Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA) recognizes Native American contributions to the park, including their long heritage, tranditional environmental knowledge, and historic events related to the American Indian fight for social justice that have occurred on park lands.
In 1769, Spanish leaders sent Captain Juan Gaspar de Portolá to lead an expedition to stake claim to southern and central California. The expedition members were hungry, lost, and sick after six months journey. They were assisted by Native peoples along the way. About 2,000 Ramaytush Ohlone people inhabited the San Francisco Peninsula in 1769, living in a network of ten independent tribes. The Aramai tribe, of modern-day Pacifica, accompanied the explorers to the top of Sweeney Ridge, now part of GGNRA, where the Portolá party became the first Europeans to see San Francisco Bay.
Native Americans have called the San Francisco Bay region home for over 10,000 years. Park areas south of the Golden Gate, from the San Francisco Peninsula, to the East Bay and south to Monterey, are the aboriginal lands of the Ohlones (also called Costanoans).
Coast Miwok inhabited the general area of modern Marin County and southern Sonoma County, from the Golden Gate north to Duncans Point and eastward to Sonoma Creek are the aboriginal lands of the Coast Miwok (Coast Miwok included the Huimen Miwok, from authenticated Miwok villages around Muir Beach, the Marin Miwok and the Bodega Bay Miwok).
Historian Wendy Holliday, formerly of the Hopi Cultural Preservation Office, traces the government’s Indian policy and the effect it had on the people of Hopi in the late 19th century, culminating with the imprisonment of 19 Hopi men by the U.S. Army. In September 1895, these men finally returned home after spending nearly a year on Alcatraz Island.
LaNada War Jack is a member of the Shoshone Bannock Tribes and a central figure in the twentieth- and twenty-first century Native American activist movements. Between 1969 and 1971, she helped to organize a nineteen-month Native American occupation of Alcatraz Island.
Last updated: March 23, 2023