Blog by the Indigenous Programming Interest Group
November is Native American Heritage Month. Throughout the month, we invite you to visit your nearest AC Library location to check out our book giveaway, while supplies last, and our growing number of books from the Native Community in our collection. Learn from the Native community about the Native and Indigenous communities.
Alameda County Library sits on the ancestral and unceded land of the Ohlone people. Ohlone is a tribal affiliation identifying the descendants of many indigenous tribes who have lived here for thousands of years, including the jalquín, yrgin, seunen, xučyun (huchiun), saclan, chupcan, volvon, carquín, and tuibun people.
Indigenous and Native people have never left Alameda County. Ohlone and other local Native tribes have survived colonization and genocide. Tribal communities have been revitalizing cultures, traditions, and languages while also seeking to rematriate the land.
For many years, California’s fourth graders learned about our state’s early history in part through Mission projects assigned in our elementary schools. The focus on these projects obscured the truth about the rich and sophisticated cultures that existed here for thousands of years as well as the truth about the decimation of the Indigenous people during European colonization.
Nicole Myers-Lim, Executive Director of the California Indian Museum and Cultural Center and a member of the Pomo tribe, writes that fourth-grade teachers “face the challenge of how to present massacres, abuses, and sexual crimes to nine-year-olds. Keeping this unit under the requirement of fourth-grade social studies standards is an inherent problem. A full analysis of this period is likely more suited for upper school students.”
Centering Native voices can help overcome the myths and misconceptions many of us learned in school. We encourage you to read Myers-Lim’s full article “Educating Elementary School Children About California Missions and the Perpetuation of Genocide” from the Winter 2014/2015 edition of News from Native California.
As she writes, “It is time we all shared in the responsibility of correcting the record.”
In honor of Native American History Month, we recommend:
The Alameda County Library invites you to visit our locations where you’ll find free books by Native authors to keep as a gift from us, while supplies last.
Learn a Few Words of Chochenyo
Keep an eye out for a special worksheet for elementary school students in partnership with Café Ohlone that will allow you to learn a few words of Chochenyo, one of the first languages spoken in Alameda County.
Learn from the Native and Indigenous community with these books for various age groups.