Welcome To Our Land, Where We Are Born!

'Akkoy Mak-Warep, Manne Mak Hiswi!


Statement Honoring Our Veterans and Servicemen

We honor the Muwekma men and women who have served in the various branches of the Armed Forces since World War I.


Historic Overview of the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe


The present-day Muwekma Ohlone Tribe is comprised of all of the known surviving Native American lineages aboriginal to the San Francisco Bay region who trace their ancestry through the Missions Dolores, Santa Clara and San Jose. The aboriginal homeland of the Muwekma Tribe includes a large contiguous geographical area that historically crosscuts linguistic and tribal boundaries that fell under the sphere of influence of the three missions between 1776 and 1836.


Sixty years after the American conquest of California, as a result of the discovery of the 18 unratified California Indian Treaties (negotiated between 1851-1852), Charles E. Kelsey of San Jose, was named Special Agent by the Indian Service Bureau in Washington, D. C. Kelsey was specifically charged with the task of identifying all of the landless tribes and bands located in Northern California (Kern County north to Oregon border) in need of land for their homesites. One of these tribes was the Verona Band of Alameda County residing in Pleasanton, Niles, and surrounding towns near Mission San Jose whom Kelsey specifically recommended for the purchase of land under the Congressional Acts beginning in 1906 to 1937. Evidence presented to and accepted by the BIA's Office of Federal Acknowledgment (OFA, a.k.a. BAR), demonstrates that the direct ancestors of the present-day Muwekma Ohlone Tribe were Federally Acknowledged as the Verona Band by the U.S. Government beginning in 1906.


Independently, since the late 19th century, noted anthropologists and linguists such as Jeremiah Curtin, A. L. Kroeber, E. W. Gifford, J. A. Mason, C. Hart Merriam and J. P. Harrington (between 1884 and 1934) interviewed the last fluent speakers of the languages spoken at these rancherias. During this time these Verona Band Elders still employed the linguistic term "Muwekma" which means "la Gente or the People" in Chocheńo, the Ohlone (or Costanoan) language spoken in the East San Francisco Bay region.


During World War I (1917-1919), Muwekma men enlisted and served overseas in the United States Armed Forces, and four of them Alfred (Fred) Guzman (US Army, Company "C," 110th Infantry - 1917-1919), Tony Guzman (US Army, Battery F., 347th Field Artillery, 91st Division - 1918-1919), Joseph Aleas (US Army, Sergeant, Company D, 21st MG BN, 7th Division 1918-1919) and Henry Nichols (US Navy, Fire 1st - 1918-1919) are buried in the Golden Gate National Cemetery. Frank Guzman, a nephew of the Guzman brothers, served in the U. S. Marine Corps and is buried in the National Cemetery in Riverside (1918-1919) and Jack Guzman (US Army, (1918-1919) is buried in Centerville near his father Jose Guzman.


During World War II (1941-1945) the majority of Muwekma men again served in the United States Armed Forces both in the Pacific and European theaters as well as stateside. These men are: Lawrence Domingo Marine (Sergeant, U.S. Marine Corps, Guadalcanal, Eniwetok, Marshall Islands, Okinawa, Ryukyu 1940 -1946); Robert Corral (U.S. Army, Pfc, Infantry, Ft. Benning, Ga. 1944-1946); Philip Galvan (U.S. Navy); Filbert Marine (U.S. Army); Arthur Pena (Sergeant, U.S. Army, 155th Engineers Combat Battalion, Pacific Theater, 1943-1946, Germany 1946-1957); Salvador Piscopo (Sergeant, U.S. Army, European Theater); Lawrence Thompson, Sr., (Tech. Fifth Grade, U.S. Army, 640th Tank Destroyer Battalion, Pacific Theater, 1941-1945); Hank A. Alvarez (US Army, 101st Airborne Division 1942-1945); John Alvarez (U.S. Army, North Africa); Ernest Marine (Pfc. US Army, 58th Field Artillery Battalion, 1944-1946); Daniel Santos Juarez (Sergeant, US Army, 41st Division); Michael Benjamin Galvan (US Navy and Army); Frank H. Guzman (Pfc, U.S. Army 345th Infantry, European Campaign, 1944-1946); Ben Guzman (U.S. Army); Robert R. Sanchez (US Army, Technician Fourth Grade, 508th Prcht. Infantry, 82nd Airborne Division 1943-1948); Thomas Garcia (US Army, buried in the Golden Gate National Cemetery); and Enos Sanchez (U.S. Army, Patton's Army Tank Command North Africa).


