See also the Thanksgiving Indigenous People’s Sunrise Gathering in November.
Alcatraz Indigenous People’s Day October Sunrise Gathering
Date: October 9, 2023 (For tickets see link below — they go on sale a few weeks before the event)
Departure: Alcatraz Pier 33 Ferry Terminal
Insiders Tip: The ticket office opens at 4:00 AM the day of the ceremony. Tickets for this event sell out many years. If you plan to get up super early and go, we recommend buying tickets well in advance to avoid being disappointed. They sell fewer tickets to this event than to a standard day’s activities on Alcatraz.
Each year on the morning of Alcatraz Indigenous People’s Day (which is an alternative celebration on historical Columbus Day) Alcatraz is closed for the day for regular visitors, but at 5:00, 5:15 and 5:30 AM ferry service brings people to the island to celebrate the Indigenous People’s Sunrise Gathering. After the event the ferries run from Pier 33 until the last sailing at 8:45 AM, when all visitors must leave Alcatraz.
Tickets cost $12 per person and are free for kids under 5. Masks are required for all visitors.
The box office opens at 4:00 AM that morning, and buy early to avoid the (highly probable) risk of the event selling out. If it does sell out only a very small number of tickets will be available the morning of the ceremony.
The event honors the occupation of Alcatraz by Indians of All Tribes in 1969-71, which focused attention on discrimination, land rights and living conditions of Indians in the United States on a day dedicated to celebrating the arrival of Europeans.
For some Native Americans, Alcatraz Indigenous People’s Day has special spiritual significance as a celebration of their personal relationship with nature.
The event is open to anyone who wants to come. The video below is from the 2010 version of the event.