It’s rude to question someone’s pedigree, generally.
But it’s a necessary challenge in Native America that every single one of us faces multiple times in our lives.
We want to know who someone is related to when they say they’re Paiute, or Karkin–’cause they’re probably related to us somehow, or we know some of the same people. It’s a small world. We keep track of our own, and each other’s blood quantum. Because it’s important.
But we also want to make sure that people aren’t coming in and faking. Collecting money for a cause, but really keeping it for themselves. Taking our benefits because the American Government did all these terrible things to us. (It’s a well established fact that the U.S. Government just said **** the treaties.)
Claiming Native American Heritage when you don’t have any, is like wearing a Purple Heart you didn’t earn. Just like with wearing a medal you didn’t give a piece of yourself in the defense of this country to earn; owning and displaying eagle feathers is super illegal if you’re not Native American.
But most of time there is no legitimate consequence for being a “fake indian”. There are so many cheap knock-off’s, and bad copies, I’m not surprised you can’t tell the difference.
For example: Elizabeth Warren is a classic caricature of the “cherokee princess” scenario. And, apparently Ward Churchill was our Rachel Dolezal before she ever decided to put on black face. But, you know what? There are a lot of fake shaman and medicine men out there, feeding the world this mainstream, kumbaya B.S. about the colors of the wind or something; and collecting your money for some sus ceremony with a raggy owl wing.
This is why we have a problem with Instragram Accounts like “NativeAmericanLovess”, or “NativeAmericanSpiritLoves”… They are fronts for stores that sell art that does nothing but fetishize real Native Americans; and make owning, wearing, and using our sacred ceremonial items a game.
These people are making money off of our likeness, our trauma, and our pain. They are making cheap knock-offs of our culture, and identity. And White America is just eating it up. Shelling out bills to go to “Hiawatha” ceremonies. Paying to play Indian.
And it’s the people who sell these images. The ones who say their grandma, six great-grandmas ago was Cherokee. Who went to one of those ceremonies, and smoked some tobacco with some other herbs out of a “peace pipe”, contacted their animal guide, and is now some kind of “ordained” “Native American Church” spiritual guru leader shaman chief medicine man.
These are the people we want to stay away from us. The people we don’t want to share our knowledge and beliefs with. Because, these people, will appropriate it all, and try to find a way to make money off it.
This might be an explanation of why we don’t want to talk about this stuff under the White Gaze. Because it’s “Indian Stuff”. But we can’t stand interlopers. This is why pedigree is important.
But just because the person who made the argument is invalid, the argument itself is not necessarily invalid.
As much as we hate to admit it, these people who made us look like fools also contributed greatly to their respective causes. And the organizations they were associated with ultimately survived the scandal. But neither Ward Churchill, nor Rachel Dolezal were who they said they were.
And it wasn’t until years after they started their charades, that they were finally exposed. Up until then, people had been too afraid to ask, to timid to confront, past attempts had failed. It’s much easier to attack the person making the argument, than the argument itself.
And people honestly want to believe the lie. It’s better than admitting to themselves they’ve been lied to this whole time. Better not to risk being wrong. Not be rude, or mean. Or look racist.
But, let me be clear:
Pedigree is necessary for Tribal Enrollment, and to receive State, and Federal Benefits. It’s a racist system, based in eugenics. It’s even more distasteful than it sounds, when you are subjected to it. [Yes, I have been subjected to this same test. Same level of scrutiny that every other person who claims to be Native American is subjected to.]
We are turned into “subjects”.
Equated with Hermann J. Muller’s radioactive flies.
Maybe that’s too obscure….
But it’s normal for us to ask each other who our grandmothers are, and how much Indian we are. It’s a standard test.
So don’t act shook that I took the time to look into Corrina Gould’s genealogy. Maybe the “White Gaze” is afraid to ask. But, after Ward Churchill, and Rachel Dolezal…. And the discovery of Corrina Gould’s 1997 conviction for fraud…. I think it’s important to ask.
