Opening Day: Contemporary Indigenous Voices of California’s South Coast Range

Trees, land, and water

Nacimiento River, San Luis Obispo County, California. Photo courtesy of Gregg Castro

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In honor of Native American Heritage Month, Indigenous Peoples’ Day, and California Native American Day, come and join us for the opening day celebration for Contemporary Indigenous Voices of California’s South Coast Range. Participate in a conversation with artists, cultural leaders, and elders from the Association of Ramaytush Ohlone Tribal Community, Rumsen Ohlone, Tamien Nation, and Amah Mutsun Tribal Band. Together we will explore community practices for land caretaking, gathering materials, and tending the land.

Don’t miss out on participating in cultural demos and activities led by Gregg Castro, culture director of the Association of Ramaytush Ohlone, and Linda Yamane, Rumsen Ohlone Tribal Community culture bearer and artist.

Program schedule

  • 11 am – 12:30 pm, Cultural crafting demonstrations, Wilsey Court
  • 11 am – 12 pm, exhibition short film screenings (45 min.), Koret Auditorium
  • 1 – 2:15 pm: a conversation on caretaking, gathering, and tending the land, Koret Auditorium
  • 3 – 5:15 pm, exhibition open to the public, Kimball Education Gallery

This program is organized in consultation with the Association of Ramaytush Ohlone, and in collaboration with the Confederated Villages of Lisjan, Muwekma Ohlone Tribe of the San Francisco Bay Area, Tamien Nation, Indian Canyon Chualar Tribe of the Costanoan-Ohlone People, Amah Mutsun Tribal Band, the Rumsen Ohlone Tribal Community, Esselen Tribe of Monterey County, the Salinan Tribe of San Luis Obispo and Monterey Counties and the Salinan T'rowt'raahl tribal community.

About the speakers

  • Valentin Lopez, chair, Amah Mutsun Tribal Band 

Valentin Lopez has served as Chair of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band since 2003, and the President of the Amah Mutsun Land Trust since its inception. Valentin is a Native American Advisor to the University of California, Office of the President on issues related to repatriation. He is also a Native American Advisor to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and the Phoebe Hearst Museum of Anthropology. Valentin is actively involved in efforts to restore tribal Indigenous knowledge and ensure their history is accurately told.

  • Linda Yamane, culture bearer and artist, Rumsen Ohlone Tribal Community

Linda Yamane is a Rumsen Ohlone scholar, master basket weaver, and member of the Rumsen Ohlone Tribal Community of Monterey County. She traces her Indigenous heritage to the lands along the Carmel River watershed, Monterey, and adjacent areas. She has spent nearly forty years researching and reviving Rumsen language, regalia, stories, songs, basketry, plant uses, and traditional Ohlone technologies, including beautiful tule canoes.

  • Moderator: Gregg Castro, culture director, the Association of Ramaytush Ohlone

Gregg Castro [t'rowt'raahl Salinan/rumsien-ramaytush Ohlone], has worked to preserve his Ohlone and Salinan heritage for over three decades. Gregg is the Society for California Archaeology’s Native American Programs Committee Chairperson. Gregg is a Facilitator for the annual California Indian Conference, a 30+ year annual gathering about California Indigenous culture. He is a Founder/Advisor to the California Indian History Curriculum Coalition, based at CSU-Sacramento, promoting accurate school curriculum. He is Culture Director of the Association of Ramaytush Ohlone, advising within their San Francisco Peninsula homelands. Gregg is a writer-activist within the California Indigenous community.

About the films

  • Tom Little Bear Nason, A Call for Environmental Consciousness with Chairman Tom Little Bear Nason
    Chairman Tom Little Bear Nason of the Esselen Tribe in Carmel Valley, CA, details the revitalization efforts his tribe has been involved in and how the world is transforming through climate change.
  • Kanyon Sayers-Roods, Unearthing Truths with Chairwoman Kanyon Sayers-Roods
    Chairwoman of the Indian Canyon Nation Kanyon Sayers-Roods posits that climate change began at ‘Contact,’ the world’s differences in values post industrialization, and laments at the quality of the food we grow and eat today.
  • Valentin Lopez, Stewardship of the Land with Chairman Valentin Lopez of the Amah Mutsun Tribe
    Chairman of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band Valentin Lopez clarifies to the audience that his people have been present on these lands for millennia. He details the efforts of his tribe in the Coastal Marine Tribal Network and speaks specifically on the importance of salmon to his people. He warns against the dangers of climate change and its effect on cultural rehabilitation.
  • Gregg Castro, Forging Forward: Cultural Consultant Gregg Castro Details the History of the Indigenous Peoples in the South Coast Range
    Cultural Consultant Gregg Castro describes the effects on the Indigenous peoples from the Portola Expedition that came to California in 1769, the power structures in place that act as barriers to his people’s access to their lands, and a hope that the future he is working towards is brighter for his descendants.
  • Linda Yamane, Connections to the Land: Linda Yamane and the Resilience of Rumsen Ohlone Culture
    Master Ohlone basket weaver, tribal historian, and member of the Rumsen Ohlone Tribal Community Linda Yamane describes the usage of certain plants in her culture and the barriers that she faces in procuring these materials for basketry, medicine, and cordage.
  • Short films directed by Kirti Bassendine.

Ticket info

Free. Seating is limited and unassigned. Tickets for the discussion are distributed on a first-come first-served basis in front of the Koret Auditorium an hour before the program begins. This does not include admission to the museum. For more information about free and reduced admission, please see our Free Saturdays program.

Save the date: Join us November 4, 2023 for a second program of the Contemporary Indigenous Voices of California’s South Coast Range exhibition.

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