For thousands of years, the Bay Area has been the home of many, diverse groups of Indigenous Peoples with complex cultures and relationships to the land. Join Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST) and California State Parks for a three-part webinar series delivered by Mark Hylkema, California State Parks Archaeologist and Adjunct Professor of Anthropology at Foothill College. Mark will draw from over 40 years of experience studying the history of California native people, focusing on Indigenous cultures of the Peninsula and the South Bay. This is an exciting opportunity to hear Mark share his knowledge and experience in an online webinar format for the very first time! The event is also supported by the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District.
Register once and you’re in for all three webinars.


Indigenous Peoples of the Bay Area Part 1: Overview – June 12

Before the Spanish arrived here and before California became a part of the United States, the Bay Area was one of the most densely populated and linguistically diverse areas in North America. This session is a broad overview of historic Indigenous communities in our area based on what we know of archaeological studies and oral histories. Participants will learn a basic framework for understanding the complex and varied native communities of the Peninsula and the South Bay.
Watch now on POST’s Youtube Channel.


Indigenous Peoples of the Bay Area Part 2: Ethnobotany and Land Stewardship – June 19

California ecosystems have evolved with thoughtful active management by diverse human communities over thousands of years. This session will examine some of the interactions Indigenous Peoples of the Bay Area had (and still have) with our landscape. We will highlight specific plant and animal relationships, as well as stewardship practices using examples from our local landscape. 


Indigenous Peoples of the Bay Area Part 3: Economy, Spirituality, and Culture – June 26

This session will focus on interesting aspects of what we know about historic Indigenous culture, society, economy and spirituality. Participants will hear about examples of trade networks that existed, taking products made and collected by Bay Area communities far and wide. They’ll also learn about aspects of village life, spirituality, and sacred relationships with our local landscape. We’ll also share some resources for how you can learn and support contemporary Indigenous communities in our area. 


More about our Instructor, Mark Hylkema

Mark Hylkema holds an M.A. of Anthropology from San Jose State University. He worked as an Archaeologist with the California Department of Transportation for 12 years, prior to his current role as an Archaeologist and Tribal Liaison for the Santa Cruz District of California State Parks. Mark has led a variety of investigations throughout the Peninsula and South Bay, including many areas protected by Peninsula Open Space Trust and our Partners. A primary focus of his work has been to support contemporary local Indigenous groups throughout his career. 


This event is part of POST’s community event series, which is open to the general public as well as POST donors. We hope you’ll join us! We also curate a separate series of private events for our donors. Learn how you can support POST here:

About our Partners

Peninsula Open Space Trust protects and cares for open space, farms and parkland in and around Silicon Valley. Since 1977, POST has protected over 76,000 acres in San Mateo, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz Counties.

California State Parks provides for the health, inspiration and education of the people of California by helping to preserve the state’s extraordinary biological diversity, protecting its most valued natural and cultural resources, and creating opportunities for high-quality outdoor recreation.

Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District is an independent special district in the San Francisco Bay Area that has preserved a regional greenbelt system of over 63,000 acres of public land and manages 26 open space preserves.

Midpen logo.

Learn more about Contemporary Tribes and Current Issues:

It is important to reiterate that while this webinar series is a discussion of history here in the Bay Area, it is not a substitute for educating ourselves about current day Tribes and Indigenous organizations within our area, as well as supporting these causes. While there is a great diversity of Indigenous communities in the Bay Area, we want to acknowledge the Amah Mutsun and Muwekma Tribal Bands, as well as several others, who are most centrally located within our focus area of the Peninsula and the South Bay. Please read below for additional resources. This is by no means a comprehensive list, and we encourage participants to share additional resources in the discussion section of our live events.



  • Muwekma Tribal Band – The present-day Muwekma Ohlone Tribe is comprised of all the known surviving lineages indigenous to the San Francisco Bay Region who trace their ancestry through the Missions Dolores, Santa Clara and San Jose, and who are also members of the historic Federally recognized Verona Band of Alameda County. Learn about the Tribe’s history, culture and people on their website or Facebook Page.


  • Indian Canyon – During the 1700s and 1800s Indian Canyon served as a safe haven for local Indigenous peoples who were being abducted/recruited/bribed/transported to the Missions by the Spaniards. The local Ohlone peoples knew the terrain and were able to traverse the territory into the secluded valley of Indian Canyon south of Hollister.  Since then, Indian Canyon has remained a safe haven. Currently, Ann Marie Sayers and her daughter, Kanyon Sayers-Roods, have opened up the Canyon for all Indigenous Peoples in need of land for ceremony.
    -Watch the film In the Land of My Ancestors about the life and work of Ann Marie Sayers.
    -Watch this recent interview with Kanyon “Coyote Woman” Sayers-Roods about Indian Canyon, her work, issues surrounding education, appreciation and cultural appropriation. You can learn more about Kanyon’s work here.
    -Please consider donating to Indian Canyon here.


  • Ramaytush Ohlone – The Ramaytush (pronounced rah-my-toosh) are the only original people of the San Francisco Peninsula. In the baptismal records of Mission Dolores, Aramai referred specifically to the area containing the villages of Timigtac and Pruristac.


  • Cafe Ohlone is a place to understand the importance of the revival of Ohlone foodways through memories of elders, where this first Californian cuisine is prepared by Ohlone standards. It is also a place for meaningful, boundary-breaking dialogue, a place where poetry and song in California Indian languages and organized talks from leaders in the Ohlone community share living stories.


  • The Sogorea Te Land Trust is an urban Indigenous women-led community organization that facilitates the return of Chochenyo and Karkin Ohlone lands in the San Francisco Bay Area to Indigenous stewardship. Sogorea Te creates opportunities for all people living in Ohlone territory to work together to re-envision the Bay Area community and what it means to live on Ohlone land. Guided by the belief that land is the foundation that can bring us together, Sogorea Te calls on us all to heal from the legacies of colonialism and genocide, to remember different ways of living, and to do the work that our ancestors and future generations are calling us to do.


Books Mark Hylkema recommended in Session 2:

  •  Tending the Wild by M. Kat Anderson
  • California Indians and Their Environment by Kent Lightfoot and Otis Parrish
  • An American Genocide by Benjamin Madley
  • Mabel McKay: Weaving the Dream by Greg Sarris


Thank you, and we look forward to joining you on this journey of learning!

More Events

The Guardians Film Screening

Vida Verde – Educational Equity in the Outdoors

Scroll to top