Celebrating Native American heritage, this month and beyond

By Canopy Team on November 11, 2021

red fall leaves in Palo Alto

November is National American Indian Heritage Month, a time to celebrate the many contributions of the Indigenous peoples of the United States. At Canopy, we are building our practice of land acknowledgment to teach and promote greater consciousness of the colonial legacy and Native sovereignty. Our ideas include acknowledging the Ramaytush Ohlone Tribe and the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe who have called the land on which we work home for generations, and who have tended and stewarded it for thousands of years. 

The Ohlone are the original peoples of what is now called the San Francisco Peninsula, and we live on land that was stolen from them. We acknowledge the remaining Ohlone members today who survived many attempts to subjugate and eradicate them. They continue to maintain a sacred connection with this land, and we are thankful for them showing us ways to connect and to live sustainably with the land and for sharing their intimate knowledge of its plants and resources.

Ours is a developing practice as we commit to educating ourselves about local Indigenous social justice and build awareness. We invite you to join us on this journey. A few of the resources we are using include:

Native Land: Online map created by Native Land Digital, a Canadian nonprofit, to “create and foster conversations about the history of colonialism, Indigenous ways of knowing, and settler-Indigenous relations.”

Muwekma Ohlone: Official website of the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe of the San Francisco Bay Area.  The present-day Muwekma Ohlone Tribe is comprised of all of the known surviving American Indian lineages aboriginal to the San Francisco Bay region who trace their ancestry through the Missions Dolores, Santa Clara, and San Jose; and who were also members of the historic Federally Recognized Verona Band of Alameda County.

Ramaytush Ohlone: Website of the original people of what is now San Francisco County, referred to today as the Yelamu, an independent tribe of the Ramaytush Ohlone peoples. The southern boundary of their tribal territory was fairly consistent with the current San Francisco/San Mateo county line. There are no known living descendants of the Yelamu. 

Can You Say It in Mutsun? Blog post from the Peninsula Open Space Trust introducing Mutsun names of local trees. Among the four distinct, contemporary Native communities within San Mateo, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties — the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band, the Tamien Nation, the Ramaytush Ohlone and the Muwekma Ohlone—the Mutsun language is considered one of the best documented and preserved. 

Land Acknowledgements in the Academy – Refusing the Settler Myth An April 2021 article by Joe Wark, an Anishinaabe and social work doctoral student, in the journal Curriculum Inquiry.

A Guide to Indigenous Land Acknowledgement: Publication from the Native Governance Center, a Native-led nonprofit dedicated to assisting Native nations in strengthening their governance systems and capacity to exercise sovereignty.

Honor Native Land: A guide and call to land acknowledgement from the U.S. Department of Land and Culture.

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