Today's Google Doodle honors the life of activist Richard Oakes, on what would have been his 75th birthday. During much of the '60s and '70s, Oakes peacefully protested for the rights and independence of Native Americans.
The Doodle depicts Oakes in the foreground with the Pit River, the Akwesasne reservation, and Alcatraz Island — three significant locations in Oakes's life — behind him. Oakes was born in Akwesasne, a Mohawk Indian reservation that encompasses land in both New York and Canada. He went on to attend San Francisco State University, which is where, according to the Google Doodle blog, he came up with the idea to create one of the country's earliest Native American education programs.
But Oakes is probably best known for his leadership in the Alcatraz takeover and the Pit River resistance. In 1969, Oakes and dozens of young indigenous college students occupied Alcatraz Island for a period of 19 months. Their protest had two goals: To create a cultural community center and make the government recognize the Sioux Treaty of 1868, which gave Native American the power to claim unused federal land.
Oakes continued to fight for Native American rights. He joined the Pit River Tribe's effort to reclaim their territory from the Pacific Gas and Electric Company in 1970.
Oakes was assassinated in 1972, at the age of 30, but his efforts live on, bringing further national awareness to American Indians' fight for justice. Today's Doodle joins the slew of other civil rights illustrations that the tech company has debuted this year, including one remembering the life of activist Fred Korematsu.