February 22, 2002 – Roberto Mendoza: “Marxism and Native American Sovereignty”

Friday, February 22 | 4-5:30pm | Oakes Mural Room 

Roberto Mendoza (Muscogee) is a former member of Students for Democratic Society (SDS) and the American Indian Movement. He was part of the Occupation of Alcatraz, and is the author of Look a Nation is Coming, and analysis of Marxism and Native American sovereignty struggles. He was also a leader of the Green Movement and the Bioregional movements of the 1980s. He’s currently producing his first film: The Eagle and the Condor.

Profile on Roberto Mendoza:

I was born in Oklahoma in 1943, in a small town where racism and poverty was a fact of life for most Muscogee (Creeks) at that time. I also was half “Mexican” or Chicano as we say now. That did not help my situation among either whites or Naitive people. I went to Haskell Indian School briefly when I was a teenager but finished high school in Kansas City, MO after I found my father there. I went to the University of Mosouri for a year and a half , got involved with SDS and with other Marxist and Socialist students just as the Civil Rights and anti-Vietnam war movement were arrriving in Missouri. I went to San Francisco intent on becoming a Beat writer. I endied up broke and joined the Navy instead, a racist instution if there ever was one. Then I went to New York City, again intent on writing, but learned filmmaking instead. With my girlfrinend at the time I went to San Francisco in 1969, right into the whirlwind of the hippie, antiwar, Chicano and Native movement. I was involved in the Alcatraz and Pit River Indian struggles and was co-chair of the San Francisco AIM chapter in 1972. Then I married a woman from a small reservation in Maine and spent years raising a family and working with AIM there. I wrote Look a Nation is Coming during this period. I also was a leader in the emerging Bioregional and Green movements of the 1980’s. Presently I live in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois where I am trying to produce my first feature length film, The Eagle and the Condor.

For more information, please contact Andy Smith, 831-460-1856 <andysm@cats.ucsc.edu>.