Celebrating Indigenous Peoples' Day
Updated: Oct 17
Indigenous Peoples' Day is the perfect opportunity to celebrate and learn more about the incredibly long and rich history of the native indigenous people of this region.
Bradford Mattin, the President of Alan J. Blair Personnel was incredibly honored when our Office Coordinator, Catalina, and her grandmother, Catherine, agreed to sit down with him and explain their indigenous history and what it means to them.
Thank you for your time today and for sharing your story.
My family has lived in California for over 300 years or more.
My father's family is Amah Mutsun Tribal Band, which is part of the Costanoan and Ohlone tribes, which really refers to territory; tribal names refer more to the language spoken. Mount Umunhum comes from the Ohlone word meaning "resting place of the hummingbird" which is where our symbol comes from.
Where is your family originally from?
Hollister, CA (Nearby is Mission San Juan Bautista, where our tribe was enslaved by Spain and the Catholic Church.)
How many people are in your tribe?
Approximately, 2,000 (about 1200 unregistered).
What part of your history are you most proud of?
I'm proud that they carried on and passed down their history, culture, and practices. I'm amazed at their generosity in sharing knowledge, possessions, and positive attitude of spirit. Our philosophy is: wealth is not measured by how much you have, but rather by how much you give away.
What does the renaming of Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day mean to you?
I think it's important to not honor "anti-heroes". So, I'm in favor of not calling it "Columbus Day". But, good or bad all history should be taught in school. (We just might learn from our mistakes.)
If we want to learn and educate ourselves more, are there events or places to go to where we can learn or celebrate your tribal history?
We are a conflicted tribe because we are not "purebloods". We have Spanish and other European oppressors' blood flowing through our veins and natives. No one alive today was involved in the genocide and should not be persecuted or rewarded for the actions of the past. Education is key.
Ohlone park in Berkeley has a mural honoring the indigenous people (my oldest granddaughter is in it.) The Coyote Hills Park in Newark has a museum, roundhouse, and shell mounds.
To learn more about their tribe and history click on the link below.