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September 26, 2006 > Gathering of Ohlone Peoples

Gathering of Ohlone Peoples

by Pushpa Warrier

History will come alive at the Coyote Hills Regional Park this Sunday as Ohlone descendants share a rich legacy of family and tribal lifestyle through music, song, dance and stories. "Gathering of Ohlone Peoples is an event that celebrates the history and culture of people who have been living in the Coyote Hills for over 2000 years," said Paul Ferreira, supervising naturalist at Coyote Hills.

While a century of development activities has caused the destruction of most Bay Area village sites, one that survived mostly intact is currently available for public visitation on a scheduled basis at Coyote Hills Regional Park. The Tuibun Ohlone lived at this site for more than 2000 years.

"Being Indian means re-strengthening family ties that have been loosened by the demands of the modern world, the bonds of family now secured with cordage string. My daughter and I learned from our elders as they take our hands and place them in the earth, digging up soaproot and finding much more," says Desra Halka, Ohlone descendant.

The community is invited to walk to the fenced village site only open to the public during special events. From this site, one can look back and see the Coyote Hills, which was a virtual island surrounded by tule ponds. Contemporary cultural involvements will be discussed and basket, jewelry including beads for necklaces, soap root brush and dogbane string making, will be demonstrated.

"I love everything about my culture-the music, songs, regalia, values, and so much more, but I'm especially passionate about basketry.  Sometimes, with everything that pulls at us in the modern world, it's hard to find the time to pick up my basket, but once it's in my hands, I don't want to stop weaving," says Carol Bachmann, Mutsun Ohlone.

Play an Ohlone game called "Hoop & Pole" where a five-foot pole is tossed through a three-inch hole. When the Ohlones played, the first person to score three points was the winner. An enlarged hoop will be used on the day of the event to give visitors a sporting chance. Experience the thrill of making fire without matches and enjoy making a miniature tule boat. Treat your taste buds to the fine taste of native plant teas, Manzanita cider made by crushing berries of the Manzanita bush and filtering water though it, seed cake, also known as "pinole" which uses 70 different types of plant seeds, acorn cookies and acorn soup cooked with heated stones in a basket.

13th Annual Gathering of Ohlone Peoples
Sunday, Oct. 1
10:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Coyote Hills Regional Park
8000 Patterson Ranch Road, Fremont
The event is free. Parking is $5 per vehicle.

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