Who are these people?
Flora Freda Munoz, and Jose Guzman are two very well-known and important family members associated with the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe, and the Verona Band Proxy–which is the historical name for this group of inter-related Native American people, who used to live in the Alisal Rancheria (near the Verona train station, Pleasanton area), Niles, San Leandro… It’s a specific list because the BIA documents–mentioned below–stick to Indian Censuses, including one of a place called “Indian Town”, near pleasanton, in the late 1920’s. Researchers think this may be the Alisal Rancheria.
Much of the information about the Muwekma Family Tree that I gathered was pieced together from the Proposed Finding, and Final Determination Upon The Criterion re: Federal Recognition of the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe, in 2011.
However, I later found the public Galvan Stenstrom Family Tree on Ancestry.com, and found that to be the most authoritative reference to the descendants of the Verona Band. Even so, I still compared it with the information in the BIA documents, as you will see later.
The public Galvan Stenstrom Family Tree is massive. It has hundreds of individuals; was created, and contributed to by Muwekma Family members, as well as the Ancestry.com people… Who are based in Utah, by the way. It’s really amazing the amount of research that went into the families comprising the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe. It’s truly crowd-sourced.
To research Corrina Gould, I used Public Records, Newspapers, various statements and interviews of Corrina Gould, and litany of databases at Ancestry.com. I also found the “Gould Family Tree”. (More about that later.) In all cases, I began searching for the individual first, and didn’t discover or access the family trees until I wanted to check/challenge my work.
Corrina Gould, “On the Record”
In 2014, Corrina Gould contributed an autobiographical oral history to “Ohlone Elders & Youth Speak: Restoring a California Legacy”. In her contribution, Gould revealed her grandmother was “Flora Munoz”, and that her great grandfather was “Jose Guzman”.
In 2015, in an interview regarding the canonization of Junipero Serra, Gould volunteered an explanation of how she was related to Andrew Galvan:
Oddly, it seems that Corrina Gould hasn’t mentioned her own mother by name. So, that was where I started.
I was able to find the Gould Family Tree, on Ancestry.com, after I had failed at finding any links to Flora Munoz or Jose Guzman in numerous Public Records searches.
But I was able to find Gould’s late husband, Paul Gould Jr., and her late brother, Anthony Tucker. (Both died in the first half of 2021.) And her children, and children’s families. So, from public records, I was able to find Corrina Gould, her immediate family and brothers. I was not able to find any ancestry information.
However, the information I found in public records helped me verify the Gould Family Tree, to a certain extent. On Ancestry.com, living people are masked. So the living descendants of Fred Edward Tucker, Paul Gould Sr., and Jesse L. Aceves were mostly hidden.
There were hints, though. Like links to individuals who weren’t masked, who were already known. It didn’t take too much time to verify that I was looking at the family trees of Corrina Gould, and her, and her mother’s, first husbands.
Don’t worry. I made charts.
So, I found the Gould Family tree (excerpt above). But I also found it critically lacking in verifiable information. The birth and death date for “John Munoz” and “Victoria Marin” do not appear, for instance. [And John Munoz’s death date?! That says six years before Corrina’s mother was even born! WTFITS?!]…
Flora Munoz–Corrina’s grandmother–isn’t refered to as “Flora Freda Munoz”, which is the true name of the Muwekma Family Member, who was the daughter of Victoria Marine.
This is not an attempt at being facetious. Middle names matter. Try going to a bank with a court order to access your grandma’s safe deposit box, and being turned away because the judge didn’t include her middle name.
It also matters because, on its face, the birth and death dates are already different. There’s a divergence between what Corrina Gould has said about her ancestry, and what bears out in the facts and evidence.
Genealogy Logic Bomb
This is where I started getting confused. There were at least two logic-bombs here; and I didn’t want to be misled by something that was probably put together really quickly, with the intention to correct later.
