Sunday, September 1, 2013

Decolonize the Land!

Having prior sovereignty, the indigenous nations of the San Pablo Bay area have co-existed with the dominant settler societies for over 200 years. "Independence" of a Nation is the basis for the various treaties enacted between indigenous nations and the various Federal, State, and other government agencies. Sovereignty is not based on a treaty, but is based on an existence prior to the settlement of Roman-style law of contract.
A treaty is a contract between government entities, and, in the case of prior sovereignty, the Muwekma is not party to a Contractual agreement with the government agencies of the dominant settler society. 
The Northbay MDS recognizes the facts and settles the question of co-existence with our sovereign neighbors by engaging the People with education and campaigns of solidarity, alongside the "Dawnstar  Indigenous Nations Committee" of the "Solano Peace, Justice & Freedom Coalition".
Demand Sovereignty for Captive Nations! [link]

During 2011, nearly all Northbay MDS members came out for solidarity and encampment at the Occupation of Sogorea Te, the sacred gathering land of the Muwekma Karkin tribe, near what today is known as Glen Cove within the City of Vallejo.

American Indian Movement – Sogorea Te * Glen Cove” buttons, made by “Graphics Communication International Union (GCIU)” []

Previously to participating in the Northbay MDS, members had organized for solidarity with the prior sovereingty of the Muwekma Yelamu tribe over the San Francisco Presidio

Return Presidio to the Muwekma Ohlone Nation” button, made by “UFCW – Local 174 (AFL-CIO)” in Brawley, CA 92227
The Presidio closed as a military base in 1994 and is a favorite of recreational visitors. Photo: Tom Fox

Letters to the editor of the San Francisco Chronicle, published Oct. 18, 2013 []:
"Preserving Presidio Hill" letter by Shuqiao Cheng of San Francisco -
Thank you for the article about the restoration and remembrance on Presidio Hill ("Land in flux," Oct.16).
The article reminds me the importance of taking action to preserve both natural and historical resources in local San Francisco that we inherited form the past generations.
The restoration may seem costly in the short run, but it protects the local ecosystem and saves things that are worth remembering for the future generations.
Sharp Park in Pacifica is one of such places that are worth preserving. Since it's a natural habitat for two local endangered species (the California red-legged frog and the San Francisco garter snake), it could be another opportunity for us to devote ourselves to creating a more beautiful and sustainable homeland.
"Ecological design" letter by Ke Yang of San Francisco -
Great thanks to John King for the impressive article about Presidio Heights.
I have been to the Presidio several times. It is a beautiful place to go. There are native plants and wildlife. Good place to view the Golden Gate Bridge. Overall, I enjoy the experience to visit there as a foreigner.It makes me relate to another park, Sharp Park in Pacifica, where I visited last week. I think Sharp Park is also an ideal place to restore to a national park, which can attract more visitors to come to there. Just like what Michael Boland, chief planner for the Presidio Trust, said in the article - "designing the landscape, but doing it to an ecological end."

