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.

Introductions to 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 articles are the most accessible introductory readings that we have found.

Ohlone Websites

UCBHSSP Materials

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?

Indigenous People in California (K-2)

This lesson to introduces young learners to who is ancestral to the land they live on, and how to be a good guest.

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.

This Land is Native Land

This brief lesson centers discussion of land acknowledgements in the context of the Biden-Harris inauguration and the song "This Land is Your Land."

Settler Colonialism Overview

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

Curriculum and Teaching Resources

Beyond Recognition

A film that highlights the efforts of Ohlone women to reclaim their ancestral culture and land in the Bay Area.

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 Native Perspective on the Missions

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

Colós and Guzmán Families Storybook

Curriculum and resources developed by Peralta Hacienda Historical Park under the advisement of Ohlone educators.

Essential Understandings, National Musuem of the American Indian

Articulation of clear learning goals across ten domains.

Indigeous Populations in the Bay Area

Overview of the history of local tribal communities, and present day cultural revival and activism, compiled for the Bay Area Equity Index.

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 American Heritage Commission, State of California

Digtital maps, portals, and timelines that can be used to center lessons.

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

Amah-Mutsun authored lessons that 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 

"The Acorn: An Ohlone Love Story," Outside/In (podcast)

Collaboratively developed podcast episode with Vincent Medina, Muwekma Ohlone, and Louis Trevino, Rumsen Ohlone, the founders of Cafe Ohlone.

Berkeley's Ohlone History (recorded talk)

Talk by Corrina Gould, spokesperson of the Confederated Villages of Lisjan, as part of the Berkeley Origins speaker series.

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 people in the Bay Area. Includes historic photos and documents that could be used for instruction.

Corrina Gould, Presentation on Lisjan Ohlone

Part of the Diablo Valley Community College 2020 Equity Speaker Series.

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.

Native Networks and the Spread of the Ghost Dance

This new scholarship represents through mapping the communication networks across tribal communities in the late nineteenth century.