LaNada War Jack, 1969 TWLF Student Striker


Dr. LaNada War Jack is an activist, scholar, writer, and mother of four. She is a member of the Shoshone-Bannock tribe and has served as a leader in the fight for Native American rights, resistance, and representation for over fifty years. Not only was she the first Native American to attend UC Berkeley, but she also became one of the first Indigenous persons to earn a Ph.D. War Jack's unwavering commitment to social and racial justice was evident in her initiative to recruit Native American students to UC Berkeley. She further demonstrated her commitment by uniting with other communities of color, an initiative that culminated in the formation of the Third World Liberation Front (TWLF) at UC Berkeley. War Jack promoted values such as humility, willingness to learn, and unity in building coalitions and pushing for Native American rights. 

During the 1969 TWLF strike, War Jack was elected as the Chair of the Native American Student Association. LaNada and 150 other students were arrested for their participation in the strike. Thanks to the unyielding leadership and negotiation skills of La Nada and other TWLF student leaders, they successfully championed the establishment of the Department of Ethnic Studies and its programs, including the Native American Studies Program, among others, at UC Berkeley. Her relentless drive to promote inclusion and preserve the rich legacy of underrepresented populations has fundamentally reshaped the academic landscape throughout the U.S. These changes have resulted in numerous students and researchers acknowledging the importance of viewpoints and narratives from communities of color (War Jack, 2019).

After the TWLF strike, War Jack was also a leader in the nineteen-month occupation of Alcatraz in 1969, The occupation attracted hundreds of Native Americans across the U.S. and ultimately led to President Nixon rescinding Indian termination policies, including the Indian Relocation Act. Further, it resulted in the creation of a series of bills establishing a new policy of self-determination and ending government-sanctioned assimilation of Native Americans.  The occupation set the stage for a contemporary Land Back movement, contributing to the rematriation of millions of acres of land to Native American tribes. 

After completing her undergraduate degree at UC Berkeley, War Jack enrolled at the Antioch School of Law in Washington D.C. After completing law school, she returned to her reservation and successfully ran for a position on the Shoshone-Bannock Tribal Council in 1976, where she served for two years. As an author, she recently published “Native Resistance: An Intergenerational Fight for Survival and Life,” a deep exploration of  Indigenous resistance and perseverance throughout history. War Jack embodies her commitment to racial and social justice, education, and Native American rights, serving as an inspirational leader for others who are fighting for justice in their communities. War Jack’s accomplishments underscore her strength, determination, and advocacy for self-determination and agency for Indigenous peoples.