On Sunday, November 27, 2022, we gathered at Máyyan Šáatošikma (aka Coyote Hills Regional Park, in Fremont) to witness the unveiling of the first of 35 trail markers, redesigned, and translated into Čočeño (Chochenyo).
Čočeño is the official language of the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe of the San Francisco Bay Area, once recognized as the Verona Band of Indians, and comprised of all of the known surviving American Indian lineages aboriginal to the San Francisco Bay region who trace their ancestry through the Missions Dolores, Santa Clara, and San Jose.
It was through the work of J.P. Harrington, and Ohlone Ancestor Jose Guzman, that the Čočeño language was preserved, and survived centuries of attempted erasure.
The renaming of these 35 trail markers–which account for all of the trail markers in the Coyote Hills Regional Park–are the culmination of decades of (continuing) partnership with the East Bay Regional Park District.
The Muwekma Ohlone Tribe of the San Francisco Bay Area is a bonafide tribe, with more than 600 enrolled members. Muwekma holds elections for their leaders, who are now Charlene Nijmeh (Chairwoman), Monica Arellano (Vice Chairwoman). Muwekma has a strong Tribal Council, made of elders and enrolled members; without whom the re-awakening of the Čočeño language, and traditions, such as almost-forgotten dances, would not be possible.
As supporters of Tribal Sovereignty, of Ohlone People’s struggle for recognition, for Land Back, and those who wish to Decolonize, and Rematriate The Land: Remember that Muwekma is a bonafide tribe–and not a corporation, like the Confederated Villages of the Lisjan “Nation”, INC.; or the Sogorea Te Land Trust.
The important distinction between these groups is that Muwekma has been here since time immemorial. That Muwekma can trace its lineage in the San Francisco Bay Area back to at least 7,000 years ago. That Muwekma accounts for hundreds of Ohlone People. That Muwekma holds regular elections, and–most importantly–Muwekma can back all their claims with extensive documentation, including pictures going back to at least the 1930’s.
Resources for Supporting the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe of the San Francisco Bay Area:
There are more ways to support Muwekma, at http://muwekma.org