Acknowledging the Ohlone People During the Fall Holidays

November 4, 2021


During our recent all-staff meeting, I talked about the powerful work our Action Team has been doing including putting together this acknowledgment with information for our community to consider as we move further into November and fall holidays:

“As we begin the fall and holiday season, we want to ask our colleagues to be mindful that the months of October and November bring a lot of painful memories to all the Native Indigenous people, including the Ohlone people, the original stewards of their unceded home territory of Huichin, where Berkeley sits.

While many people look forward to enjoyable times with family and friends, history shows that this season is a time of mourning for all Native people, including the Ohlone people. The fall season carries with it memories of events that marked the beginning of four centuries of oppression and violence against Indigenous people, which painfully continues to this day. We should all be cognizant of that fact. See, “Don't be afraid to talk about the real history behind Thanksgiving,” to learn more about how this holiday impacts Native people.

Here are a few suggestions on what might be helpful during the months of October and November:

  • Avoid questions that could hurt others and bring awareness forward. Instead of asking, “What are you planning for this particular holiday?” or saying, “This is what I am doing...”, acknowledge and bring forth the true history of this time and the violence perpetrated on Native indigenous people. You could even share how you are acknowledging what happened and how you are bringing awareness to it.

  • Demonstrate emotional awareness when discussing certain holidays during this season, especially when talking with our Native brothers and sisters. While we are not discouraging feelings of joy during the holiday season, we encourage thoughtfulness around how those emotions are being expressed and acknowledge the hardships your coworkers might be going through.

By acknowledging this statement, we affirm our support and compassion for all Native Indigenous people, and, especially to the Ohlone people.

The Action Team

Berkeley IT”

My sincere gratitude to the Action Team for all their work on making our community more inclusive. Co-Chairs Irma Donaldson, IST-Telecom and Robert Rainey, IT Client Services; plus fellow members (I’m on the Action Team also): Caroline Boyden, Web Platform Services; Kerry Hays, IST-bConnected Service Team (retired but still active); Casey Hennig, Information Security Office; Colette Jackson, IST-Telecom; Gladys Oddoye, IST-Telecom; Liz Marsh, Director of Strategic Initiatives and Chief of Staff; Nili Ovaici, Enterprise Applications; Patricia Juarez, Enterprise Applications; Rana Silver, Enterprise Applications.

We recently added the Ohlone land acknowledgment to our website and hope other campus entities will join us.

Warm regards,


Related links: Learn more about the Action Team | Oct. 28 All Staff zoom recording | All Staff slide deck