I learned more about the Indigenous people of the Bay Area in this webinar series than I ever expected — and I think you will too. Having lived in California for most of my life, you would think I would know more about this landscape’s history, the diverse groups of Indigenous people that call it home and their relationships to the land. But there’s so much to these stories — a complexity that clearly requires expert interpretation. And this series is just that.

In this three-part webinar, Mark Hylkema, a California State Parks archaeologist and Adjunct Professor of Anthropology at Foothill College, shares his knowledge from over 40 years of experience studying the history of California native people. He takes an in-depth look at the Indigenous cultures of the past and present, specifically, of POST working area in the Peninsula and the South Bay region.

This series is a must-see for anyone who calls the Bay Area home.

There’s a lot to digest. But for me, better understanding the history of our region’s native peoples, including the brutality, systematic racism and genocide they’ve overcome, has felt like an important step in more adequately recognizing the injustices of our shared history. There’s work to do to right these wrongs, but educating yourself is an important first step.

Watching the videos below is a small way you too can pay respect to Indigenous peoples’ history, their narrative and their relationship to this place we all call home:

Part 1: Introduction

Before the Spanish arrived here and before California became a part of the United States, the Bay Area was one of the most densely populated and linguistically diverse areas in North America. This session provides a broad overview of historic Indigenous communities in our area based on what we know of archaeological studies and oral histories. You’ll learn a basic framework for understanding the complex and varied native communities of the Peninsula and the South Bay.

Part 2: Ethnobotany and Land Stewardship

California ecosystems have evolved with thoughtful active management by diverse human communities over thousands of years. This session will examine some of the interactions Indigenous Peoples of the Bay Area had (and still have) with our landscape. This session highlights specific plant and animal relationships, as well as stewardship practices using examples from our local landscape.

Part 3: Economy, Spirituality & Culture

This final session focuses on interesting aspects of what we know about historic Indigenous culture, society, economy and spirituality. Hear about examples of trade networks that took products made and collected by Bay Area communities far and wide. You’ll also learn about aspects of village life, spirituality and sacred relationships with our local landscape.

About Post

Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST) protects open space on the Peninsula and in the South Bay for the benefit of all. Since its founding in 1977, POST has been responsible for saving more than 87,000 acres as permanently protected land in San Mateo, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties. Learn more

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