"The Muwekma Ohlone Tribe of the San Francisco Bay Area"
by Rosemary Cambra (Tribal Chair), Monica V. Arellano (Tribal Vice Chairwoman), Hank Alvarez (Tribal Councilman), Gloria E. Arellano (Tribal Councilwoman), Carolyn M. Sullivan (Tribal Councilwoman), Karl Thompson (Tribal Councilman), Concha Rodriguez (Tribal Councilwoman), and Alan Leventhal (Tribal Ethnohistorian), archived at []:
[begin extracted portion of the article]
The Muwekma Ohlone Tribe of the San Francisco Bay: Shattering the Myth that the Ohlones were Never Federally Recognized -
The Ohlone people have left a record of approximately 13,000 years of human history, and today they are still trying to overcome the onus of their sentence of "extinction" placed upon them by scholars, politicians, and anti-Indian activists, by continuing to educate the general public, academic institutions and the Federal Government through the historic record. After eight years of being in the petitioning process, and after the submittal of several thousand pages of historic and legal documentation, on May 24, 1996 the Bureau of Indian Affairs' Branch of Acknowledgment and Research (BAR) made a positive determination, but reluctantly acknowledged that: [begin excerpt] Based upon the documentation provided, and the BIA's background study on Federal acknowledgment in California between 1887 and 1933, we have concluded on a preliminary basis that the Pleasanton or Verona Band of Alameda County was previous acknowledged between 1914 and 1927. The band was among the groups, identified as bands, under the jurisdiction of the Indian agency at Sacramento, California. The agency dealt with the Verona Band as a group and identified it as a distinct social and political entity. [end excerpt]
Even after obtaining a positive determination of "previous unambiguous Federal recognition" the Muwekma still had to submit additional documentation in order to satisfy BAR, that the tribe minimally meet the seven mandatory criteria. Almost two years later, on March 26, 1998, as a result of submitting several more Exhibits, Division Chief of Tribal Operation, Deborah Maddox, issued a letter to the tribe stating that:
[begin excerpt] A review of the Muwekma submissions shows that there is sufficient evidence to review the petition on all seven of the mandatory criteria. The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) is placing the Muwekma petition on the ready for active consideration list as of March 26, 1998. [end excerpt]
After being placed on "Ready Status", the Muwekma Tribal Council, reviewed the Federal Registry and counted the number of tribes listed on both "Active Consideration" and "Ready Status". Muwekma was about the 24th tribe factoring in both lists. Based upon the calculation that BAR was processing tribal petitions at the now rapid rate of approximately 1.3 petitions per year, it became very clear that it would take BAR over 20 years before it would get to Muwekma’s documented petition. The Tribal Council also raised the question if there were any other tribes on either list with a determination of "previous unambiguous Federal recognition". The only other tribe with that determination was the Cowlitz Tribe of Washington State, which had already obtained a preliminary positive final determination for Acknowledgment. As a result the Muwekma Tribal Council decided that a wait of 20 or more years was not acceptable to the Tribe, and therefore, sought alternative remedies.
On December 8, 1999, the Muwekma Tribal Council and its legal consultants filed a law suit against the Interior Department/BIA — naming Secretary Bruce Babbitt and AS-IA Kevin Gover over the fact the Muwekma as a previously recognized should not have to wait another 20 or more years to complete their reaffirmation process.
On June 30, 2000, Federal District Judge Ricardo M. Urbina ruled in favor of the Muwekma Tribe and ordered the Interior Department to formulate a process to deal with the issues contained in Muwekma’s complaint (Civil Case No. 99-3261 RMU D.D.C.)
Between September to October 2000, following the court order, and after consultation with BAR staff, Muwekma submitted another two Exhibits which demonstrated how all of the currently enrolled members of the tribe are descended from full-blooded ancestors or siblings of ancestors listed on the Federal Indian Population Schedules of 1900 and 1910 for Washington, Murray and Pleasanton Townships, Alameda County, California and Kelsey’s 1905-1906 Special Indian Census.
As a result of the submittal of this documentation, on October 30, 2000, the Department of Interior’s, Branch of Acknowledgment and Research/Tribal Services Division of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, responding to the Court Order issued forward the following statements and conclusions:
[begin excerpt]
"Previously recognized tribal entity" -

