Dolores Park Could Become Part of American Indian Cultural District Under Sup. Ronen Proposal

1 DECEMBER 2020/SF NEWS/JOE KUKURA (sfist.com)

Cruelty, subjugation, and much worse took place centuries ago on the site of what we now call Dolores Park, and Supervisor Hillary Ronen wants that remembered as part of the park.

San Francisco has spawned a few designated cultural districts in the last few years, like the LGBTQ Cultural Districts and the Mission’s Calle 24 Latino Cultural District. (These are slightly different than historic districts, like the Transgender Historic District in the Tenderloin.) One lesser known district might get a boost in its visibility, as the Examiner reports on Supervisor Hillary Ronen’s proposal to include Dolores Park in an American Indian Cultural District.

The American Indian Cultural District already exists — this proposal would merely extend its boundaries into a highly foot-trafficked area. Sup. Ronen proposed the district a year ago, and it was established in March of this year when other news overshadowed it. At the time of her original proposal, Ronen was quoted by Mission Local as saying the district would “provide a recognizable home base for the American Indian community to ensure that its history and contributions are not forgotten and overwritten — and continue to be written in the present day.”

As you see from the map above, the existing American Indian Cultural District stops right before Dolores Park (at the lower left where you see the Bi-Rite Creamery). Per the Examiner, the designation would allow for the addition of “a mural project, flag banners marking the boundaries, and a walking tour using QR codes people can scan to learn more about the sites.”

Many moons ago, Dolores Park was known as Chutchui, an indigenous Ramaytush Ohlone village. Many of those Ohlone were enslaved to build Mission Dolores Church, an endeavor involving plenty of rape and murder as well, which local writer Gary Kamiya covered well in this 2019 Chronicle piece “Mission Dolores’ dark legacy for Indians: From salvation to subjugation and death.”

For obvious reasons, some Catholic churches are having trouble coming to terms with the Missions’ roles in indigenous genocide.

Ronen also has a proposal working through committee level to read a statement acknowledging the Ohlone people at the beginning of each board meeting, just as they do with the Pledge of Allegiance.

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