The Ohlone elders we work closely with, Ann Marie Sayers and Tony Cerda, and a growing number of supporters, want an ongoing Ohlone cultural presence in the city. We envision a cultural center where ceremonies, classes, a museum, library, and environmental restoration can gain support. The Ohlone want to be able to host tribes from the Bay Area, California, and indigenous visitors from around the world.
The SF Arts Commission has a mandate to establish a Native American Cultural Center, similar to the African American, Latino, Asian, Bay View, South of Market, and Queer cultural Centers (http://www.sfartscommission.org/CAE/category/cultural-centers/about-cultural-centers/).
In 1969 San Francisco supported the Indians of All Tribes occupation of Alcatraz Island for 19 months. That disobedient occupation changed US history. It ended the official policy of Native American genocide. Since then tribal enrollments have increased all across the country. Even the Ohlone have increased their numbers and renewed their practices. We are at a historical moment where we could regain an ongoing Ohlone presence.
The most important thing is to honor the original occupancy and that it was never given away, or traded. That truth is as real as the land we are standing on. It’s a foundational of our culture. In the presence of the Ohlone, we have to shift and become more honest. We would gain so much.
We are proud to partner with Arc Ecology who is helping the tribe by writing a report and a plan we will submit to the city this summer. We will be posting the plan here meet with people all year through the Ohlone events and the Planning Department stimulated events through out the year.
We note with joy that Seattle has recently supported the Duwamish to open a cultural center, though they are also not federally recognized. Here are a few links to articles about the long house and the tribe’s home page: Ceremonial Opening of Duwamish long House in Seattle, 2009