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Alcatraz: Indigenous Peoples' Thanksgiving Sunrise Gathering

There are no regular tours to Alcatraz Island on Thanksgiving, but those willing to face the early hour and a chilly ferry ride can observe a special event.

The Indigenous Peoples' Thanksgiving Sunrise Gathering will take place around a bonfire on the Alcatraz parade grounds. Sponsored by the International Indian Treaty Council, the event is an opportunity to give "thanks for lives, our peoples and ways of life and the gifts we continue to receive from our sacred Mother Earth." The gathering also honors tribal elders with speakers and traditional and "fancy" dancing taking place against the backdrop of the San Francisco skyline at sunrise.  

The gathering also commemorates the 1969-1971 occupation of then-vacant Alcatraz Island by representatives of many different Indian tribes.

The event can be reached only from Pier 33 in San Francisco, with departures every 15 minutes from 4:45 a.m. to 6 a.m. All participants must return to the pier, with the last ferry leaving Alcatraz at 8:45 a.m., when the island is closed to visitors.

Info: Tickets are $14 per person (children under 5 are free) and may be purchased online from Alcatraz Cruises, by phone at (415) 981-7625 or at the ticket booth at Pier 33 Alcatraz Landing. The ticket booth will open at 4 a.m. For more information, call (415) 641-4482, Ext. 14.

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