Sat04192014

Community

Ohlone Day celebrates lifestyles of earliest Los Altos residents

The Los Altos History Museum travels back hundreds of years to relive the days of the area’s earliest residents during “Ohlone Day,” scheduled 10 a.m. to noon Oct. 5 at the museum, 51 S. San Antonio Road.

The free, family-friendly event is tailored to elementary school-age children, particularly second- through fourth-graders.

Ohlone Day celebrates the museum’s permanent exhibition, “Crown of the Peninsula,” which recently underwent a $100,000-plus renovation in the Ohlone, Rancho and Mission sections.

“When so many materials came back to us from display at Hidden Villa and Redwood Grove, we knew it was time to expand our permanent exhibit – it was time to tell the Ohlone story more fully,” said Laura Bajuk, the museum’s executive director.

A tule boat and other artifacts are still on display, supplemented by pestles, mortars and baskets from neighboring tribes. Six drawers contain interactive displays and story snippets, as well as relics not seen before.

“When the historic Halsey House in Redwood Grove is restored as an education center, as we hope it will be, we’ll work with the city to support their programs on the Ohlone,” Bajuk said.

Four teachers will oversee Ohlone Day activities, including a variety of games to practice hunting skills, a crafts area, acorn preparation and a food tasting featuring jerky, dried blueberries and pine nuts.

With well over 100 years of teaching experience between them, Mary Kuperman, a regular docent at the museum, will be on hand with fellow educators Vicki Holman, Mary Gotcher and Sandy Kelley.

“We’ve taught about the Ohlone for many years,” Kuperman said. “I’ve always been interested in Native American culture and studied their basket weaving.”

Thought to have settled in the region approximately 1,500 years ago, numerous politically autonomous Ohlone “tribelets” dotted the Bay Area, living in village groups of 200 or so people.

Ohlone settlements tended to cluster near the creeks and marshlands of the Bay.

The Los Altos-area Ohlone tribelet, called the Puichon (pronounced “pwee-chin”) claimed the territory between Stevens and San Francisquito creeks as their own.

In 1971, an ancient Puichon Ohlone dwelling site was accidentally discovered along Adobe Creek near O’Keefe Lane. From this archaeological site came the extensive Florence Fava Collection, now housed at the Los Altos History Museum.

For more information, visit www.losaltoshistory.org.

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