On Sunday, representatives from the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe visited the upper school campus for the unveiling of a monument recognizing the land Harker’s campuses rest on as the ancestral home of Thámien Ohlone-speaking people, who are the Muwekma Ohlone’s direct ancestors.
The Harker Student Diversity Coalition (SDC) and members of Harker’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committee were in attendance to mark the occasion and show their support for building a partnership with the Tribe. The idea to create a plaque for the land acknowledgment was inspired in part by what students learned while attending diversity conferences where land recognition statements were regularly made. “In these statements, they emphasized the importance of recognizing the ancestral heritage of the land and sharing appreciation for the land we reside on,” said senior Natasha Yen, an SDC officer. The monument was one of many initiatives the SDC proposed to administrators last spring. “After we established the Student Diversity Coalition, we decided to make our proposal a reality and began working with the administration to create the plaque,” said Yen.
SDC members researched the history of the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe in the Bay Area and reached out to representatives and “shared our idea of the land recognition plaque and our hope to begin building a relationship between the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe and the Harker School. The leaders of the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe made suggestions to and approved the plaque message and we invited them to the unveiling of the plaque,” said Yen.
The plaque contains Harker’s stated commitment to “uplifting the voices, experiences, histories and heritage of the Indigenous people of this land and beyond.” To this end, Yen said, a curriculum review will be conducted to ensure the accurate teaching of Indigenous people’s histories. The tribal guests, Yen said, were appreciative of the recognition of the Bay Area’s Indigenous people and are looking forward to working with Harker to teach Indigenous history. SDC students were presented with a tribal flag as a show of the Muwekma Ohlone’s appreciation. Additional monuments will be placed at Harker’s other campuses in the fall.