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Interior Secretary Haaland To Visit Alcatraz, Commemorate Native American Occupation

SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) -- More than half a century after Native American activists famously occupied San Francisco's Alcatraz Island, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland will visit the island on Saturday to discuss recent strides made between indigenous communities and the federal government.

In her remarks, set to start at 9:30 a.m., Haaland will highlight recent investments to strengthen tribal communities, replace aging infrastructure, and to mitigate the effects of climate change.

Haaland's visit comes just days after President Joe Biden sat down with leaders from 574 federal recognized tribes for the White House Tribal Nations Summit.

Haaland's visit marks the 52nd anniversary of the occupation of Alcatraz Island.

Occupation Of Alcatraz
A sign reading 'Indians Welcome' to 'Indian Land' during the Occupation of Alcatraz protest on Alcatraz Island, San Francisco, December 1969. A group of Native Americans and their supporters occupied the island and demanded the return of unoccupied federal land to the tribes who once lived there. (Photo by Soloman Kargin/Pix/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

On Nov. 20, 1969, dozens of Indigenous activists occupied the island, demanding that the federal government establish a cultural center and a university on the island for Native Americans. The occupation lasted for more than a year and a half, ending on June 11, 1971.

Haaland, a member of the Laguna Pueblo tribe from New Mexico, is the first Native American to serve as a U.S. cabinet secretary.

On Friday, Haaland formally declared "squaw" a derogatory term and said she is taking steps to remove it from federal government use and to replace other derogatory place names.

© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Bay City News Service and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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