A Search for Native Roots Surrounded by Native People

In the Ohlone land of the SF Bay Area, I look for Eastern Woodland ancestors.

Aikya Param
Jun 27, 2020 · 7 min read
Host Southern Drum Red Buffalo at Vallejo Powwow. Daily Republic.

Indian Relocation Act lures many native people to the Bay Area.

In the San Francisco Bay Area, there are many native people and cultures. In the latter half of the 20th century, in partial implementation of the Indian Relocation Act, the federal government relocated many different tribes to the Bay Area. They promised but did not deliver training, housing, and jobs. Now the area is home for the largest group of intertribal Indians in the U.S. That means the group has people from different tribes or nations, rather than just one,

Meeting people and enjoying powwows.

I attended the Vallejo powwow for the first time in the mid-1990’s. I went alone. Nobody goes to a powwow alone, except for other elders and me. Groups travel together in vans, erect canopies for shade, bring chairs, water, food to share, and regalia for those who will dance. Choctaw people had a booth there for their language classes. I signed up and attended the Choctaw language class in Vallejo for several years. I first heard about the Emeryville shell mound, an Ohlone burial site, when I attended those language classes. We were invited to attend the protests against building stores and condominiums on top of that sacred site.

Choctaw Lace Collar necklace. Choctaw Culture, Heritage and Traditions, www.oklachahta.org

Defending sacred sites in Emeryville and Berkeley.

Not far from a popular food store I frequent in Emeryville is the largest American Indian shell mound. U.C. Berkeley archaeologist N.C. Nelson mapped 400 shell mounds along the San Francisco Bay at the beginning of the 20th century. Five or six remains. The Ohlone people used them for burial grounds since the Ice Age.

Shell Mound Memorial, Bay Street, Emeryville. The E’eville Eye, January 15, 2014

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Aikya Param

Written by

Aikya Param is a licensed minister, a visual artist, and writer.

Middle-Pause

Helping you to create an oasis in the middle of your crisis of managing work, family, relationships, parenting, menopause, and caregiving.

Aikya Param

Written by

Aikya Param is a licensed minister, a visual artist, and writer.

Middle-Pause

Helping you to create an oasis in the middle of your crisis of managing work, family, relationships, parenting, menopause, and caregiving.

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