recognition of tribal self-determination and sovereignty. American Indians from across the nation seized the former federal prison for 19 months to recharge American Indian rights and spotlight the broken promises made by the United States to Indian Tribes.
Various political movements were burgeoning nationwide to advance Indian rights through forms of spatial resistance. The act of occupying Alcatraz highlighted a demand for the federal government to honor unfulfilled treaties that guaranteed lands, waters, resources, education, housing, and health care to American Indian peoples in exchange for the cessation of millions of acres that formed the United States.
Architecture was fundamental to envisioning a brighter future for American Indians and catalyzing a cognizant American society. On December 23rd, 1969, in negotiations with the United States, the Indians of All Tribes Conference on Alcatraz Island presented a plan to design and build spaces for Indigenous resistance, redressing centuries of cultural repression.
Although the Occupation helped to solidify an official U.S. policy of tribal self-determination and prompted increased focus and resources to American Indians, the plan to construct a gathering place for all tribal nations on Alcatraz Island was never fulfilled.
Making Space for Resistance highlights past, present and future visions of Indigenous space connected to objectives expressed during the Occupation of Alcatraz Island in 1969.
The Indigenous Scholars of Architecture, Planning and Design acknowledges the Making Space for Resistance: Past, Present, Future exhibition is situated upon traditional indigenous land. The spatial territories include those of the Quinnipiac, Paugussett, and other Algonquin speaking peoples.
Exhibition Design and Creative Direction
Indigenous Scholars of Architecture, Planning and Design (ISAPD) at Yale
Summer Sutton (PhD Student ‘21)
Anjelica Gallegos (MArch I ’21)
Charelle Brown (BA Urban Studies ‘20)
Exhibited Architects and Designers
Chris Cornelius, Kenny Glass, Douglas Miles, Joe Big Mountain, Adrian Standing Elk Pinnecoose, Mariah Quincy, Charlene and Frank Reano, Charlotte and Percy Reano, Santiago X
This exhibition was made possible by an award from the Yale School of Architecture, North Gallery and the support of:
Deborah Berke, Dean, Yale School of Architecture,
Andrew Brenner, Director of Exhibitions
Alison K. Walsh, Exhibitions Administrator
George Miles, Curator, Western Americana Collection, Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library
We appreciate all the creative hands who have contributed to our vision of this Indigenous space. We especially want to thank the Indigenous matriarchs who have taught us to be resilient, be ourselves, and to be a voice for those lesser represented.
The following have provided exhibition support during the construction and installation process:
Andrew Brenner, Alison Walsh, Victoria Sutton, Mary Gallegos, Naysan Adlparvar, Kayley Estoesta, Ives Brown, Shikha Thakali, Adriana Colón-Adorno, and the forests surrounding New Haven.
Monetary donations provided by:
Yale Center for the Study of Race, Indigeneity, and Transnational Migration
Yale Group for the Study of Native America (YGSNA)
Yale School of Architecture, North Gallery
Rob and Brie Sherwin
and the generous support of Anonymous donors
Total Budget: $2,500