The efforts of three generations of Ohlone people, living in California and committed to keeping their native cultures alive and thriving, are documented through new photographic images and oral histories that illuminate their life experiences. The exhibition, Ohlone Elders and Youth Speak: Restoring a California Legacy, chronicling the on-going cultural revitalization process taking place within the Ohlone communities
Janet Clinger and Ruth Morgan documented the efforts of three generations of Native Americans in California committed to keeping their culture alive and thriving, in Ohlone Elders and Youth Speak. For fourteen thousand years the ancestors of contemporary Ohlone peoples served as caretakers of this beautiful region from San Francisco to Pt. Sur – but there are only a few culture-bearers today that carefully maintain and propagate these traditions and practices.
The conversations will be between Ohlone elders, current culture-bearers, and moderators talking about their journeys, participation in the Ohlone Elders and Youth Speak project, passing on their traditions to their youth, and where all of this fits in with current life and times.
Moderated by Charlene Eigen-Vasquez and Priya Das.
A Big Thank you to
Ruth Morgan Photography of Ohlone Community
Janet Clinger of Community Works West [Oral Histories ]
Ohlone Photographic Exhibition
The story is told through 22 stunning photographic portraits, representing multiple Ohlone generations, accompanied by excerpts from their oral histories. “I would love to see all the Ohlone descendants collectively come together and share the knowledge that we have with each other and partake in ceremony, and to do it in a good way so we truly do honor our ancestors.” Ann Marie Sayers, Mutsun Ohlone Tribal Chairperson, Indian Canyon Nation and Founder of Costanoan Indian Research, Inc.
“Perhaps the youth may come to the conclusion that if we want to make a difference, we will have to do so collectively.”Ann-Marie Sayers, Indian Canyon Nation
Today, the Ohlone live between two cultures that are often in opposition with one another. Challenges facing the 21st-century Ohlone include: protection of burial and other sacred sites; ensuring an accurate depiction of the history of California Native people; showcasing the significance of the arts and crafts revival; and creating a vision for the future for the Ohlone peoples. The active role of youth has been critical to this process. Kanyon Sayers-Roods, also of Indian Canyon Nation, also gives voice to the youth.
“I appreciate this chance I’ve been given: to realize I’m Ohlone, that I’m on the land where my great-great-grandparents survived, and to be who I am today. By honoring the past and continuing my education as well as always respecting my elders and learning from them, I can gain more knowledge and then be able to share that knowledge with our youth.”Kanyon CoyoteWoman Sayers-Roods, Mutsun-Ohlone
The Ohlone Elders and Youth Speak: Restoring a California Legacy project is produced by Costanoan Indian Research, Inc. and Community Works, with Ann Marie Sayers, Project Director; Ruth Morgan, Photographer; and Janet Clinger, Oral Historian.
- Coyote Hills Regional Park – Fremont [East Bay Regional Parks]
- 2014 Sept-Dec. SF library- Jewett Gallery opening and panel discussion
- 2015 June -Vallejo Naval and Historical Museum
- UC Berkeley
- DeAnza College— opening and panel discussion
- Saratoga Historical Foundation Museum – small show for kids (enlarged xerox copies)
- 2018 May – Nov – ROSENBERG LIBRARY – City College of San Francisco Ocean Campus
- California History Center.The CHC (of DeAnza College) produces a magazine called Californian that will feature the Charlene’s story from our e-book with photos. Part I and Part !! will be produced in their spring and fall magazines 2018.
Example of a Comprehensive Exhibition and Aligned Events Relating
Exhibition and Oral Histories – Ohlone Elders and Youth Speak: Restoring a California Legacy–Sept. 27 – Jan. 4, Main Library, Jewett Gallery. Opening Event – Ohlone Dance, Song and Panel Discussion – Oct. 12, 1 p.m., Main Library, Koret Auditorium. Hosted by Ann-Marie Sayers, the program features a panel discussion moderated by Melissa Nelson,the Director of The Cultural Conservancy, with panelists Tony Cerda, Corrina Gould, Vincent Medina, Kanyon Sayers-Roods and Linda Yamane. An Evening with Contemporary Ohlone Artists – Oct. 15, 6 p.m., Main Library, Latino/Hispanic Community Room. Join us for an evening exploring contemporary Ohlone art, paintings, drawings, multi-media expressions, and some surprises. Hosted by Kanyon Sayers-Rood; meet the artists and find out more about their unique perspectives. Native California Spoken Word – Nov. 20, 6 p.m.,Main Library, Koret Auditorium. Spoken Word is a medium for expression. Listen to song, poetry, stories, thoughts, and ideas in languages native to California, with no English translations needed.
The Land Issue ~
The Ohlone/Costanoan peoples express an overwhelming
need to acquire land to do ceremony and gatherings. The protection of sacred sites, including burial sites and village sites also is of paramount importance. They consider the reburial of the bones of their ancestors, long held by universities and museums, within the appropriate land areas, as an absolute necessary step in the historical reconciliation process.
Living in Two Worlds ~
Ohlone/Costanoan peoples confront a difficult
situation on a daily basis: living within two very polar cultures. As they do not live on reservations, but live and work within the dominant culture, while simultaneously practicing the dictates of their unique cultures, this often creates an emotional and/or philosophical tension for some as they try to maintain a balance between these two disparate ways of living in the world.
We believe this discussion will be lively as these issues raise many questions and problems, and the solutions will be easy. We also presume that elders and youth/young adults may see these issues/situations from a different perspective.
This discussion serves several purposes: namely to bring the issues and concerns squarely to the forefront both for Ohlone/Costanoan peoples and for the general public. Apparently many non-Native people are unaware that Ohlone/Costanoan peoples still live within their traditional homeland, and furthermore, are working actively on keeping their cultures vital in creative ways. The exhibit and panel discussion, as well as other concurrent events, will help to publicize the fact that the Ohlone/Costanoan peoples ARE STILL HERE and intend to play a significant role in the future of this region.
Facebook Post by Mosaic Silicon Valley
On Nov 12th, Gregg Castro will share about growing up in the shadows, not being & feeling encouraged to identify as Native; as this video-clip indicates. And therefore why and how restorative the honoring ceremony and project initiated by Ann-Marie Sayers, captured by Ruth Morgan and Janet Clinger was, years later. Join Charlene Eigen-Vasquez in conversation with them at our event: Register Free here: https://tinyurl.com/mosaichummingbird1
Presented by Mosaic Silicon Valley, in partnership with Confederation of Ohlone People, San José Museum of Art, and Montalvo Arts Center. Gregg Castro