East Bay EDA is proud to celebrate Native American heritage the month of November and beyond. We recognize the Lisjan Ohlone people as the original stewards of the East Bay and we support the thriving Native American community here in our region and across the nation. The dearth of accurate educational resources about Native American history is the result of a centuries old systemic erasure of the violent conquest of the Americas. This enduring legacy of invisibility and erasure has left many Americans with little to no factual knowledge about the original peoples of this land.
This month, we encourage deep learning to dismantle the erroneous narratives and misinformation about Native American people. Deep learning also encourages us all to understand our own role in perpetuating racial stereotypes about Native Americans. Native people are not vestiges of the past, they’re a living, breathing, intertribal community right here in the East Bay. To celebrate Native American heritage month, we encourage you to support the following local organizations and their events:
Sogorea Te’ Land Trust
The Sogorea Te’ Land Trust (STLT) is an urban Indigenous women-led land trust that facilitates the return of Indigenous land to Indigenous people. STLT made the news earlier this year when the City of Alameda changed name of a city park to ‘Chochenyo Park,’ named after the language of the Ohlone people, and the City of Alameda also committed to paying a voluntary land tax. On Indigenous Peoples’ Day, the City of Albany became the first Bay Area city to permanently fly a flag acknowledging the Lisjan Ohlone Confederated Villages. You can support their work by paying the Shuumi Land Tax, a voluntary annual contribution that non-Indigenous people living on traditional Lisjan Ohlone territory make to support the critical work of the Sogorea Te’ Land Trust.
Wahpepah’s Kitchen, the first sit-down Native American restaurant in Oakland, opens November 13 at the Fruitvale Village, in the space formerly occupied by Reem’s. Chef Crystal Wahpepah has been making a name for herself in the culinary world, she was the first Native American chef to be featured on the Food Network’s Chopped and she’s run a thriving catering business in Oakland the past 10 years. Born and raised in East Oakland, Wahpepah draws on her Kickapoo heritage to inspire the menu. You’ll find corn soup with squash, blue corn waffles, blueberry bison meatballs and a variety of other delicious Native dishes being served.
Like many East Bay restaurants, Cafe Ohlone was forced to close its doors due to COVID-19. Owners Vincent Medina (Chochenyo Ohlone) and Louis Trevino (Rumsen Ohlone) announced that Cafe Ohlone is set to reopen this November at the Hearst Museum of Anthropology at UC Berkeley. The menu will continue to offer traditional Ohlone cuisine featuring locally sourced ingredients.
Indigenous Red Market – Sunday, November 7 | 11:00 am – 4:00 pm
The Indigenous Red Market returns this November at the Cedar Center, 3050 International Blvd in Oakland. The market features 35 + vendors, food, hoop dancers and much more. Special musical guests are Native American rappers Mike Bone as seen on Reservation Dogs and America’s Got Talent. Proof of vaccination for ages 12 +.
Native American Heritage Night at the Warriors – Monday, November 8 | 7:00 pm
Join the Golden State Warriors as they celebrate Native American Heritage Night at the Chase Center. Included with your ticket is a commemorative Native American Heritage Night T-shirt. Click here to purchase tickets.
American Indian Child Resource Center Pow Wow | December 4 and 5
Join the American Indian Child Resource Center for their first community Pow Wow since 2019 at La Escuelita Gymnasium, 1100 3rd Avenue in Oakland. Admission is free and COVID safety precautions are required.
Books by Native Authors
There There by Tommy Orange
There There tells the story of twelve characters, Urban Indians living in Oakland, California, who converge and collide on one fateful day.
Sixth World Book Series by Rebecca Roanhorse
Twenty years in the future an environmental collapse causes what is known as The Big Flood and everything below an elevation of 3,500 feet across the Earth is under water. This ushers in The Sixth World and the return of magic in this post-apocalyptic series set against the backdrop of the Navajo nation.
Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley
For fans of Angie Thomas and Tommy Orange comes a ground-breaking YA thriller about a Native American teen who must root out the corruption in her community.
Eighteen-year-old Daunis’s mixed heritage has always made her feel like an outsider, both in her hometown and on the nearby Ojibwe reservation. When she witnesses a shocking murder, she reluctantly agrees to be part of a covert FBI operation into a series of drug-related deaths.
The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee by David Treuer
In The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee, Treuer melds history with reportage and memoir. Tracing the tribes’ distinctive cultures from first contact, he explores how the depredations of each era spawned new modes of survival.
“An informed, moving and kaleidoscopic portrait… Treuer’s powerful book suggests the need for soul-searching about the meanings of American history and the stories we tell ourselves about this nation’s past.” – New York Times Book Review, front page.