The Chochenyo Ohlone are the original peoples of what is now called Alameda and Contra Costa counties. Because of a history of genocide and cultural erasure, most current Bay Area residents are unaware of Chochenyo Ohlone culture. Making Ohlone Visible aims to reclaim the indigenous history of this land, honoring traditions and customs of its original peoples. Celia Herrera Rodriguez, Indian People Organizing for Change (IPOC), Jesus Barraza and Melanie Cervantes from Dignidad Rebelde, and Chochenyo Ohlone youth and elders were creating three sculptures to be installed as monuments marking the sites of Chochenyo villages in Berkeley, Oakland, and Emeryville. Project partners are beginning by researching verified Chochenyo Ohlone baskets and village sites. The sculptures, created by Herrera Rodriguez and built with locally sourced materials, will have signage designed and produced by Dignidad Rebelde. Project partners intended ceremonially install the sculptures in spring 2018.
Celia Herrera Rodriguez is an indigenous Xicana O’dami visual and performing artist. This project grows out of her ongoing collaborative work with Corrina Gould, a Chochenyo Ohlone community activist. Dignidad Rebelde, founded in 2007, is a graphic arts collective dedicated to creating and distributing screen-printed political posters.
Due to an illness on the artist team and demands of other projects, this collaboration resulted in some signage of Ohlone sites and a short film by the collaborators. Among other important research that they documented was their visit to the collection of Native California baskets at The British Museum in London.