2015 Guests

Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz grew up in rural Oklahoma, the daughter of a tenant farmer and part-Indian mother. She has been active in the international Indigenous movement for more than four decades and is known for her lifelong commitment to national and international social justice issues. After receiving her PhD in history at the University of California at Los Angeles, she taught in the newly established Native American Studies Program at California State University, Hayward, and helped found the Departments of Ethnic Studies and Women’s Studies. Her 1977 book The Great Sioux Nation was the fundamental document at the first international conference on Indigenous peoples of the Americas, held at the United Nations’ headquarters in Geneva. Dunbar-Ortiz is the author or editor of seven other books, including Roots of Resistance: A History of Land Tenure in New Mexico. She lives in San Francisco.

Photo credit: Joseph Allen Ruanto-Ramírez

Corrina Gould is a Chochenyo and Karkin Ohlone woman, born and raised in Oakland, CA.  She is the mother of three children and currently works as the Title VII Coordinator, Office of Indian Education at the American Indian Child Resource Center, where she assists in directing an after school program that includes wrap around services for Native students in Oakland.  She is also the Co-Founder and a Lead Organizer for Indian People Organizing for Change, a small Native run organization that works on Indigenous people issues as well as sponsoring an annual Shellmound Peace Walk to bring about education and awareness of the desecration of the sacred sites in the greater Bay Area, 2005-2009.  

In April of 2011 Corrina, Wounded Knee De Ocampo and a committee of  others, joined together and put a call out to warriors to create a prayerful vigil and occupation of Sogorea Te in Vallejo CA. This is a 15 acre Sacred Site that sits along the Carquinez Straits.  The occupation lasted for 109 days and resulted in a cultural easement between the City of Vallejo, the Greater Vallejo Recreation District and two federally recognized tribes.  This struggle was victorious and will set precedence in this type of work going forward with others that are working on sacred sites issues within city boundaries in California.  

Jonathan Cordero (Ohlone/Chumash) is Assistant Professor of Sociology at California Lutheran University and Chairperson of the Association of Ramaytush Ohlone. His most recent article, "Native Persistence: Marriage, Social Structure, Political Leadership, and Intertribal Relations at Mission Dolores, 1777-1800 (Journal of California and Great Basin Anthropology, forthcoming), examines the social and political organization of California Indians during the Spanish colonial period.  In 2014 he founded the Association of Ramaytush Ohlone (www.ramaytush.com), which is dedicated to researching, revitalizing, and preserving Ramaytush Ohlone history and culture. Current projects include the Mission Dolores Mural Project and an ethnohistorical study of Ramaytush Ohlone for the National Park Service.

Nicholas Alexander Gomez is a California Native American from the Ohlone Costanoan Esselen Nation. Nicholas is a senior at San Francisco State University studying Cinema and holds a degree in Radio-Television broadcasting. Nicholas desires to use media as a tool to educate the masses on indigenous culture, history, and achieve proper representation for indigenous people of all nations. Nicholas also uses music as a tool for sharing spiritual beliefs, healing, and creating unity. He has shared and performed his music all over the country and has sold his albums all over the world.

Jack Gray is a Maori contemporary dance artist, redefining new areas of spaces in which people gather to reciprocate value systems. Born in Auckland, his urban upbringing enabled opportunities to study Contemporary Dance and Choreography at Unitec Institute of Technology, with a degree in Performing and Screen Arts. After graduating, Jack developed through scholarships to study dance in Austria (danceWEB 2001) and Taiwan (Asia Pacific Young Choreographers project 2005), meanwhile founding Atamira, a platform for Maori Contemporary Dance artists. Choreographing and performing in a multitude of projects in New Zealand, Jack resonated with creative endeavors that enabled indigenous empowerment and community interaction. Since 2012, Jack's A.M.P Scholarship to share Maori Contemporary Dance with Native American and Hawaiian cultures, led to frequent trips, projects and residencies at U.C Riverside, U.C Berkeley, University of Hawaii, Manoa, New York University, Santa Fe Arts Institute and more. Jack writes, reviews, blogs, convenes, gathers and travels widely to participate in rituals of sharing and receiving, in dialogue with people and the land and water forms in and around us.

Photo: Elisapeta Heta (Maungawhau Activation, Atamira Dance Company, 2015)