Returning from their service from overseas, the Muwekma Tribe still remained landless, impoverished, and without any benefits. Nonetheless, the Muwekma families continued to maintain their distinctive Indian social ties and culture. During the early 1960s, Muwekma families came together under the principal leadership of Dolores Marine Alvarez Piscopo Galvan, and her children (Hank Alvarez, Philip Galvan, Ben Galvan and Dottie Galvan Lameira). Other Elders and their families of the Tribe also participated in the protection of the cemetery and tribal affairs including enrollment in the BIA.


These Elders and family leaders included: Maggie Pinos Juarez, Dario Marine, Trina Marine Elston Thompson Ruano, Henry Marshall, Albert Arellano, Alphonso Juarez, Dolores Sanchez, Robert Sanchez, and Mary Munoz Archuleta came together with their families to protect the Ohlone Cemetery located in Fremont from destruction.


Around 1964, the American Indian Historical Society (AIHS) under the direction of Rupert Costo and Jeannette Henry, made contact with the Muwekma families and leadership, and used their non-profit status to secure title to the Ohlone Cemetery. By 1965, Ben Michael Galvan emerged as chairman of the first organized Ohlone Tribal entity. By 1971, Ben Galvan, Philip Galvan, and Dottie Galvan served as the Board of Directors of a non-profit entity called Ohlone Indian Tribe, Inc., which was created in order to accept the transfer of the title of the Ohlone Cemetery from the AIHS. Since that time, the Ohlone Cemetery has been under the care of Philip Galvan and his family.


Between 1982-1984, as a result of being disenfranchised by the dominant society, including politicians and especially archaeologists, the Muwekma Ohlone Tribal government was formed in order to articulate their legal issues to public agencies. As a result of the accepted views held by members of the dominant society and respective agencies that 1) the Ohlone people are extinct; 2) that even if the Ohlone people still existed, they were never Federally Recognized by the US Government, and therefore, never considered a historic or legally constituted and; 3) all people who claim to be "Ohlone" are members of a single community that geographically spans from the Monterey Bay to San Francisco. As a result of these public misconceptions, in 1989 the Muwekma Ohlone Tribal Council submitted a letter of intent to petition the US Government for Federal Acknowledgment.


A petition was submitted at a White House meeting on January 25, 1995 and by May 24, 1996, the Bureau of Indian Affairs' Branch of Acknowledgment and Research made a positive determination that the ancestors and living members of the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe were directly descended from the Verona Band of Alameda County which was a Federally Recognized tribe. BAR staff opined that: "The band was among the groups, identified as bands, under the jurisdiction of the Indian agency at Sacramento, CA. The agency dealt with the Verona Band as a group and identified it as a distinct social and political entity."


Almost two years later, as a result of submitting additional documentation, Deborah Maddox, Division Chief of Tribal Operation, issued a letter to the tribe stating that: "A review of the Muwekma submissions shows that there is sufficient evidence to review the petition on all seven of the mandatory criteria. The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) is placing the Muwekma petition on the ready for active consideration list as of March 26, 1998."


On December 8, 1999, the Muwekma Tribal Council filed a lawsuit against the Department of the Interior / BIA arguing that as a previously Federally Recognized tribe that was never "Terminated" by any Act of Congress, Muwekma should not have to wait 20 years for its status clarification or for the BAR to even review the tribe's documents.


