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A table setting at Cafe Ohlone in Berkeley, California.
November is Native American Heritage Month. At the California Academy of Sciences, we are taking the time to reflect upon the contributions, knowledge, and challenges faced by the Indigenous People of the Bay Area and throughout the United States.
Jonathan Cordero (right) and Gregg Castro (left), leaders of ARO, with Academy Executive Director Scott Sampson during a listening session at the Academy. (© California Academy of Sciences)
Association of the Ramaytush Ohlone
ARO represents the interests of the original peoples of the San Francisco Peninsula. Its purpose is to uphold the ancestral responsibilities of caring for Mother Earth and the people who reside in their ancestral homeland.
ARO has been collaborating with the California Academy of Sciences to inform our key initiatives and work to regenerate California ecosystems, part of our shared missions to protect our planet.
As part of the Academy’s mission to regenerate the natural world through science, learning, and collaboration, the partnership with ARO allows us to learn traditional practices of regenerating our ecosystems, placing humans as a part of these systems, and using Indigenous knowledge to make them stronger and more resilient.
Your donation will support the work of the Association of the Ramaytush Ohlone to provide services for Indigenous and other marginalized communities and promote advocacy at the highest levels of government. They rely upon the generosity of individual donors like you.
Vincent Medina, co-founder of Cafe Ohlone, speaks with guests about how Ohlone culture is represented through their dining experience.
Cafe Ohlone drives multifaceted work to promote language restoration, traditional arts, Ohlone culinary traditions, and climate justice through land rehabilitation. They have partnered with the Academy to inform new exhibit spaces, share Indigenous knowledge about land stewardship, and educate our staff and guests on traditional ways of preserving our natural world.
Now, we have the opportunity to lend our impactful support for Cafe Ohlone's Ohlone Land reacquisition effort, which will support a community space of celebration that is stewarded by regenerative land management.
Steps you can take year round
There are countless ways to honor the ancestors of our lands. Here are additional actions to get you started:
- Refer to Indigenous People in the past, present, and future tense. Since colonization, there have been concerted efforts to erase Indigenous Peoples and their culture. However, descendants of these tribes are still here living on the land of their ancestors. Remember when referring to these tribes to acknowledge they have lived here for thousands of years, are still here, and will continue carrying on their rich cultural traditions.
- Learn about the land you live on. Find the traditional stewards of the land where you live, work, and visit and support the efforts being undertaken by those communities to restore their culture. One valuable resource in the Bay Area is the American Indian Cultural District, the first established cultural district of its size in the United States dedicated to recognizing, honoring, and celebrating the American Indian legacy, culture, people, and contributions.
Explore more at the Academy
Explore Native American contributions to science, conservation, art, and more through exhibits and film during your next visit to the Academy:
- Giants of Land and Sea (West Hall): Learn how the Yurok, Hupa, and Karuk tribes are protecting salmon and redwood forests.
- Nature Now (West Hall): Take a deep dive into the work of the local Amah Mutsun tribe.
- Hidden Wonders (Collections Gallery): See Pomo baskets and Quechan figurines from the Academy’s collection.
- New Science (next to Color of Life): See a spotlight on scientist Dr. Mary Jo Ondrechen, a member of the Mohawk Nation.
- Science Today (East Hall): Watch our new short film Two-Eyed Seeing: Science and Traditional Ecological Knowledge.
- Gems and Minerals Unearthed (Level 3): Be dazzled by a Navajo turquoise and silver squash blossom necklace.