Sign the "Restore the Homeland" Letter

Dear SF Bay Area,

Sign the "Restore the Homeland" Letter
of the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe of the San Francisco Bay Region

Muwekma is comprised of all known surviving American Indian Lineages aboriginal to the San Francisco Bay Region who trace their ethno-historic origins from the indigenous tribes who continuously occupied these lands for over 10,000 years. Upon arrival of the Spanish, in the late1700s, all Muwekma members were involuntarily confined at three Bay area missions (Missions San Jose, Santa Clara, and Dolores). After the secularization of the Missions in 1834, those who remained in former-Ohlone speaking territory coalesced into a distinct community living on two Indian rancherias in Pleasanton and Niles where they were able to revive indigenous cultural practices such as the sweat lodge and ceremonial dances.

Although California became a state in 1850, the only legal instrument the Federal Government had to take land from Indian tribes, and quiet their recognized aboriginal title to California, was through treaties. In 1850 Eighteen treaties were negotiated and approximately 8.5 million acres of land was to be set aside throughout the state to sustain and protect the Indians.

When the treaties arrived in Washington, DC, for senate ratification, the two newly elected California senators argued that the treaties should not be ratified, and the treaties were submerged in the secret archives of the US Senate until their rediscovery in 1905. As a result of that discovery, and the realization that California Indians never legally lost their lands due to the failure of the Senate to ratify those treaties, Charles E Kelsey was appointed in 1905 to conduct a Special Indian census of the needs of the landless and dying Indian bands of California.

In 1906, Kelsey identified and placed under his jurisdiction the surviving Missions San Jose, Santa Clara and San Francisco Indians. Being identified on the 1906 census and being named in 1914, 1923 and 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; as well as a promised homeland in which to settle.

Although the Tribe was on the list to receive land, an Indian Agent named Lafayette A. Dorrington (without the benefit of a site visit or need assessment) reported the Tribe was not in need of land and removed the Tribe from the list. Although this left the Muwekma community landless, they continued living close to one another, supporting each other, and protecting their sacred sites and ancestral homeland.

The Tech companies and other SF Bay Area companies who built enormous wealth on stolen Muwekma lands without having to worry about the displacement of the first inhabitants must now do the right thing. These 100+ years of injustice couldn’t have happened without the willingness of the people and our institutions to stay silent while benefitting from unceded stolen Muwekma lands. It's not enough to apologize for the pain and generational trauma that continues to affect the Muwekma people who are getting pushed out of their homeland due to the rising costs of living in the SF Bay Area.

It is time for SF bay area cities, and Big tech to return some of that stolen land and help build a Native community so the Muwekma Ohlone people can continue living in their 10,000-year-old aboriginal homeland.

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