Native History Resources

Over the last few years, UCBHSSP has spent time learning about settler colonialism and the ongoing history and presence 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 the United States and more specifically California, which experienced three distinct phases of colonization - Spanish, Mexican, and American. As a theoretical framework, 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.

Grant, Sonia A. P. 2019. "Pervasive, yet Fractured": A Roundtable on Centering Indigenous Critiques and Teaching Settler Colonialism." Teaching Tools, Fieldsights, August 20. 

A transcribed conversation among college level instructors, which offers insights for K12 teachers.

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?

Settler Colonialism Overview

This excerpt from a Teen Vogue article could be used with secondary students.

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 and student facing questions.

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 History Curriculum Coalition, Sacramento State University

This website includes lesson plans, articles, and podcasts.

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 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, in particular, but could be used across grade levels.  

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. 

Protect Juristac Curriculum for Educators

These Amah-Mutsun authored lessons could be modified for your region.

Teaching Suggestions

Best Practices when Teaching about Native People

List of useful suggestions for teaching and discussing Native communities, today and in the past. Part of a map lesson on exploring Native perspectives.

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.

Curricular Models from Washington State

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

Native American Heritage Month Resources

A compilation of resources from a variety of federal institutions, including the National Archives and Smithsonian.

TIps for Teaching about Native Peoples, Burke Museum, Seattle, WA

Specific guidance around land acknowledgements and terminology.

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 incorporated into student lessons.

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.

Land Grab University

A website that shares the findings of an academic project that documents how land was taken from Indigenous people to form the basis of the public colleges and universities of the United States.