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Morgan and Clinger present multi-generational narratives that reflect the challenges the people continue to face today in protecting their burial sites, telling their side of the story that is missing from history books, addressing common stereotypes and tokenism and preserving their languages and culture in the 21st century. “We were just fascinated with the ways in which the Ohlone people are trying to keep their culture alive while living in two worlds really, and we became really interested in that and Anne Marie suggested that we do a project around it and she’s the one who identified the people in the project,” Morgan said.
One of the youth subjects in the exhibit explained that even though the younger members of the tribe have evolved in many ways, they’re still very much connected to their ancestry, “Unfortunately, we do have to drive in cars to get to places, and we wear makeup and get our nails and hair done,” said Desiree Munoz, 25, At the same time, she said, “we are a living and breathing tribe that’s strong in our ceremonial songs and dances, in our connection with our ancestors.”, In her photo, Munoz is depicted in her traditional regalia, consisting of a feathered headdress, her face painted with white and black dye, The photo was taken at Tony Cerda Park in Pomona, a city that’s been home to the last five generations of her family, although they’re originally from how to make ballet shoes the Bay Area and Carmel region, The park was named after Munoz’s grandfather, chief of the Costanoan Rumsen Carmel Tribe, who was also featured in the exhibit..
In his portrait, Cerda is wearing a blue-green bead necklace, the only pop of color offset by a black fedora and black jacket, a serious expression on his face and faraway gaze in his eyes. Cerda talks about every creature’s responsibility in taking care of the Earth and laments the loss of Ohlone land. “They didn’t pay us anything for this land, and we didn’t give it to them,” he says. “How did they get it? Our right of indigenous occupancy was never honored by anybody to this day.”.
If there is one thing that strikes how to make ballet shoes at the core of both the younger and elder generations, the injustice of losing a territory that was rightfully theirs for thousands of years is most salient, Munoz, a San Francisco resident who works as a park ranger for the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, said her people’s lack of a land base saddens her, not only for past and present generations, but for future ones, too, “It honestly makes me feel sad, because it’s something that we lived for and we gave up ourselves for and not knowing by inviting settlers that were coming in as peaceful beings and letting them take advantage of us,” she said..
So, she and other members of her tribe try to stay connected to their heritage in other meaningful ways. One of those is reviving her tribal language, Rumsen. She and her relatives are actively trying to learn the language through a linguistics teacher. “We weren’t allowed to speak it, so we lost it,” she said. “The last speaker died in 1924.”. Participating in ceremonies, which usually involve feasting, singing and dancing, is another way that both the youth and elder generations keep the Ohlone tradition alive.
“Ceremony is something that is sacred to our people and it’s just a way of life and living can be a celebration where we share with different tribes to join in and pray with us,” Munoz said, Kanyon Sayers-Roods, the daughter of Anne Marie Sayers, stays involved by attending California Native gatherings across the state or how to make ballet shoes by taking on an activist role at various conferences, She resides in San Jose and is a contemporary artist and graphic designer who uses her profession as a mechanism to explore her identity..
“Having that cultural pride and trying to learn as much around my heritage is a way I can honor my ancestors as well as trying to be an advocate for cultural survival,” she said. For the youth, it’s also about the way they dress, not just for ceremonies, but on a daily basis. Both Sayers-Roods and Munoz wear bead necklaces around their neck that they described as their medicine. In her photo taken a few years ago at a sunrise ceremony at Alcatraz, an event her mother hosts every year on Thanksgiving, Sayers-Roods is shown wearing numerous necklaces, a streak of blue in her hair, her gaze defiant and leveled directly at the camera.
“(The necklaces are) made with good intentions, Every bead is a prayer and there are times where we gift them to other people,” she said, Tom Izu, executive director of the California History Center, had a big role in bringing the exhibit to De Anza after seeing it debut at the San Francisco Public Library a few years ago, “I wanted to have an exhibit here about indigenous people,” he said, “They have a right how to make ballet shoes to tell their own story and they want people to listen to that story, It happened here right on this land, It’s not far away; it’s not some imaginary place, That’s what I’m also hoping people really think about.”..