On July 31, 2006, Muwekma Tribal Elder, Margaret Sanchez Martinez, passed away at the age of 87. Margaret and her husband Candalario Martinez had three sons together Natividad, Ricardo and Robert. She also had six grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren, and one great-great-grandchild.
Born in the Milpitas area by Calaveras Road on March 26, 1919, she was named Margaret Sanchez by her parents, Ramona Marine and Porfidio Sanchez. Margaret was their youngest child, and she was baptized at Mission San Jose along with her cousin Joseph Feliz on September 4, 1920. She was the last of the Federally Recognized Verona Band Muwekma Ohlone Indians to be baptized at Mission San Jose.
Muwekma Ohlone Tribe Elders Council Meeting
San Jose, California - May, 1999
Margaret's mother, Ramona Marine, who was born on the Alisal Rancheria located between Pleasanton and Sunol and her father, Porfidio Sanchez who was also from the Sunol region, had six children together. While living on the Sunol Rancheria along Rosedale Road, located close to the Alisal Rancheria, Ramona gave birth to Margaret's oldest brother, Enos Marine Sanchez on February 2, 1910. Enos was baptized at the Mission, his godparents were Pete Juarez, and an Elder Muwekma Indian woman named Raphaela Leivas Padedes who was a godmother to many of the Muwekma children from different lineages residing in or near the Niles, Pleasanton, Livermore, and Sunol rancherias. Noted Berkeley Anthropologist Alfred Kroeber had interviewed Raphaela in 1904 and 1909. Margaret's brother Enos had served during WW II in Patton's tank outfit.
A year and ten months later, the Sanchezes had their next child, Dolores Sanchez on December 25, 1911, and she too was baptized at Mission San Jose and her godparents were Pete and Muwekma Elder, Madrina Maggie Juarez. Their next child was Augustina Sanchez, who was born in 1914, and she was baptized at St. Augustine's Church in Pleasanton located approximately one mile from the Alisal Rancheria and her godparents were Pete and Maggie Juarez. On January 25, 1916, Ramona and Porfidio had their third daughter Paulina, who was also baptized at St. Augustine's Church and her godparents were Pete Juarez and Muwekma Elder, Francisca Guzman. Paulina had died as a child.
On March 26, 1917, Ramona gave birth to Robert Sanchez, who was also baptized at St. Augustine's Church. Robert's godparents were Muwekma Elders Joseph Eulario Gonzales and his niece Maggie Juarez. During WW II Robert had served in the 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, which was attached to the 82nd Airborne Division, during the D-Day invasion.
Margaret was two years old when her mother, Ramona Marine Sanchez died from tuberculosis on May 29, 1921. Ramona was buried in the Ohlone Indian Cemetery in Fremont. During this period of time, the Sanchez family was living on the Bill Parks ranch in Milpitas. Margaret's father Porfidio Sanchez was working as a vaquero and could not take care of all the children. Margaret's two brothers, Enos and Robert, went to live with relatives, and Margaret briefly went to live with Muwekma Elder Susanna Nichols in Niles. Margaret's older two sisters, Dolores and Augustina were placed in the Lady of the Palms (St. Mary's) Orphanage at Mission San Jose. They both entered into the orphanage as "half orphans" on August 6, 1921, and were cared for by the Carmelite nuns. Years later, in 1928 for a short period of time, Margaret also entered the Orphanage and resided there with her sister, Augustina. During their stay at the orphanage, they were frequently visited by their father Porfidio, uncles Lucas and Dario, their aunt Trina Marine and other relatives.
Muwekma Ohlone Tribe Presentation
At the Milpitas Historical Society
By 1930, Margaret had left the orphanage and was living with her father, stepmother and brother, Robert on the old State Highway in the Warm Springs District near the Mission San Jose. Both Margaret and her sister Dolores had married two brothers, Candalario Martinez and Manuel Martinez, who along with their mother had immigrated to the United States from Mexico around 1914. Dolores had married Manuel in 1930 and they lived with Candalario and their mother, on Oakland Highway and Calaveras Road not far from Bill Parks Ranch in Milpitas.
When the United States Congress passed the California Indian Jurisdictional in 1928, it was Margaret's mother's older sister, Tia Dolores Marine Galvan, who had enrolled Margaret and her siblings with the Bureau of Indian Affairs on March 18, 1932 (BIA Application #10680).
Years later, during the early 1960s, the Verona Band/Muwekma Ohlone families gathered and worked under the principal efforts of their aunt Dolores Marine Galvan and her daughter, Dottie Galvan Lameira, in order to protect the Ohlone Indian Cemetery in Fremont from destruction. Margaret and her three sons attended various meetings and barbeques that were held near Mission San Jose. Margaret and her three sons were also listed on the "Ohlone Chapter, American Indian Historical Society" list along with her aunt, cousins, brother, sister, nieces and nephews and other Muwekma Tribal families in 1965.
During the Vietnam War era, two of Margaret's sons served in the United States Armed Forces. Ricardo Martinez served in the U.S. Army in Vietnam and his younger brother, Robert C. Martinez, Sr. was a Sergeant in the Air Cavalry, 14th Cavalry Regiment, United States Army, European, 7th Army Command, between May 22, 1968 and May 14, 1970.
On August 21, 1969, Margaret Martinez and her family enrolled with the BIA once again (#43513). On the application, Question 6 requested of the enrollee to Name the California Tribe, Band or Group of Indians with which your ancestors were affiliated on June 1, 1852. Margaret responded "Ohlone Mission Indian."
