Tribal Groups of the San Francisco Bay Region (and How To Pick a Tribal Consultant)

Tribal Groups of the San Francisco Bay Region. Compiled and Plotted by Gabriel Duncan, for the Alameda Native History Project.

Tribal land claims are complex, and overlapping.

While one group may be the most vocal about claiming their ancestral land, rest assured, there are other groups who claim that exact same place.

This is especially true Today; when seeking out tribes for legally required consultation around Native American Graves and Cultural Resources (like Sacred Mountains, Shellmounds, and more.)

When seeking a Tribal Consultant for:

  • NAGPRA (Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act 1990),
  • Cal-NAGPRA [AB-978 2001],
  • AB-275 (Native American Cultural Preservation)

It’s totally appropriate to ask if someone is an enrolled member or a descendant of a tribe, and what makes them an expert.

Proving our Ancestry, or Blood Quantum, is a common challenge Native Americans face. It’s not right.

Blood Quantum is an ugly, racist concept. [A tribe is made of family. That’s how tribes work.]

But it’s how we separate the Rachel Dolezal’s from the Spike Lee’s, or Tina Turner’s. It’s how we separate those who belong from those who don’t.

“Who’s your grandmother?” Is one of the most common questions you get asked when you talk about the rez. We keep track of who is who. It’s not hard, because it’s such a small world. But, even if we aren’t close, we’re still native; and we still look out for each other.

It’s also appropriate to ask someone basic questions about their tribe, such as:

  1. What is the name of your tribe?
  2. Where is your tribe from?
  3. Who is your Tribal Chairperson?
  4. How often are Tribal Elections held?
  5. Are you enrolled in your tribe?
  6. What are the enrollment requirements? (e.g. Blood Quantum to enroll.)
  7. How many members are in your tribe?

Tribal Consultants are Affiliated with a Tribe

The Native American Heritage Commission is the agency in California which determines the proper Tribes To Consult.

Land Trusts, and Consulting Agencies are not real Tribal Consultants.

They’re corporations.

With over 100 Tribal Groups in the Bay Area: no one person or group can possible speak for us all.