Monday, September 14, 2009

Gone To The Mountains

Most of you didn’t previously know that I am partly descended from the Blackfoot Indians, a group of tribes located in what is now known as northern Montana and southern Alberta, Canada. For this reason I have a particular interest in the history of and empathy for the plight of Native Americans, as well as a particular interest in civil rights and humane treatment of all peoples.

The Yelamu Indians once occupied the area now known as San Francisco. The Yelamu were one of approximately 50 tribes of Indians known collectively as the Ohlone tribes. The Yelamu territory included the area known today as Crissy Field, the place I’ve been jogging. They lived and thrived here in harmony with nature for several thousand years before the Spanish colonists arrived in 1769. Then, in less than 100 years the Yelamu became extinct.

Adam Johnston, an Indian Agent during the westward expansion of the United States, took it upon himself to interview a number of Indians from the disappearing tribes. In 1850, the year California became a state, Johnston interviewed Pedro Alcantara, the last known Yelamu. Alcantara was born as a Mission Indian (the Mission now known as Mission Dolores) in 1780. At the time of the interview, Alcantara was 70 years old. Here’s some of what he said:

“I am very old. … My people were once like the sands of the shore … many … many. They have all passed away. They have died like the grass … they have gone to the mountains. I do not complain. The antelope falls with the arrow. I had a son. I loved him. When the palefaces came he went away. I do not know where he is. I am a Christian Indian. I am all that is left of my people. I am alone.”

We too, Sue and I, are leaving this land of the Yelamu today. Hasta la vista, Yerba Buena. Sue is being discharged today. We are going to the mountains.

P.S. By tonight you will not be able to reach Sue on the are code (415) number we previously published to you. However, then you should be able to reach her directly on her cell phone. From here on, any cards or other mail should be addressed to our house. Those who want to (or who are willing to) participate in Sue's ongoing care over the next several months of recovery should contact Jessica on her cell phone, or, if you can't reach her call Sue directly.

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