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All Ohlone

Posted on Monday, March 23rd, 2009.

One of the highlights of our stay in Salinas, California has been learning about the rich mix of cultures that make up Monterey County. The Ohlone Costanoan Esselen Nation (OCEN) is an American Indian community historically known as the Monterey Band of Monterey County. By 1927, however, this group and other California tribal bands were removed from the list of federally recognized tribes.

Pauline Arias

Several members of OCEN came into the Booth to talk about their lives. Recurring themes that surfaced in these interviews included the group’s efforts to regain federal recognition, and stories of growing up at a time when there was still a stigma attached to being American Indian. Pauline Arias talked about the fact that her family long identified as Mexican and how she felt when she discovered her Indian heritage. She also talked about how she is now learning more about tribal traditions and trying to pass those traditions on to her children.

Gary Martinez

Pauline’s brothers, Gary and James Martinez, talked about how their grandmother worked with the Bureau of Indian Affairs to help validate the claims of many families that they too were of Native American descent.


Louise J Miranda Ramirez talked about learning about and preserving the tribal language and traditions, which has become a full-time job. She shared folklore in the Esselen tongue and talked about how her practice of tribal traditions has kept her connected to the spirits of her grandmother and her daughter who both passed away at different points in her life.

Louise J. Miranda Ramirez

4 Responses to “All Ohlone”

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  • i am pleased to be apart of this tribe. and i thank my grandma pauline for getting me involved with the tribe. and louise for helping me understand and try to speak the language with the translation of the prayer. i am very thankful :]

    Comment from sarah ortega on March 27, 2009 at 6:54 pm - Reply to this Comment
  • And thank you Louise, Pauline, James and Gary, for being the bridges over which our ancestors travel to visit us. I’m so proud to be your little sister, Louise. Cha’a Esselen!

    Comment from deborah miranda on March 26, 2009 at 6:41 am - Reply to this Comment
  • Nimasianexelpasaleki Jeremy – Thank you for honoring us with this blog, so many California Indian Tribes have been forgotten under the statement of “Culturally Extint.” Our Ancestors existed, we exist, Cha’a Esselen! I Thank the Creator for having you there to hear our stories, keep up the great work. Las Otno Ayam Taxawi Name

    Comment from Louise J. Miranda Ramirez on March 25, 2009 at 1:36 pm - Reply to this Comment
  • Wonderful piece, Jeremy. Thank you for including such wonderful photographs of the people you describe.

    Comment from Alex on March 24, 2009 at 2:14 pm - Reply to this Comment

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