HorŠe Tuuxi! Welcome to the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe of the San Francisco Bay Area. The present-day Muwekma Ohlone Tribe is comprised of all of the known surviving American Indian lineages aboriginal to the San Francisco Bay region who trace their ancestry through the Missions Dolores, Santa Clara, and San Jose; and who were also members of the historic Federally Recognized Verona Band of Alameda County. The aboriginal homeland of the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe includes the following counties: San Francisco, San Mateo, most of Santa Clara, Alameda, Contra Costa, and portions of Napa, Santa Cruz, Solano and San Joaquin. This large contiguous geographical area, which historically crosscuts aboriginal linguistic and tribal boundaries, fell under the sphere of influence of the aforementioned three missions between 1776 and 1836. The missionization policies deployed by the Catholic Church and militarily supported by the Hispanic Empire, brought many distantly related, and in some cases, already inter-married tribal groups together at the missions.
There is a widespread misconception that the Native American population of this country receives a large number of benefits that give them a privileged status. Nothing could be further from the truth. As U.S. Vice President Harris recently said, the history of the indigenous people of America, after the arrival of the European settlers, has been one of persecution, disease and destruction of their heritage and culture. In the last century, a feeling of guilt at the past has prompted some efforts to provide the Native Americans with some relief, but these efforts pale in comparison to the facts of history. Native Americans do not want special treatment -they want the pas to be acknowledged and to be given their rightful place in the America of today.
It depends on what you mean by the old ways. As a Native American, I can say that we, all the Tribes and Nations, are part of the modern United States and live a 21st-century lifestyle. That being said, we have great respect for our traditional beliefs and ways of life and try to incorporate these values into the modern life we live. A look at a Native American Tribe’s website will explain this better.
This is a question that has caused divisions for generations. The simple answer is that yes, land was stolen from the tribes. However, this may be too simplistic. The mindset of the European settlers was very different from what is acceptable and while many of them treated the natives with contempt, others thought that it was their duty to “civilize” them and force them to adopt European traditions, culture and values. These were the value systems and beliefs prevalent in those times. The Muwekma Ohlone Tribe is one of the oldest tribes in North America and while we have suffered by having our land stolen, we have integrated and are proud Americans.
The simple answer to this is “yes.” The European settlers who came to this country had no legal right to the land they occupied and claimed as their own. At the time of the colonization of North America, modern laws regarding property ownership did not exist and since might was right, the Native Tribes were driven from their traditional lands and homes and placed in small reservations where they lived for centuries. It is only in recent years that attempts started to be made to right the wrongs of the past, but returning the lands to the tribes will never happen because of the changed balance of the population.
With any culture, anywhere in the world, land plays a pivotal role in a people or nation’s identity, history, culture, and social integrity. The same is true of the Native American Tribes, who were the original inhabitants of the United States.