In 2001 NACC co-sponsored a series of arts programs in San Francisco parks with the Neighborhood Parks Council.  The purpose of this partnership was to focus attention on the indigenous heritage underlying our parks and open spaces, as well as our current connection to land through shared cultures.  One outcome of many of the programs was a renewed sense of connection by urban dwellers for environmental issues throughout the region.

The theme of the series was “Weaving Our Roots: Native Art in the Parks.”  The focus on basketweaving accentuated this masterpiece California Indian art form, as well as the essential cultural connection to plants, the earth, and the environment.  It is important to remind ourselves that attention to native plant issues in parks and open spaces involves an understanding of the ethnobotanical uses and practices surrounding plants.  There was no ‘wilderness’ in California when foreign invaders arrived;  every plant was part of an ecosystem that was carefully tended, cultivated, balanced, and revered by California Indian tribes.

The 2001 programs ranged from storytelling with elders in Buena Vista Park, to dancing and Ohlone games for children at Tule Elk Park, to a panel of California Indian leaders in Dolores Park, to a visit to Glen Park by the California Indian Basketweavers Association, to outdoor ‘drive in’ movies by indigenous film makers at Muwekma Ohlone pocket park.  Highlights include master basketweaver Julia Parker and her daughter Lucy at Heron’s Head Park, indigenous musicians at Holly Park and Strybing Arboretum, and elder Charlie Thom with Malcolm Margolin at the Koret Auditorium/SF Public Library.  Location list:

Tule Elk ParkBrooks Park
Dolores ParkBuena Vista Park
Hans Schiller Plaza   Heron’s Head Park
Holly Park     Muwekma Ohlone Park
Glen Park      Strybing Arboretum

Koret Auditorium/SF Public Library at Civic Center Park
Yerba Buena Park

(Both of the last locations are on ancient Yelamu Ohlone village sites.)

Photos from the events:

A beautiful day for some dancing.
Apprentice dancers await instructions.
Jingle dress dancing (with NACC coordinator Abena Songbird helping guide the young dancers).
A circle is formed, and everyone gets the hang of it!
Finding shade and common ground.
Exhibition of basketry art and regalia at Glen Park.
NACC Chair Andrew Brother-Elk and Muwekma Ohlone leaders at Dolores Park.
NACC wishes to thank the many people who helped make our 2001 month of programs a success,
including:  NPC staff, Linda Hunter, Patrick Hannan, Rachel, Adam, interns, Isabel Wade, our many wonderful presenters, the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe, the San Francisco Public Library, California Indian Basketweavers Association, Strybing Arboretum, Recreation and Parks Department, our media sponsors, News From Native California magazine, San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco Examiner, SF Independent, Bay Guardian, SF Weekly, Sing Tao Daily, Sunset Beacon, El Tecolate, New Fillmore, Noe Valley Voice, Cole Valley Free Press, New Bernal Journal, San Francisco Observer, SF Downtown, Richmond Review, Marina Time, Visitacion Valley Grapevine, SPUR, Friends of RecPark, Haight Ashbury Voice, the NACC Board of Directors, NACC staff, Michelle Hall, LaReva Myles, NACC volunteers, Natalie Sawa, Native American AIDS Project, Joan Benoit, Dugin Aguilar, SOMARTs, Jack Davis, Mike Dingle, Oakland Indian Education Center, David Erickson, Shadowlight Productions, Larry Reed, Muhammad Al-Amin, Monique Sonoquie, Bannerman, Andrew Brother-El

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