When I first began to write this ethnography in the late 1990s, the Silicon
Valley was booming. As early as five o'clock in the morning, commuters
completely jammed the freeways. Now, the area has suffered an economic
downturn and many in the "dot.com" industry are still out of work or have
left the area entirely. For Native Americans, the Silicon Valley seems to have
become both a more threatening place-when one considers, for example,
that the federal government denied the Muwekma Ohlones acknowledg-
ment-as well as a more promising place, for example, when one considers
that an Indian mascot was retired at a local high school. Despite the con-
tinued interest in Native Americans, an Indian history of the San Jose area
that includes both contemporary and past issues has received scant atten-
tion. Until recently, historians focused more on Indians on reservations in
the eighteenth century than on urban Indians in the twentieth century. It
remains amazing to me that no one else has attempted to capture both
present-day and past histories in an extended ethnographic study of Native
Americans in the Silicon Valley and beyond.
The late twentieth century and early twenty-first-and California-were
important for me as a time period for capturing Native peoples' memories.
Beginning in the 1950s and ending in the 1970s, San Jose was one site
where federal relocation brought thousands of Native Americans to try to
assimilate them into Anglo-American society. The San Francisco Bay region
has also had a pivotal role in Indian activism. In the late 1960s, urban
Native Americans claimed Alcatraz as Indian land, encouraging many other
Native activist groups around the country
struggle for tribal self-determi-
nation and sovereignty.
In the last few decades, California, in general, has
not only become home to Native Americans from all over the United States;
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