A Further Look into Campus Strikes

Two books called, The Long Walk at San Francisco State by Kay Boyle (which is an account from her own perspective of the 1968 strikes on SF State Campus) and Confrontation on Campus by Art Seidenbaum (a collective view of many well-known strikes on California university campuses), were recently donated to the ROMC Library. To be given these books means that the collection for the 1968 strikes can grow further as well, and can help give information to students about how the University was able to get the Ethnic Studies program that it’s well-known for today. It also means that students can get a detailed look at what campus protests looked like from decades ago, how these protests rose, and what issues these protests were based on.

As many students today have gone to the recent Occupy SFSU movement’s general assembly meetings, and are continuing to work together against CSU tuition hikes, the feelings of wanting to get our opinions heard as San Francisco State Students are rising. The donation of these two books give the ROMC archives more growth, as well as more of a power to educate students about the culture of our school from long ago, in comparison to today’s culture, as well as reinforcing that we as individuals at San Francisco State have voices. In other words, it is an awesome opportunity to have gotten these books, while our current events of the Bay Area have had a lot to do with protest.

In the book The Long Walk at San Francisco State, Kay Boyle who at the time was an instructor in the English Department in the late 1960’s, recalls the relationship that developed between students and faculty, as well as between all different races, because of the cause they fought for:

“We saw our students for longer periods, and in many instances more frequently than we had in our classrooms, for without willing it, and without wholly understanding it, we had become outcasts together, and the old artificial barriers were no longer there. Black, oriental, white, and Mexican, were resisting together the armed invasion of a territory we knew was entirely our own.”

–Kay Boyle, The Long Walk at San Francisco State

Art Seidenbaum, author of Confrontation on Campus, says that even peaceful efforts to fight can be seen as violent pushes for the cause:

“Society’s attention has effectively been called with predominantly hostile result. Polls indicate that the general public—more than administrators, more than politicians, and certainly more than faculty members—is more than fed up with college unrest and in a mood to punish. Legitimate questions concerning campus governance, obscured for the public by the ‘non-negotiable demands,’ nonsensical vandalism, and Anglo—Saxon name calling.”

–Art Seidenbaum, Confrontation on Campus


We Are Not A Costume Exhibit

“We Are Not A Costume” addresses and dismantles stereotypes forged by mainstream society regarding Native individuals of this country. This educational exhibit strives to present a complex understanding of the diversity of Native American cultures, as well as dispel the misrepresentations of Native regalia and jewelry often seen as costumes in film and other media.

Each piece of art: beaded, woven, sewn, painted, or collaged, represents a prayer of hope and healing. While honoring ancestors and celebrating future generations, the exhibit recognizes the Native American population, its struggles with displacement, assimilation and genocide. The collection aims to disseminate a culture;s indigenous knowledge and reclaim a passion for their heritage.

WE ARE STILL HERE: a multi-media exhibit on the historic American Indian occupation of Alcatraz Island

In 2009, in collaboration with native leaders, a group of San Francisco State and California State University East Bay students and faculty conducted interviews of native scholars and activists and documented the 40th anniversary of the historic 19-month American Indian occupation of Alcatraz Island.  The resulting exhibit was originally shown at the San Francisco State Cesar Chavez Student Center Art Gallery in November 2010 and was subsequently invited by the National Park Service to be installed on Alcatraz Island.

The multi-media exhibit contains photographs of the 40th anniversary occupation celebration; an audio landscape with excerpts from interviews of Alcatraz veterans and activists; a collage of contemporary and archival footage; contemporary native poetry; and original art.  Alcatraz historian Dr. Troy Johnson provides interpretation for what remains an important part of the history of the island and an event that sparked the flame of American Indian activism.  The occupation provided visibility for the many challenges facing America’s original peoples and led to victories in civil rights and native sovereignty.