Because of what is known from the historical context in this particular case, we are using the Indian population schedules of the 1900 and 1910 Federal Census of Alameda County, California, as evidence to approximate the composition of the group.
The petitioner has presented several analyses of its current membership as descendants of persons enumerated on (1) the Indian population schedules if the 1900 Federal Census of Alameda County, California, (2) the 1905-1906 "Kelsey Census" of non-reservation Indians of Alameda County, California, and (3) the sole Indian population schedule of the 1910 Federal Census of Alameda County, California. The petitioner’s documents and responses to prior TA letters include detailed person-by-person analyses of individuals on the Kelsey census and the 1910 Federal Census, summarizing all primary source evidence found for each individual. This evidence documents each person’s birth and/or baptism, marriage(s), death, appearance(s) as a parent or godparent in church records, appearances on other censuses, and participation or mention in records resulting from the California Indians Jurisdictional Act of 1928 (45 Stat 602). While the petitioner’s reconstruction of the historical band draws chiefly from the Kelsey census and the sole Indian schedule of the 1910 Federal Census of Alameda County, the BAR review also considered the Indian schedules of the 1900 Federal Census of Alameda County.
"Do current members "descend from" a previously recognized tribal entity?"
… Analysis of the petitioner’s genealogical data indicates that 134 of a total of 397 current members (representing 34% of the membership) are direct descendants of Indian persons appearing on the Indian population schedules of the 1900 Federal Census for this county. The same 134 current members are also direct descendants of a slightly different set of Indian persons appearing on the 1905-1906 Kelsey census. A total of 68 current members (17% of the membership) are direct descendants of Indian persons enumerated on the Indian population schedule of the 1910 Federal Census; however, if direct descendants of siblings of the 1910 Indians are included, that total jumps to 279 members (of 70% of the membership). When combined with the members who have both types of ancestors), 100% of the membership is represented. Thus, analysis shows that the petition’s membership can trace (and, based on a sampling, can document) its various lineages back to individuals or to one or more siblings of individuals appearing on the 1900, "Kelsey", and 1910 census enumerations described above.
[end excerpt]
Over the past 21 years, the Muwekma have politically, spiritually and culturally revitalized themselves and formed a formal tribal government in compliance with Congressional and the Department of the Interior's criteria. Presently, the Muwekma Tribe is seeking reinstatement and reaffirmation as a Federally Acknowledged Indian Tribe. The Muwekmas have spent these past 21 plus years conducting research and submitted to the Branch of Acknowledgment (BAR) over several thousand pages of historical and anthropological documentation as part of the petitioning process.
As Muwekma Elders are passing, the Muwekma Tribe has yet to advance through the "Recognition Process" for complete reaffirmation of its Acknowledged status. For other tribes it has been a long and difficult ordeal as well. For example, it took the Cowlitz Tribe of Washington 22 years to go through the Recognition Process and the Samish Tribe of Washington waited 25 years, including litigation in Federal Court for 8 years, before they won their Federal Recognition. As a result of their litigation, the Federal Courts decided that the Department of the Interior, BIA and BAR denied "Due Process" the Samish Tribe. Presently, there are over 200 unacknowledged tribes in the United States petitioning for recognition. After coming "back from extinction", the Muwekmas now face, along with approximately 40 other California Indian Tribes, BIA bureaucratic inaction and obstruction. The Muwekmas, who have never left their ancestral homelands, have been waiting for a response from the United States Government since 1906. In 1972, as a result of the 1928 California Indian Jurisdictional Act, the U.S. Government made a token payment of $668.51 (this sum calculated with interest back to 1852) as just compensation for the illegal acquisition (theft) of California land, minerals, and resources. This payment was issued to help California Indians build their futures upon.
As a result of the vision of the Muwekma Tribal leadership in laying out the only plan of action that the Federal Government will respond to, a lawsuit, the Muwekma have potentially paved the way for other previously Federally Recognized tribes to follow: a court ordered Fast Track. Based upon the court’s decision the Branch of Acknowledgment and Research has until July 30, 2001 to make its preliminary determination and the final determination no later than March 11, 2002.
After all said and done, it will be approximately 96 years after the Verona Band was first Federally Acknowledged, and perhaps now the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe of the San Francisco Bay Area, can be treated as an equal in the eyes of other Federally Recognized Indian Nations and the larger dominant society, some of whom still seeking to erode the rights of the aboriginal inhabitants of this continent.

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