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June 22, 2010 > A legacy rekindled

A legacy rekindled

The Native-American museum shifts from Irvington to the Adult School

By Rajeswari Ramanathan
Photos By Rajeswari Ramanathan

The Native American legacy has always been a reminder of California's history. Fifteen years ago, a group of Native Americans decided to assure its place as part of Fremont's history. Native American artifacts were transferred to Irvington High School from Linda Vista School, a Native-American based school in Fremont.

One of the major coordinators of this move, Tammy Lopez, said, "The purpose of this museum is to bring the community together along with the non-native members to learn about the native-American culture and understand that it is more than living in tepees and wearing feathered hats."

"When Linda Vista was closing down the museum there, former Superintendant Sharon Jones worked, along with Irvington officials to move the museum into Room 102 at Irvington," said Pete Murchison, principal of Irvington High School. "Special Education was not fully using the room, so we decided to utilize it with the Native American museum."

The program was also initiated at Irvington so U.S. History students could learn more about Native Americans though an interactive museum. Murchison, at the time a Vice-Principal, is actually part Native-American by heritage, so it was also a personal choice to bring the Native-American program to Irvington.

Over the years, the room hosted public tours, tutoring and culture classes for the public. Lopez said that the program was successful, bringing in students from elementary schools and visitors from the general public as well. Once every month, Native-Americans of the community held a meeting at the room. Its success over the years has made it an icon of Irvington.

Due to increasing attendance at Irvington High School, Murchison decided to move the Native-American museum to the Fremont Adult School. Both schools agreed and with the budget cuts, space was not an issue at the adult school. The current plan is to transfer the museum by July 15.

"There are two options of what will happen to Room 102. It will either become a staff facility or a classroom. We hope to have a completed room by the next school year for the teachers," said Murchison.

There are several advantages to relocation of the museum. Lopez said that she is trying to get the museum education to be part of the history curriculum, and give more exposure and access for the public.

The shift from Irvington to the Adult School is expected to occur on July 10, when the Native-American community will be at the Adult School, holding a Tepee Ceremony. They will also conduct a Sunrise Ceremony open for the public which will include Native-American stories, arts and activities.

Lopez said, "We hope that this shift will give more insight and appreciation for the Native-American community and display all our accomplishments."

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