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September 30, 2009 > Rendezvous with heritage of Ohlones

Rendezvous with heritage of Ohlones

By Meenu Gupta

This weekend descendents of the Ohlone people, who inhabited this area long before the arrival of Spanish Missionaries and those who followed, will gather to honor their heritage. The Ohlones will meet at Coyote Hills Regional Park to share songs, stories, dances and games of their ancestors. Activities will celebrate a proud history, culture and traditional skills. The area encompassed by East Bay Regional Park District, including Alameda and Contra Costa Counties, was home to 25 tribes of Native Americans who spoke variants of the Bay Miwok, Ohlone, and Northern Valley Yokuts languages. Over 2,000 years ago, the Ohlone and their ancestors established several villages in the area that is now Coyote Hills Regional Park.

At the gathering, Ohlone descendants will discuss contemporary cultural involvements, and demonstrate basket weaving techniques, use of soaproot brush, pine nut bead making, shell jewelry and dogbane string. "Dogbane is a type of plant Ohlone peoples used, and sometimes continue to use to make string. Fire making without matches will be another activity that people can try," said Event Coordinator Beverly Ortiz.

The Ohlones were primarily hunter-gatherers depending on the plentiful birds, shellfish, wild game like deer and elk, native plants, and fish. Visitors may walk to a 2,000 year-old village site, play an Ohlone game, or make a miniature Tule boat. Activities include tasting native plant teas, manzanita cider, and in the afternoon, acorn soup cooked with heated stones in a basket. "There will be frybread and Indian tacos for sale, as well as books and other materials for sale in our Visitor Center," said Ortiz.

Presentations throughout the day will feature music, song, and dance, tribal history; family history and cultural involvements." "Some other activities will be Ohlone Games, Ohlone plant foods tasting, Ohlone-style arrowhead making and a children's story circle," said Coyote Hills Senior Office Assistant, Amita Prasad.

"Anyone wishing to film, photograph, sketch or record any individual, group, activity or demonstration presented at this event should first have the permission of the person or group they wish to film, photograph, sketch or record. Commercial use of any such images must also have the approval of the East Bay Regional Park District", said Ortiz.

Gathering of Ohlone Peoples
Sunday, October 4
10 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Coyote Hills Regional Park
8000 Patterson Ranch Road, Fremont
(510) 544-3220

Admission to the event is free, parking is $5

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