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Think Indigenous: Richard Oakes & the Red Power Movement

March 25, 2019 @ 5:00 pm

10 Capen (The Buffalo Room), UB. Talk by historian Prof. Kent Blansett, Univ of Nebraska, Omaha.  As the University at Buffalo marks the anniversary of the Civil Rights Movement with exhibitions, installations, and programming centered on the theme “Revolution: Civil Rights at UB, 1960-1975 <http://www.buffalo.edu/inclusion/projects/civil-rights.html>,” the Indigenous Inclusion Subcommittee and the Haudenosaunee-Native American Research Group, with support from the Department of History, are pleased to welcome historian Kent Blansett to campus for a talk about the Red Power movement of this period and the important work of Akwesasne Mohawk activist Richard Oakes. Free and open to the public

Drawing from his recent book *A Journey to Freedom: Richard Oakes, Alcatraz, and the Red Power Movement* <https://yalebooks.yale.edu/book/9780300240412/journey-freedom> (Yale University Press, 2018), Professor Blansett will discuss Richard Oakes’s critical role in early years of Red Power activism in the 1960s & 1970s.

This presentation is particularly timely as 2019 marks the 50th Anniversary of the takeover of Alcatraz Island by the organization Indians of All Tribes. Oakes helped organize the highly publicized Alcatraz, Fort Lawton, and Pit River “takeovers.” His assassination in 1972 galvanized the Trail of Broken Treaties march on Washington, D.C., and unified a movement that eventually ushered in the era of self-determination in the mid-1970s.

Blansett’s presentation will explore the life of Akwesasne Mohawk activist Richard Oakes and illustrate how his actions reflected a unique voice of Indigenous leadership within the Red Power movement. Richard Oakes’s life also serves as a lens to highlight the development of Indian Cities in Brooklyn, San Francisco, and Seattle while exploring the intersections of Native Nationalism and Red Power in this dynamic era of American history.

*Speaker Bio:* Kent Blansett <https://www.unomaha.edu/college-of-arts-and-sciences/history/about-us/directory/faculty/kent-blansett.php> is Associate Professor of History at the University of Nebraska, Omaha. He is a descendant of five Tribes: Cherokee, Creek, Choctaw, Shawnee, and Potawatomi through his Blanket, Panther, and Smith family lines. He is proud of his Ozark Mountain heritage, having grown up in what he identifies as the “other four corners” area of Missouri, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Kansas. After he completed both his MA and Ph.D. in History with Distinction from the University of New Mexico, he taught for three years as an Assistant Professor of History for the University of Minnesota, Morris. Among his numerous awards are the prestigious Dorothy Woodward Dissertation Fellowship, Andrew W. Mellon Dissertation Fellowship, Newberry Library Fellowship, and the Katrin H. Lamon Residential Fellowship from the School for Advanced Research. Blansett’s first book, *A Journey to Freedom: Richard Oakes, Alcatraz, and the Red Power Movement* was published with Yale University Press in 2018 and appears in their Henry Roe Cloud Series on American Indians and Modernity. This is the first biography of Akwesasne Mohawk activist Richard Oakes, who played a major role in the famed 1969 Alcatraz Takeover by the organization Indians of All Tribes. For his book, Blansett collected research material from over twenty University and Tribal libraries from New York to California as well as numerous oral interviews with key Tribal leaders. His research has received wide publication appearing in several edited volumes, academic journals, and online with *BlogWest* and *Indian Country Today.*


March 25, 2019
5:00 pm