I made a timeline of Joanne Guzman’s life, according to her daughter, Corrina Gould; so I could address one of Corrina Gould’s other claims, that Joanne Guzman had been taken to Chemawa Indian School.
According to the established timeline of the Muwekma Tribe/Verona Band, the children of Flora Freda Munoz, and John “Jack” Guzman–John Jr. and Rayna–were sent to boarding school, twice. The first time in 1928, when Flora was sick. And the second was from 1944-1947 at the Chemawa Indian Highschool, when Corrina Gould’s mom, Joanne Guzman, was only 4.
This means–according to this Ancestry.com thing: Corrina’s Uncle, John, would have been 8 in 1944. And her aunt, Rayna, would have been 6. None of Corrina Gould’s mom’s siblings were highschool age in the years between 1944, and 1947, when the Muwekma Family member John Guzman Jr., was determined to be 5/8 indian, and allowed to enroll in Chemawa–with his sister, Rayna, following a year later.
Although, a typographical error in the 1940 US Census marks Joanne Guzman as “2” or “0”, the Birth Certificate for “Joan” Guzman, dated Jan-7-1940 helps add clarity; when the Father and Mother’s names are taken into full account.
It wasn’t until I pulled the hard copies of both Corrina (Tucker) Gould, and Joanne Guzman’s birth certificates, that I was really able to illustrate the differences between the two families.
Once that was done, I pulled together all of the dates, and sources, and put them back into another chart, so I could compare the information side-by-side.
From this comparison, it appears that these are two different family trees. And, while the names of Joanne Guzman’s family, match those of Flora Freda Munoz, and John Guzman’s: they are not the same.
But let’s look closer at Joan Guzman’s birth certificate:
|Guzman, Joan (Birth Certificate)||Official Muwekma Records|
|Mother: 22 (1918)||Flora Freda Munoz: 1917|
|Father: 37 (1903)||John Paul “Jack” Guzman: 1902|
After reviewing this information, and comparing it to the Ancestry.com “Gould Family Tree”, it looks like the Gould Family tree is super wrong… But Joanne Guzman might really be the unknown daughter of the Jose Guzman and Flora Freda Munoz!
There is still the issue of the Guzman Family in the 1940 US Census…
Before we solve this… I need to remind you that John Guzman Jr., and Rayna Guzman were both “Highschool Age” (13 or 14), in 1944, and 1945 respectively–when they were sent to Chemawa Indian School, which was a highschool since 1927.
This means John Guzman Jr. was born sometime around 1931/32; Rayna Guzman around 1933/34.
Or, just counting back four years from 1944, John Guzman Jr. would be about 10, making Rayna about 9.
|Official Muwekma||1940 US Census|
|John Guzman||36||1902 (38)||37|
|Flora Munoz||22||1917 (23)||23|
|John Guzman Jr.||null||||4|
No official Muwekma Documents mention Joanne Guzman.
So, First Actions On:
- Downgrade “Gould Family Tree” to “Unreliable”. (Even though the birth info for Joanne Guzman was legit.)
- Marvel at how similar these two families really are (in name only.)
- Note the age differences between the ages of Flora Freda Munoz’ family, and Flora Munoz’ family.
- Joanne Guzman is still not listed in any official Muwekma Records.
- Joanne Guzman is found in the 1940 U.S. Census, in a family bearing almost the exact same names as Flora Fred Munoz’ family.
- Decide whether it’s more likely that Corrina Gould’s mother is the long lost daughter of John Paul “Jack” Guzman, and Flora Freda Munoz; or the exact match Joanne Guzman, born in 1940, to a family with principally the same names as the aforementioned.
Given the age differences between Joanne’s siblings, to the established ages of John Guzman Jr., and Rayna Guzman in 1944, it seems unlikely that Corrina Gould’s mother–Joanne Guzman–is related to Flora Freda Munoz, or John Paul “Jack” Guzman.
This would also suggest Corrina Gould is not related to Andrew Galvan.