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Ramaytush/Ohlone, San Mateo County's original inhabitants: An Introduction

A guide to more information on California's indigenous people

Land acknowledgement

We acknowledge that the land on which we gather is the traditional territory of the

Ramaytush/Ohlone people who are the original inhabitants of the San Francisco Peninsula.

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Map of the Bay Area showing indigenous people

Where to find data on indigenous people in California and the United States

The Bay Area Equity Atlas offers research and data about indigenous people in the Bay Area as well as other demographic groups. The atlas includes information such as:

  • Business ownership and revenue: Looking at data available for the Five-County Bay Area in 2012, although Native Americans had the highest business ownership rates among sole proprietorships, they were also on the lower end of average annual revenues per firm ($30,000).
  • Educational attainment: A little over one in five Native American adults are not high school graduates, while the majority have at least a high school diploma, some college, or an associate’s degree (six in 10), and nearly one in five hold a bachelor’s degree or higher.
  • Median earnings: Similar to other groups in the Bay Area, median annual earnings for Native American workers declined between 2000 and 2015 (from $49,887 to $43,835).

    The United States Indigenous Data Sovereignty Network, an independent nonprofit, gathers information about indigenous people in the United States. In their words, "The US Indigenous Data Sovereignty Network unites advocates for Indigenous data sovereignty at the tribal, state, national, and international levels. Network membership is open to all American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian data users, tribal leaders, information and communication technology providers, researchers, policymakers and planners, businesses, service providers, and community advocates."

SMCCD library books about California indigenous people

Handbook of the Indians of California V2

Sturtevant, William C. Handbook of North American Indians. Smithsonian Institution, 1978.

The Ohlone Past and Present

Bean, Lowell John. The Ohlone Past and Present : Native Americans of the San Francisco Bay Region. Ballena Press, 1994.

A Time of Little Choice

Milliken, Randall. A Time of Little Choice : the Disintegration of Tribal Culture in the San Francisco Bay Area, 1769-1810. Ballena Press, 1995.

The Ohlone Way

Margolin, Malcolm. The Ohlone Way : Indian Life in the San Francisco-Monterey Bay Area . Heyday Books, 2003.

1500 California Place Names

Bright, William, and Erwin Gustav Gudde. 1500 California Place Names Their Origin and Meaning. University of California Press, 1998, doi:10.1525/9780520920545.

Tending the Wild

Tending the Wild is an unparalleled examination of Native American knowledge and uses of California's natural resources that reshapes our understanding of native cultures and shows how we might begin to use their knowledge in our own conservation efforts.

Children of Coyote, Missionaries of Saint Francis

Recovering lost voices and exploring issues intimate and institutional, this sweeping examination of Spanish California illuminates Indian struggles against a confining colonial order and amidst harrowing depopulation.

The Association of Ramaytush Ohlone

Descendants of the original inhabitants of San Mateo County, the Ramaytush/Ohlone, describe some of their history on their organization website, The Association of Ramaytush Ohlone:

"The Ramaytush (pronounced rah-my-toosh) are the original peoples of the San Francisco Peninsula. Prior to the arrival of the Spanish, the Ramaytush Ohlone numbered approximately 1500 persons, but by the end the Mission Period only a few families had survived. Today, only one lineage is know to have produced living descendants in the present. Those descendants comprise the membership of the Association of Ramaytush Ohlone (ARO) today."

Ohlone/Costanoan teaching materials


Find about about California Tribal Courts: "Reservations, rancherias and other federal trust lands held for the benefit of Indian people and tribes in California are what is known as “Indian Country”.  A different legal jurisdictional scheme governs Indian Country, with primary authority resting with tribal and federal governments and more limited state jurisdiction."


Reference & Instruction librarian

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Cynthia McCarthy
Cañada College Library
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