On June 30, 2000, Federal District Justice Ricardo M. Urbina ruled in favor of the Muwekma Tribe and found that the BIA was in violation of the Administrative Procedures Act (APA) and that the Muwekma Tribe was entitled to an expedited process. A month later, Justice Urbina wrote in his Introduction to his Memorandum Opinion Granting the Plaintiff's Motion to Amend the Court's Order dated July 28, 2000 that: "The Muwekma Tribe is a tribe of Ohlone Indians indigenous to the present-day San Francisco Bay area. In the early part of the Twentieth Century, the Department of the Interior ("DOI") recognized the Muwekma tribe as an Indian tribe under the jurisdiction of the United States." (Civil Case No. 99-3261 RMU D.D.C.)


On September 9, 2002, the BIA confirmed in their Summary Conclusions Under the Criteria (25 CFR 83.7) in the "Final Determination" of the Muwekma petitioner, that: "The review of all the evidence in the record concludes that the Muwekma petitioner has satisfied the requirements of 25 CFR 83.7 (d), (e), (f), and (g). That is, the petitioner's constitution and enrollment ordinance describe its membership criteria and governing procedures, its members have demonstrated their descent from the historical tribe (in this case, from the Verona band last acknowledged by the Federal Government in 1927 and as defined in the Proposed Finding and Final Determination), the group is principally composed of those persons who are not members of another North American Indian tribe, and neither the group nor its members are the subject of congressional legislation expressly terminating or forbidding the Federal relationship." (Page 7) [Emphasis added]


Over the past century, the Muwekma have politically, spiritually, and culturally revitalized themselves and formed a formal tribal government in compliance with the Department of the Interior's criteria. Presently, the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe is seeking reaffirmation and restoration as a Federally Acknowledged Indian Tribe. The Muwekma have spent these past 24+ years conducting research and submitting to the Branch of Acknowledgment and Research over several thousand pages of historical, legal, anthropological, and genealogical documentation as part of the petitioning process.


After all said and done, it will be 98 years this year since the Verona Band of Alameda County was first Federally Acknowledged. Furthermore, the BIA's confirmation of the evidence submitted by the Muwekma Tribe sends a message to the larger dominant society -- some of whom have emphatically stated and published that the "Costanoan/Ohlones are extinct" and/or that they "never have been Federally Recognized," -- that these so-called "experts and authorities" on our people and history know absolutely nothing about our history, heritage, and culture.


During the post-WW II American overseas campaigns and peacetime periods, Muwekma men and women continued to serve in the Armed Forces. Some of the Muwekma men and women who served include:

Lawrence Mason Marine (US Marine Corps. 1959-1965); Ruben C. Arellano, Sr. (US Army 1960-1966); Frank Y. Ruano, Sr. (US Army 1965-1971); Tom M. Alvarez, Sr. (US Army 1965-1967); John Massiatt (US Air Force 1967 - 1971); Marvin Lee Marine (US Army 1967-1969); Robert C. Martinez, Sr. (US Army 1968 – 1970); Karl Thompson (US Army 1968-1971); Jay P Massiet (US Air Force and Van Nuys Air National Guard, 1975-1988); Michael F. Galvan, Jr. (US Air Force 1977-1997), Tracie Massiet Lents (US Air Force 1979-1983); John J. Cambra, Jr. (US Army 1989-1994); David J. Splan (US Marine Corps. 1993-2001); Cory Massiet (US Air Force 1994-1997); Rick Martinez (US Army); and Angela Galvan (US Marines 2003-Presently serving in Iraq).


The time has finally come to honor the first People of the San Francisco Bay Area. The time has come to honor the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe. The time has come to honor all the Muwekma men and women who have served in the United States Armed Forces. The time has come to honor all the California Indian men and women who have served in the United States Armed Forces. The time has come to honor all the Native American men and women who have served in the United States Armed Forces. And finally, the time has come to honor all the American men and women who have served in the United States Armed Forces and died for this country.



The Muwekma Ohlone Tribe of the San Francisco Bay Area


Hemmen Makkin Mak Hayaasin Hemme Ta Makiš Horše Mak-Muwekma!

United We Will Fight To Make Things Right For Our People!