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American Indian Community History Center Records
BANC MSS 2008/108  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Access
  • Accruals
  • Acquisition Information
  • Alternate Forms Available
  • System of Arrangement
  • Organizational History
  • Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements
  • Preferred Citation
  • Processing Information
  • Related Collections
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Separated Material
  • Publication Rights

  • Language of Material: English
    Contributing Institution: The Bancroft Library
    Title: American Indian Community History Center records
    Source: American Indian Community History Center (Oakland, Calif.)
    Creator: Intertribal Friendship House (Oakland, Calif.) Community History Project
    Creator: Intertribal Friendship House (Oakland, Calif.)
    Identifier/Call Number: BANC MSS 2008/108
    Physical Description: 62.45 linear feet (47 cartons, 6 card file boxes, 4 oversize folders)
    Date (inclusive): 1945-2011
    Abstract: The American Indian Community History Center records document the efforts of the Community History Project to collect and preserve the history of the San Francisco Bay Area urban American Indian community. The collection also documents the work of one of the oldest urban American Indian community centers in the United States, the Intertribal Friendship House, where the Project was housed. The records offer insights into local activities, community members, events, and organizations, many of which also have national significance. The collection consists of Intertribal Friendship House records, oral history materials, writings about Native Americans, newspaper clippings, newsletters, Community History Project records, files from project coordinator Susan Lobo, and subject, organization, and people files.
    Language of Material: Collection materials are in English
    Physical Location: Many of the Bancroft Library collections are stored offsite and advance notice may be required for use. For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.

    Access

    Cartons 1-38, Cardfile Box 6, and Oversize folders 1-4 are open for research. Cartons 39-47 contain audiovisual materials and are currently unprocessed and unavailable for use. Cardfile Boxes 1-5 contain restricted personal information and are closed to researchers until 2045.

    Accruals

    No future additions are expected.

    Acquisition Information

    The American Indian Community History Center records were given to The Bancroft Library by the Geraldine Lira, Marilyn St. Germaine, and Susan Lobo, on behalf of the American Indian Community History Center, and by Susan Lobo between 2007-2012.

    Alternate Forms Available

    There are no alternate forms of this collection.

    System of Arrangement

    Arranged to the folder level.

    Organizational History

    The Community History Project is dedicated to preserving the history of the broader San Francisco Bay Area “urban Indian” community. One of the high points in this preservation effort includes the book project, "Urban Voices: The Bay Area American Indian Community" (2002). In 1976, the Community History Project (CHP) grew out of the interests of Geraldine (Gerri) Martinez Lira, Marilyn LaPlante St. Germaine, and Susan Lobo to preserve the histories of American Indians whose lives were greatly impacted by the federal relocation programs that moved them from reservations to the Bay Area with the promise of sustainable employment, better education for their children, and affordable housing. Initially, the CHP committee focused on recording their oral histories, but as the committee expanded, with Sharon Mitchell Bennett, Charlene Betsillie and Joyce Keoke joining the project, so too did the project’s focus.
    The CHP was an Intertribal Friendship House (IFH) program. The IFH, which was founded in 1955, is one of the oldest and still operating “urban Indian centers” in the United States. The founding of the IFH was in direct response to the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs 1950s Termination Act, the Relocation Act, and the Employment Opportunity Act, which when combined, called for the removal of American Indians living near or on reservations and their relocation to urban areas. Strategic government interior policies on reservation, removal and relocation motivated many peoples to migrate to urban locations, many people left by their own volition for adventure or to "see the world," for educational or employment opportunities, or even to escape or leave behind problems they were having in their home communities. The period of the 1950s saw a great migration of American Indians and their resettlement in one of a handful of urban communities designated by the Bureau of Indian Affairs throughout the United States.
    Like most of the “urban Indian” centers that eventually developed in the United States after the mid-1950s, IFH was established by non-governmental non-profits and religious groups. For a number of years, the IFH was administered by the American Friends Service Committee, the social action arm of the Quakers that consistently refused funds from and entanglements with the government. In a short time, government provisions for job, health, and housing services waned, and the newly relocated American Indian peoples had to take on these commitments (often via the urban Indian centers such as IFH), of organizing, developing and providing the services and advocacy necessary for their own incorporation into urban society. At the same time, the maintenance of American Indian socio-cultural practices within the American Indian greater Bay Area urban community remained a priority. In addition to political and economic activism, social activities offered important interventions in that they nurtured a sense of community and belonging among the newly relocated people and in the longstanding, “urban Indian” community at-large. Social activities and annual events worked to alleviate the stresses of relocation for American Indian individuals and families and shined a public spotlight on the struggles and achievements of American Indians in the Bay Area and the broader nation.
    Though the IFH was officially founded in 1955 during the “relocation period,” there were a number of earlier efforts to support and sustain the growing “urban Indian” community that had begun to amass previously in response to poor economic opportunities on reservations. Employment opportunities in California provided incentives especially for those American Indians whose reservations communities suffered economic disenfranchisement as a result of federal Indian laws and policies. World War II also saw many American Indians join the U.S. military. This brought many enlistees to California for training and deployment. Companies like the Santa Fe Railroad also drew American Indians to California for employment. This saw the formation of a “worker colony” called the Santa Fe Indian Village in Richmond, primarily established for Acoma and Pueblo peoples whose cultural and economic stability were deeply interrupted by the railroad company’s utilization of their reservation lands for the railway. This and other companies drew thousands of American Indians to the Bay Area prior to the 1950s.
    A number of the country’s most potent American Indian political leaders and other key figures were first recognized for their work in the greater San Francisco Bay Area. They include Walter Lasley, Alice Carnes, Joe and Ann Salyer, Al Hicks, Wes Huss, Grover Sanderson, Ellie and John Hastings, Mary Eddards, Sharon Bennett, Betty Cooper Newbreast, Wilma Mankiller, Marilyn St. Germaine, Gerri Martinez Lira, Susan Lobo, Marge Good Iron (Jones), Ethel Rogoff, Alfred Elgin, Loraine Elgin, Stewart Calnimptewa, Travis Kinsley, Simon Ortiz, Eleanor McNoise, Thomas Brown, Sharon Bennett, Charlene Betsillie, James Muneta, Ruben Vera, Russell Piper, Joyce Keoke, Les Miller, Yvonne Choate, Marie Oliver, Sarah Poncho, and Bill and Carol Wahpepah.
    The American Indian Community History Center was the non-profit organization created to preserve the materials produced and collected by the Community History Project.
    (Organizational history note by Leece M. Lee, Ph.D., Ethnic Studies/Native American Studies, University of California, Berkeley.)

    Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

    Access to audio-visual materials may be restricted due to technical limitations.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], American Indian Community History Center Records, BANC MSS 2008/108, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

    Processing Information

    Processed by Bancroft Library Staff in 2008. Organizational history written by Leece M. Lee, Ph.D., Ethnic Studies/Native American Studies, University of California, Berkeley. Additions processed by Marjorie Bryer in 2019.

    Related Collections

    American Indian Community History Center poster collection (BANC PIC 2008.010)
    Pictorial material from the American Indian Community History Center records (BANC PIC 2009.067)
    Susan Lobo papers (BANC MSS 2012/233)

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The American Indian Community History Center records document the efforts of the Community History Project to collect and preserve the history of the San Francisco Bay Area urban American Indian community. The collection also documents the work of one of the oldest urban American Indian community centers in the United States, the Intertribal Friendship House, where the Project was housed. The records offer insights into local activities, community members, events, and organizations, many of which also have national significance.
    The collection arrived in several installments. Additions were integrated into the collection intellectually. Original folder titles were retained throughout.
    The collection has been divided into 13 series: Intertribal Friendship House Administrative History and Reports; Intertribal Friendship House – Additions; Oral Histories – transcribed interviews; Oral Histories – Additions; Writings Regarding Native Americans; Writings Regarding Native Americans – Additions; News Clippings; News Clippings – Additions; Newsletters; Newsletters – Additions; Community History Project records; Susan Lobo files; and Subject, Organization, and People files.

    Separated Material

    American Indian Community History Center pictorial archive has been transferred to the Pictorial Collections of The Bancroft Library.
    American Indian Community History Center poster collection has been transferred to the Pictorial Collections of The Bancroft Library.
    Digital material has been transferred to the Digital Collections of The Bancroft Library.

    Publication Rights

    Materials in this collection may be protected by the U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.). In addition, the reproduction of some materials may be restricted by terms of University of California gift or purchase agreements, donor restrictions, privacy and publicity rights, licensing and trademarks. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by copyright beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owner. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.
    All requests to reproduce, publish, quote from, or otherwise use collection materials must be submitted in writing to the Head of Public Services, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley 94720-6000. See: http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/reference/permissions.html

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Intertribal Friendship House (Oakland, Calif.) -- Community History Project -- Archives.
    Intertribal Friendship House (Oakland, Calif.) -- Archives.
    Indians of North America--California--San Francisco Bay Area
    Oral histories
    Newsletters
    Indians of South America.
    Indians of Central America.
    Indians of North America -- Urban residence -- San Francisco Bay Area
    Indians of North America -- California -- San Francisco Bay Area -- Social life and customs.
    Indians of North America -- California -- San Francisco Bay Area -- Social services.
    Indians of North America -- Civil Rights -- California -- San Francisco Bay Area.
    Indians of North America -- Education -- California -- San Francisco Bay Area
    Indians of North America -- California -- San Francisco Bay Area -- Social conditions.
    Indians of North America -- California -- San Francisco Bay Area -- Ethnic identity.
    Indians of North America -- Relocation.
    Indians of North America -- History.
    American Indian Community History Center (Oakland, Calif.)
    Intertribal Friendship House (Oakland, Calif.) Community History Project
    Intertribal Friendship House (Oakland, Calif.)