Before AIM, Indians were dispirited, defeated, and culturally dissolving. People were ashamed to be Indian. You didn't see the young people wearing braids or chokers or ribbon shirts in those days. Hell, I didn't wear 'em. People didn't Sun Dance, they didn't Sweat, they were losing their languages. Then there was that spark at Alcatraz, and we took off. Man, we took a ride across this country. We put Indians and Indian rights smack dab in the middle of the public consciousness for the first time since the so-called Indian wars.
I went to visit Alcatraz years ago when I was on tour with the Pistols, and I really liked the atmosphere of the place. I genuinely, really, thoroughly enjoyed the whole morning there. I just liked the quietness and stillness of what is basically a cruel prison complex. I still found some kind of joy in that. That's how I am.
I have long argued that we need to reopen Alcatraz to house government criminals, and let tourists on excursion boats in San Francisco Bay pay to chum the water with meat with an expired sell-by date that would otherwise have to be discarded.