Native History Resources

Over the last few years, staff at UCBHSSP have spent time learning about settler colonialism and the ongoing history of Ohlone people in the Bay Area. These resources have been compiled and developed as a result of this period of study. We hope they serve as a useful launching place for educators who are working to center Native history and culture through their instruction and to reinforce for students that we live and work on unceded Ohlone land.

Settler Colonial Frameworks

Settler colonialism is a useful framework for making sense of the history of California, and the United States, more broadly. As a theory, it positions the relationship of Native people to the United States government as an ongoing system of power, rather than as a series of past events. These three articles are the most accessible introductory readings that we have found.

Ohlone Websites

UCBHSSP Materials

Land Acknowledgement

Native American Student Development recognizes that UC Berkeley sits on the territory of xučyun (Huichin), the ancestral and unceded land of the Chochenyo speaking Ohlone people, the successors of the sovereign Verona Band of Alameda County. 

Suggestions for Teaching Ohlone History and Culture across Grade Levels

How can we make a curricular commitment to grounding each year’s history-social science instruction in our understanding of the history and culture of Ohlone people?

Draft Unit Map for Use in 3rd or 4th Grade

This unit map could be the basis for centering Ohlone history with students. The included sources, prepared for student use, will need to be supplemented with additional materials.

Curriculum and Teaching Resources

A Brief Historical Overview of a Previously Federally Recognized Tribe,” Muwekma Ohlone Tribe of the San Francisco Bay Area.

An Ohlone authored narrative, which includes primary source images.

California Indian Pre-Contact Tribal Map, Sacramento State Ed.D. Program

A useful map of the state of California, noting the ancestral caretakers of the land prior to European colonization.

California Native Perspective on the Missions

Useful video that center's the voices of California Indians, including Vincent Medina, a Muwekma Ohlone tribal member.

Ohlone Youth Summit, Tule Boat Voyages, East Bay Regional Parks (video)

A video chronicling contemporary Ohlone youth as they are reintroduced to ancestral cultural practices.

Beverly R. Ortiz, Ohlone Curriculum with Bay Miwok Content and Introduction to the Delta Yokuts (East Bay Regional Parks: 2015).

These Ohlone-authored lessons are useful for third and fourth grade students.

Native Peoples of the East Bay: Past and Present (East Bay Regional Parks).

This resource includes useful maps for looking at the settlement of the East Bay over time. 

Teaching Suggestions

California Indian History Curriculum Coalition, Sacramento State University

This website includes lesson plans, articles, and podcasts.

Curricular Models from Washington State

Useful models and frameworks for developing lessons on Native history in California. Includes guidance for partnering with tribal representatives.

Vincent Medina, “The Truth Shall Set Us Free,” News from Native California, Winter 2014/2015.

This article includes useful tips for teaching Native History, suggestions for teaching about the Spanish period of colonization, and examples of Native resistance and individuals of significance. 

Beverly Ortiz and Gregg Castro, “America’s Byways and Native Americans,” Journal for American Byways, October 2011.

This resource provides recommendations for teaching Native History as well as building relationships with Native communities.

What’s Wrong with this Diorama?” New York Times, 20 March 2019.

Explanation of how the Museum of Natural History in New York City installed new interpretive signs to foster critical engagement with their exhibits on Native history and culture.

Background Knowledge 

Les Field, Alan Leventhal, Dolores Sanchez, and Rosemary Cambra, "A Contemporary Ohlone Tribal Revitalization Movement: A Perspective from the Muwekma/Costanoan Indians of the San Francisco Bay Area," California History (Fall 1992).

An Ohlone co-authored history of Native history and people in the Bay Area. Includes historic photos and documents that could be used for instruction.

Malcolm Margolin, The Ohlone Way: Indian Life in the San Francisco-Monterey Bay Area (1997).

This book (for purchase) describes Native life in the Bay Area prior to the arrival of Europeans.

Randall Milliken, Laurence H. Schoup, and Beverly R. Ortiz, “ Ohlone/Costanoan Indians of the SF Peninsula and their Neighbors, Yesterday and Today,” National Park Service (2009).

This extensive study reinforces for adult learners the specific consequences of the three periods of colonization in California - Spanish, Mexican, and American -  and provides useful excerpts from primary sources that could be used with students.

How do we heal? Toppling the Myth of Junipero Serra,” KQED, 7 July 2020.

Critical explanation of the historical significance of Junipero Serra and concrete strategies for renaming and landmarking.