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September 28, 2010 > Gathering of the Ohlone Peoples

Gathering of the Ohlone Peoples

By Alissa Gwynn
Photos By Rob Yamane and Alan Dalton

On Sunday, October 3, Coyote Hills Regional Park will be hosting its annual Gathering of Ohlone Peoples to celebrate the history and cultures of native peoples. Beginning with a performance by Costanoan-Rumsen Carmel Tribe's Humaya Dancers at 10:15 a.m., the event will include a multitude of activities throughout the day, ranging from dances and native foods to stories and games.

"[This event] is one of the only events in the Bay Area that brings together descendants [of the Ohlone Peoples]...and lets them share [skills and customs] with anyone interested," says Nancy Krebs, Supervising Naturalist at Coyote Hills. The area currently encompassed by the East Bay Regional Park District (Alameda and Contra Costa Counties) was originally the homelands of 25 tribes of Native Peoples, including the Tuibun, which had several villages in the Coyote Hills region for over 2,000 years. Each tribe had three to five villages, and the people spoke variants of Ohlone (Costanoan), Bay Miwok, and Northern Valley Yokuts languages.

Last year, over 2,000 people flocked to the event to experience a bit of Ohlone culture. This year, the scheduled program includes: Flintnapping (sharpening obsidian by hitting it against another rock), an acorn soup cooking demonstration, a cultural history presentation, dogbane string making, most of which will be led by Ohlone descendants. Although some activities are not open to young children (e.g. flintnapping), the majority of activities planned are family friendly.

"It's important to me to carry our Ohlone traditions and history through the generations. My great-grandmother Trina Ruano and my grandmother Ruth Orta taught me always to be proud of who I was, and where I came from... It's crucial for me to teach my children, and other children in schools, about our history, so my ancestors will never be forgotten, and people will realize we're still here" says Sabrina Garibay, of Jalquin/Saclan Ohlone/Bay Miwok descent.

In addition to learning about the Ohlone peoples and watching various presentations and performances, attendees will have an opportunity to taste native plant teas and manzanita cider, make shell jewelry, attempt to create fire without a match, observe Ohlone basketry demonstrations, and make miniature tule boats.

This event is free of charge to the public, though there is a $5 parking fee at Coyote Hills. For lunch, visitors can choose to bring a picnic lunch or purchase fry bread and Indian tacos at a concession stand.

Gathering of Ohlone Peoples
Sunday, October 3
10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Coyote Hills Regional Park
8000 Patterson Ranch Road, Fremont
(510) 544-3220

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