Raising her family and tending her garden over the years, Margaret was a life long resident of Milpitas. A petite woman who carried her Indian heritage with a quiet dignity, she was also a member of the Milpitas Historical Society, who had honored her on several occasions.
By 1984, the Muwekma Ohlone Tribal leadership had formed a formal tribal government in order to articulate with Federal, State and local agencies about legal and cultural issues confronting the disenfranchised Muwekma Ohlone Tribal community. A few years later, Margaret's grandson, Robert Martinez, Jr. joined the Muwekma Tribal Council, and he continues to this day to serve on the Council. As the Tribal Council developed policies and political strategies to deal with legal issues, Margaret and her family had supported the effort by the Tribe to regain Federal Recognition from the U.S. Government. Margaret also participated in a leadership position as an Elder along with her older siblings Enos, Dolores and Robert Sanchez in the early 1980s.
Much like her cousins and siblings who have passed away, Margaret was a bridge between two worlds the harsh transitional world of the neglected Verona Band of Alameda County of which she was recently the eldest surviving member of that Federally Acknowledged Tribal entity and the revitalized and organized Muwekma Ohlone Tribe to which she was a Tribal Elder. Soft spoken, she fully knew and understood her Ohlone Indian identity, however, she carried deep within her the memories of her childhood and the pain of family disruption through the loss of her mother, Ramona Marine.
Margaret lived to see a potentially bright future for all of the Muwekma Ohlone families. She also saw history being made when the title of the Ohlone Indian Cemetery in Fremont pass from the Catholic Church to the American Indian Historical Society and then to her cousins whom made up the Board of Directors of Ohlone Indian Tribe, Inc. in 1971. Margaret also lived to see the Muwekma obtain a formal determination by the BIA of their previous unambiguous Federal recognition; a successful lawsuit against the Department of the Interior; and a positive determination that stated that 100% of the enrolled membership of the Tribe are either a living member or directly descended from a member of the previously recognized Verona Band, which was also determined to be a Historic Tribe. She also lived to see U.S. District Judge, Ricardo Urbina state and agree that:
Margaret represented the fifth generation of a line of Ohlone Indian women whose lives at the time of European contact in 1769 were disrupted by the expanding Hispanic Empire and the later American Conquest of California. All of Margaret's maternal Ohlone ancestors were brought into Mission San Jose and Mission Dolores in San Francisco. Margaret's lineage and heritage is descended from her great-great-grandmother Efrena Quennatole who was born in 1797 and was of the Karkin Ohlone/Napian Tribe of the North San Francisco Bay area and her great-great-grandfather, Liberato Culpecse who was born in 1787 and baptized at Mission Dolores. Liberato Culpecse was of the Jalquin Tribe of the East Bay whose aboriginal territory included southern Oakland, Hayward, San Lorenzo and San Leandro.
Efrena and Liberato's daughter was Maria Efrena Yakilamne. She was born in 1832 and was baptized at the Mission San Jose and buried at the Ohlone Cemetery. Maria Efrena had married an Indian man named Panfilio Yakilamne and their daughter was Avelina Cornates Marine who was born in 1863. Avelina was also baptized at the Mission San Jose and buried at the Ohlone Cemetery in October 1904. One of Avelina's middle daughters was Ramona Marine who was born on June 15, 1893 on the Pleasanton Rancheria and was she also baptized at a the Mission San Jose and buried at the Ohlone Cemetery in May 1921, just two weeks short of her 28th birthday.
Following in the footsteps of her mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, great-great grandmother and her Ohlone ancestors, Margaret carried herself with a quiet dignity. Since the passing of her older cousin, Mary Archuleta in November 2002, Margaret became the oldest living member of the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe. As the oldest surviving member of the Verona Band, which was Federally Recognized between 1906 and 1927, and as an Elder of the Tribe, her passing leaves a major gulf in the lives of everyone within the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe. Margaret Martinez is survived by her loving family, her sons Natividad, Ricardo and Robert and their families. She is also survived by all of her grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchild and by her relations of the Marine lineages as well as the Tribal members from the other lineages who are enrolled in the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe.
Margaret was born thirteen years after the Verona Band became Federally Recognized and eight years before her Tribe the Verona Band of Alameda County was illegally "Terminated" by a BIA bureaucrat, Lafayette A. Dorrington, who was derelict in his duties to all of the California Indian Tribes under his jurisdiction at the Sacramento Indian Agency. Margaret was born five years before most American Indians became citizens in 1924, which came about because so many Indian men, including Muwekma men, had served overseas during World War I.
Margaret's passing represents 100 years since the Verona Band first became Federally Recognized through an Act of the United States Congress. The members of the Verona Band/Muwekma Ohlone Tribe have been waiting since 1906 for their rights to be enforced by the United States Government and Margaret had been waiting her entire 87-year life span for full Federal Recognition rights to be accorded to her Tribe. In her own quiet way, Margaret had made major contributions towards the reaffirmation of the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe and she leaves that legacy for the future generations of the Tribe.
Go with peace and join your sisters, brothers, cousins, aunts, uncles, Tribal relations and ancestors and know that you made this world a better place for your Tribe.
Margaret Muwekma MiCCiSkuS, Wáaka 'AyttakiS 'I-Mittiinikne SiSkakma,
Wáaka 'AyttakiS Hityupekne 'I- SiSkakma!
Margaret Was A Muwekma Elder, She Was A Woman Who Grew Plants,
She Was A Woman Who Loved Her Plants!
Sunday, August 6, 2006
Visitation: 5:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m.
Monday, August 7, 2006
Mass: 10:00 a.m.
"And though I be absent in the flesh, yet I am with you in the Spirit." Col. 2:5