“Until the Ohlone are recognized in San Francisco, we will remain invisible.” -Anne Marie Sayers, Ohlone Indian
It is with this strong sentiment in mind that the Ohlone Profiles Project was founded. The goal of the Ohlone Profiles Project is to bring awareness to Ohlone leaders and organizations, and to honor Indigenous peoples in accordance with the “Indigenous Protocol,” a protocal that asserts respecting indigenous inhabitants before conquest. The formation of this project was the first in a series of undertakings to bring visibility and awareness to the existence, presence and cultural traditions of the Ohlone people.
Most people believe the Ohlone no longer exist. Very few realize that there are nine Ohlone organizations applying for tribal recognition, several with more than five hundred members. Almost no one in San Francisco knows that the largest living Ohlone tribe, with 2,000 members, began a migration from San Francisco’s Mission Dolores in 1834 and now lives in Pomona California. The tribe supports a thriving Ohlone cultural life including a song and dance group, and weekly sweat lodge healing ceremonies.
The project began by sponsoring Ohlone community meetings, art exhibits, radio broadcasts, and film screenings, and by documenting these events. The documents are presented on this web-site as profiles of Ohlone leaders and organizations, so that anyone can gain knowledge of the ongoing presence of San Francisco and the Bay Area’s original people.
The Ohlone Profiles Project is co-Directed by Neil MacLean and Mary Jean Robertson. Neil MacLean taught Native American Studies at New College and has supported Ohlone events since 1992. Mary Jean Robertson hosts the Voices of Native Nations radio program on KPOO, 89.5 FM.
Over the last two years we have produced:
- three live, community based radio broadcasts
- a film projection and broadcast onto Coit Tower (including producing four short Ohlone themed videos for the projection: Marlo and Neil, Ben and Dave, Rupert and Anthony, and the full length PBS documentary: Alcatraz is not an Island.) We have photos and video and audio of this event.
- an opening ceremony at Heron’s Head Eco Center Classroom
- a sunrise ceremony at Yosemite Slough and testimony at SF Board of Supervisors
- opened the World Music Festival including being accompanied by over 100 musicians in an Ohlone medley.
- and marched with the Veteran’s for Peace and conducted an honor ceremony for veterans at the SF War Memorial, a site of particular importance in the context of history. (see photos)
We have recently joined with the Ethnic Dance Community in a stunning upsurge in attention and respect of Ohlone.