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September 27, 2011 > Gathering of the Ohlone Peoples

Gathering of the Ohlone Peoples

By Mauricio Segura

Many history lessons refer to the "new world." We tend to either forget or bypass the idea that the term is only really applicable from a European perspective. This "new" land was not born with the Mayflower landing at Plymouth Rock; Native Americans, members of the Wampanoag, were standing on the shore watching the entire landing take place. To them, this was hardly a new world.

We are amazed by ancient civilizations and mighty constructions they've left behind: The Great Wall of China, the Acropolis in Athens, the Roman Coliseum, and the majestic Egyptian Pyramids of Giza. But there are ancient settlements right in our own backyard - Newark and Emeryville - which date back to 4000 B.C. That is 2,000 years before the pyramids. Not quite a new world at all, is it?

For millennia, the Bay Area was home to the Ohlone Indians, also known as Costanoan. They inhabited areas along the coast from the San Francisco Bay Area to Salinas and Monterey. Up until 1769, when Spanish mission expansions had a devastating effect on their culture, Ohlone thrived by working on the land as well as hunting and fishing.

For the past 18 years, descendants of Ohlone tribes have come together in what has become known as "The Gathering of the Ohlone Peoples" at Coyote Hills Regional Park. This year it will be held on Sunday, October 2 from 10 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

This is a hands-on educational experience well worth attending. Tribe members will share their culture and history, telling stories handed down from previous generations. Song and dance will transport you to times when majestic creatures including grizzly bears roamed freely through the area we know as the Tri-Cities and bald eagles soared high above.

Attendees can also learn the ancient craft of basket weaving, jewelry making, and wilderness survival skills. Taste native plant teas, manzanita cider, and in the afternoon, acorn soup cooked with heated stones in a basket.

Plenty more will be showcased, so rest assured that this will be a day full of fun for the entire family.

Gathering of the Ohlone Peoples
Sunday, October 2
10 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Coyote Hills Regional Park
8000 Patterson Ranch Road, Fremont
(510) 544-3220
Free admission; $5 parking fee

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