Alcatraz occupation veterans, American Indian artists, activists and scholars, as well as the students and faculty who created the exhibit will be present at the opening to interact with the public.  The exhibit is sponsored by the Richard Oakes Multicultural Center; American Indian Studies and Cesar Chavez Institute at San Francisco State; the International Indian Treaty Council; the Department of Ethnic Studies at Cal State East Bay; and The Cultural Conservancy, a non-profit indigenous rights organization. We wish to acknowledge the support of the National Park Service and a generous donation from the Service Employees International Union Local 1021 Native American Caucus.

Join us, Sunday November 20th!

The exhibit is located next to the gift shop in the former Band Practice Room in the cellblock basement on Alcatraz Island.

Ainihkiwa Barr’s Display

Left Cabinet

Canvas paintings, rattle, mask, grass braid, pouch, beaded bracelet and rabbit fur.


This display was put together by Ainihkiwa Barr, an SFSU student and AIS major.


Continued Genocide (painting on the left):

This piece is about the continued genocide of Native peoples by the US government. Starting with contact the blanket is representative of the blankets given to the Native peoples that were intentionally covered in small pox. The Sonogram is representative of how many women were forcibly sterilized (by government funded health facilities) and are unable to bear children. The glass of wine is a nod to the alcohol problem that is going on amongst Native peoples; in many cases it is abused because of self medication to help cope with many of the injustices done to us over the years. And lastly the black background is representative of the toxic waste that is getting dumped on Native reservations (with consent of government or minimal punishment by government) which lead to cancer and other life threatening health issues.


Take Flight (painting on the right):

This painting its representative of the sky and a Fancy Shawl Powwow Dancer. Fancy Shawl regalia (what they wear) and dance looks like the flight of a butterfly. This is the type of dance that I do and love. The gracefulness of the dancers and the bright colors of their shawls make for a beautiful sight. The paintings main theme is the rebirth of Native Pride and culture. We have been through a lot but we still gather for ceremonies and powwow’s. It was representative of hope and a statement that we are still here.


Seaweed Rattle:

This is a seaweed rattle that was made for me. It is the dried bulb of the seaweed then filled in with rocks or shells or beads (depends on who is making it) to make the rattle sound when finished. Then it was painted with me in mind so a dragonfly was painted on the outer bulb. A piece of shell and feathers were attached to the top for a slight decorative purpose as well as cultural reasons from the giver. I use this one for music purposes when singing with the drum with my cousins.


Hawaiian Mask:

I helped make this in Hawaii with my friend Kailani. It is a wooden mask depicting one character of many stories that she told we while we were working on it.


Sweet Grass Braid:

This is a sweet grass braid from my home, Browning Blackfeet Nation, it is very important to my people and smells like home.


The Brown Pouch:

This is my medicine bag that was gifted to me by Melissa Nelson (AIS Professor) and it was made by her father. I use it to hold my tobacco and or sage for prayers.


Beaded Bracelet:

This is a bracelet made by my little cousin, bead work is an important aspect of our lives and its a calming thing that my family and I like doing together.


Rabbit Fur (Died of natural causes, this piece is going to be used in my regalia some day)

Come Join us!

THURSDAY, November 17- Reclaiming Remembrance from 2:30- 4:30 at The Depot, Cesar Chavez Student Center

Reclaiming Remembrance is a series of short films made by various queer-identified and indigenous filmmakers, which tie together themes of native identity, queer and two-spirit identity, legacies of colonization and more. The series was screened at the 2010 Queer Women of Color Film Festival in San Francisco, hosted by the Queer Women of Color Media Arts Project.


FRIDAY, November 18- Annual Richard OakesCelebration from 2:30- 8:30 at the Jack Adams Hall, CCSC

– ‘We are not a Costume’ Exhibit Opening at the Art Gallery

– Cultural Performances, Movie Screening/Panel Discussion, Comedic Performance, Community Feed/Potluck!

– The new ROMC reading room will be open for visiting.


SUNDAY, November 20- “We are Still Here” Installation Alcatraz Island

– a multimedia exhibit on the historic American Indian occupation of Alcatraz moves to the island. for more information, check out our Facebook.