Senator Diane Feinstein, Senator Alex Padilla, Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi (District 12), Congresswoman Barbara Lee (District 13), Congresswoman Jackie Speier (District 14), Congressman Eric Swalwell (District 15) Congressman Ro Khanna (District 17), Congresswoman Anna Eshoo (District 18), Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren (District 19)
RESTORE FEDERAL RECOGNITION
Back to the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe of the San Francisco Bay Region
I am writing this letter to the Senators and Congressmen/women above who represent the territories in which the ancestors of the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe have continuously occupied for over 10,000 years. The Muwekma Ohlone Tribe is comprised of all known surviving American Indian Lineages aboriginal to the San Francisco Bay Region. All their members trace their ethno-historic origins from the indigenous tribes of the SF Bay Region. The Muwekma Ohlone Tribe are a landless Tribe whose members continue to reside throughout the San Francisco Bay Region.
In 1906, Muwekma’s ancestors were identified and included in a census ordered by Congress of landless California Tribes. Being identified as a distinct Indian community on the 1906 census as well as being named “as Verona Band” in 1914, 1923, and again in 1927 on a list of Tribes to receive land by Congress effectively gave the Muwkma people “acknowledgment” (also known as “recognition”) as an American Indian Tribe (a sovereign Nation with the right of self-determination for its members). That right of sovereignty was promised in perpetuity to tribal nations and such government-to-government relationships can only be terminated by Congress.
Although the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) has conceded that Muwekma was “acknowledged” as a federally recognized tribe under the name “Verona Band” as late as 1927, and that their status was never terminated by Congress, they still had neglected to place their Tribe on the first official 1978 list of federally recognized tribes (a crucial Departmental error). Even when Muwekma presented clear evidence of their continued social/political community from the1700s to present day, the BIA purposefully misconstrued, incorrectly evaluated, or completely ignored their evidence when they evaluated their petition for federal acknowledgment and made a final determination not to extend recognition back to the Tribe.
Muwekma has spent 40 years struggling to clarify their federal status and the Department of Interior’s continued indifference and neglect (both historically and today) is a political form of the Department’s cultural and political genocide against the Muwekma people. These 100+ years of injustice could not have happened without the willingness of the people, and our institutions to stay silent. We will not be silent anymore!
The people demand Justice and I want you to know exactly what I believe you should do:
Congress MUST pass legislation restoring federal recognition to the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe of the San Francisco Bay Region and I want you (the representatives in the Tribe’s aboriginal territories) to write, sponsor and pass the “RESTORE MUWEKMA BILL”.
Number of People who have Signed the Petition