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"WE ARE STILL HERE " mural at SF State University honors the First People, related issues.

by Francisco Da Costa
The last permanent MURAL to adorn the walls of the Cesar Chavez Center saw light yesterday, November 20, 2009. Commissioned in October 2005 with great effort and sacrifices - this MURAL that means a lot to the First People, the American Indian Studies Department, connects the dots to the Alcatraz Movement, the very survival of the First People, Genocide, going through the FIRE so that the wishes of the GREAT SPIRIT may be fulfilled. Kudos of Jacqueline Mendez and the Native American Mural Committee for a job well done. Marc Nicely the primary artist and Larry Sallaway - the two artists should be proud of their inspiring, work.
San Francisco State University has led many social movements - the first in the Nation to have a Department of Ethnic Studies. The first to have a well recognized curriculum linked to American Indian Studies respected in many quarters and bringing honor to the First People of San Francisco the Muwekma Ohone and all San Franciscans.

As one who represents the Muwekma Ohone I was present and saw the amazing mural that connects the dots and brings light to injustices meted out to generation of Native Americans. In San Francisco, the Chair of Muwekma Ohlone Tribe the only Tribe that has patrimonial jurisdiction in San Francisco has appointed Espanola Jackson and Francisco Da Costa to represent them in all matters in San Francisco.

It was true the First People of San Francisco the Muwekma Ohlone were NOT mentioned once - but kudos was given to the Ohlone in general - people from the West Coast and this will not hamper what the MURAL depicts and its hopefully holistic impact to bring about change, reconciliation, peace and progress.

Even as some prayers were offered by someone who was dressed in some European colonial garb who should have acknowledged the Muwekma Ohlone first - as all First People must in the land of the host. The winds churned up a storm and it rained so heavy that the ceremony that was held on the West Plaza of the Cesar Chavez Center - had to be moved indoors into the Jack Adams Hall to ponder if all was indeed, well and pleasing to the Spirits.

The many speakers and many rambling spoke about a time that has not been kind to the First People. The Muwekma Ohone the First People of San Francisco and Rosemary Cambra its Chair Person and her Tribe were Federal Recognized until 1927 and then illegal removed by one LA Dorrington who was a agent of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. We understand first hand was Federal Recognition means and more when others come into our living rooms and rearrange the furniture without any permission:

The special guests honored were the Oakes Family and we all remember the good works of Richard Oakes. Many a time we have held our conferences, our workshops, our meeting in the famous room dedicated to this great son of the First People - from the Kashaya Pomo on the West Coast of California.

This Nation the United States of America has not been kind to the First People and more to the over sixty percent of the First People Tribes that continue to survive in California and are not Federally Recognized.

It is within this vacuum of sorts that other Tribes forget the Muwekma Ohone and have permitted to take a stand and recognize a fake entity in San Francisco - such as a caretaker from the Indian Canyon. What I saw represented a colonial hag steeped in immoral turpitude trying to perform a ceremony o behalf of the Muwekma Ohlone without any respect and less permission.

No finger can be pointed to the stranger when those that should know - usurp and are fostering dissonance. We must learn the way of the Elders and not fall prey to contemporary mundane fake protocols meant more to hurt then please those that respect our Elders.

The many dances by the Pomo Indians and the Eagle Dance by Eddie Madril who I personally met many years ago - were well received by one and all. Anna Oakes widow of Richard Oakes was honored by a Commendation from the Mayor of San Francisco.

This year marks the 40th year of the take over of Alcatraz Island that renewed HOPE and spurred a number of revolutions in this Nation but what is more united all First People to take their hopes and aspirations to a better place.

There are some great Spiritual Leaders steeped in great Spiritual Powers today - alive and respected. Many of them are on the West Coast. Others make their abode in holy places - such as where the HOPI live, intact with their cultural traditions knowing well the deeds of the past and better prepared for the future.

The Six Nations have influenced many Nations abroad and permitted them to govern better. The Founding Fathers took what was best from the Six Nations to incorporate into the Constitution of the United States of America. However, what was truly missing as was hinted - at the Ceremony of Sorts at San Francisco State University - was the genuine Spiritual element.

The Mural as I said will aspire many to connect the dots and hopefully enlighten good people to first pay their respect duly to the First People of San Francisco and then allow the Great Spirit to unite everyone to go to a better place having fined tuned one's moral compass.

The First People are first a Spiritual People. The First People those that are truly respectful do not ever - I say ever USURP. The First People always maintain to this day a high respect for Mother Earth and for the caretakers of the land - carved out and over which the Muwekma Ohlone have patrimonial jurisdiction in San Francisco. Aho.

This year the ceremonies at Alcatraz will be special organized among others by my good sister - Morning Star Gail. My brother Wounded Knee, Sister Corina Gould and others that have continued to walk every year and respect the Shellmounds honor the Ohlone all over the Bay Area as they should - including the Muwekma Ohlone that have several Shellmounds in San Francisco.

I am a facilitator and an keen observer and could have interrupted the ceremonies and made a statement. However, sometimes you have to permit young novices that know not what to do - because they are devoid of wisdom, spirituality - less unwritten, portocol.

Such norms and experiences are not found in books but in fasting, prayers, and attaining purity of mind, body, and spirit. As some speaker eloquently stated: " thinking with the heart".

Enjoy the photographs:

Francisco Da Costa
Muwekma Ohlone Tribe

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