Federal recognition for the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe, whose ancestral land within the Bay Space contains Stanford’s campus, has been a wrestle for indigenous activists for 40 years. In a latest grassroots effort, this previous weekend, Justice for Muwekma, a motion that helps the tribe’s combat for federal recognition, hosted three letter-writing occasions to Congress all through the Bay Space.
Based on Charlene Nijmeh, the chairwoman of the Tribe, quite a few grassroots efforts are underway, together with in Palo Alto, to place an finish to the activists’ wrestle and safe federal recognition for the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe, as soon as and for all.
The Division of Justice describes the authorized time period “recognition” as a standing whereby the US “acknowledges a government-to-government relationship with a Tribe” and that the Tribe can self-govern as a “home dependent nation,” offering tribal sovereignty.
Because the winter of 2022, the grassroots motion for Muwekma Ohlone federal recognition has been accelerated with letter-writing occasions to Congress all through the Bay Space, in accordance with the chairwoman. “This motion began as a result of the federal government, particularly within the Bay Space, ignores us,” Nijmeh mentioned. “However they can not ignore the vote of the folks –– their constituents who voted them in.”
This previous weekend, Justice for Muwekma hosted three letter-writing occasions: one at Palo Alto Excessive College, one other in San Jose and a 3rd on the Chabot Faculty within the East Bay.
With federal recognition, the chairwoman mentioned, the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe–a gaggle with over 600 tribal members–can lastly repatriate artifacts. Alameda County alone has 250,000 Ohlone artifacts, in accordance with the chairwoman. “We can’t put [our ancestors’] spirits to relaxation with out having our federal recognition confirmed,” she added.
Nijmeh mentioned the Justice for Muwekma motion took off due to native Bay Space college students, together with college students at Stanford. She added that it’s typically younger individuals who present assist for the Tribe’s federal recognition efforts.
“A part of the rationale that there’s been a lot momentum with the motion is as a result of the chairwoman has been so seen,” mentioned Jonathan Lockwood, the spokesperson for Muwekma Ohlone. “Charlene is talking at TEDx Berkeley, Palo Alto Excessive College, doing numerous interviews with nationwide media after which she’s additionally out in D.C. advocating for the tribe. That is history-making.”
The chairwoman mentioned that she is in search of a corrective measure by way of Congress for federal recognition with the introduction of a invoice. There are three avenues for federal recognition: an act of Congress, the rule of a U.S courtroom or execution of the rules set by Half 83 of Title 25 of the Code of Laws (CFR).
As reported beforehand by The Every day, solely 18 petitions have been acknowledged utilizing the pathway of Half 83 of Title 25 from a pool of 356 letters of intent from teams calling for federal recognition.
The Muwekma Ohlone Tribe began organizing for federal recognition within the early Nineteen Eighties and despatched a petition to the U.S. authorities in 1995, in accordance with the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe web site. On Could 24, 1996, the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) offered a constructive dedication, which offered affirmation that the Tribe existed between 1914 and 1927. The Tribe requested the BIA to reinstate their earlier federal recognition, however the BIA responded that the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe wanted to undergo the federal recognition course of and submit further documentation, in accordance with the chairwoman.
“Throughout the [federal recognition] course of, we had a unfavourable dedication primarily based on what [the BIA] mentioned was that the neighborhood ceased to exist from 1927 to 1985, which isn’t the case,” Nijmeh mentioned.
“All we’re asking for is to have our existence acknowledged that we’re nonetheless right here,” Nijmeh instructed the scholars of Palo Alto Excessive College at a chat final Friday. “Our folks have survived far worse for much longer. We are able to outlast this era of politicians, even when it means the wrestle continues.”
Malcolm Harris, a journalist who grew up in Palo Alto, mentioned that he joined the chairwoman in Washington D.C. to foyer for Congress to supply federal recognition. Harris printed Palo Alto: A Historical past of California, Capitalism, and the World in February. His guide begins and ends with a dialogue of the Muwekma Ohlone, which is how he was linked to the chairwoman.
“I grew up on Muwekma land,” Harris mentioned. “The conclusion of this guide has been not solely of those individuals who exist who’ve been wronged and are owed but in addition trying towards the way forward for this area and of the world by repairing the harm that has been performed by these political methods.”
“What’s vital for us is to have our future generations keep on our 10,000-year-old land,” the chairwoman mentioned. “Time is of the essence. Our persons are being gentrified out of the realm due to the price of dwelling. Sure persons are attempting to attend us out in order that we will be pushed out. However we’re nonetheless right here, and we’re not going away.”