image - native american workshops
Farinando Piazon uses raffia to weave a raft made of tule, a marsh plant found in the nearby wetland areas and utilized by the indigenous Ohlone people. The Native American cultural workshop was held at the Half Moon Bay Library on Nov. 20 to teach children about tools used by local Bay Area tribes. Kyle Ludowitz/Review

November is National American Indian Heritage Month. The period of recognition is the result of almost a century of progress. 

One of the first milestones was in 1915, when the Congress of the American Indian Association approved a plan concerning American Indian Day. 

This formal recognition laid the groundwork for National American Indian Heritage Month. In 1990, President George H. W. Bush approved a joint resolution designating November 1990 as National American Indian Heritage Month. Henceforth, similar proclamations have been issued annually. 

The Half Moon Bay Library has joined in with institutions that include the Library of Congress, the National Park Service, and the Smithsonian Institution in order to pay tribute. 

On Nov. 20, the local library hosted Peopleologie, an organization that provides an inside look at ancient and contemporary indigenous life through various workshops. On that day, the library transformed into an exploration ground featuring local Miwok and Ohlone history and life. 

Over the weekend, it was teenagers’ time to express themselves while learning to “Paint Like Pop Chalee.” Chalee was an American painter who rose to fame during the 1930s as interest in Native American art began to peak. Chalee is known for her forest scenes as well as leaping horses that look as though they are about to gallop out of the canvas. 

Christie Inocencio, a creative specialist with Christie’s Creative Cupboard, was on hand to teach the teens about the artist. During the month, Inocencio has visited 11 of the library branches to share her knowledge about Chalee and other artists. 

“I wanted to bring attention to Native American month, and especially how they contributed to our society through their art,” wrote Inocencio in a text message. “I created the ‘Paint Like’ program to include six Native American artists in order to bring attention to who they were and what they offered to our world. 

“Three were generational, being grandmother, mother, and granddaughter,” she continued. “One reason I chose who I did is due to how their art looked as well as if the projects were something the library patrons would enjoy and find paintable.”


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