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Nancy Olsen - Anthropology and ICS


California Council for the Humanities has approved a grant entitled "Against The Odds:Native Californian Stories of Endurance and Continuance" that Beverly R. Ortiz, Marjorie Rhodes_Ousley and I wrote and submitted through the California State University, East Bay. The council approved it in December 2015 and we began working on it in January 2016. Students at CSU East Bay are involved in the project and students at De Anza who take the Cultural Anthropology class that I will be teaching this summer can be involved in the research for an exhibit that will go in the C.E. Smith Anthropology Museum at CSU East Bay next year in the spring.


Native Californians' Past

I am researching a Native American family's past - the family now descends from one of

three sisters who appear in the Mission San Jose baptism, wedding and burial records.

They are Ohlone descendants and they are interested now in learning as much about

their past and their culture as they can. Ruth Orta, is the oldest daughter of the youngest

of eight children born to one sister, Avelina Cornate - her baptismal name - who is thought to be Ohlone from the Pleasanton Rancheria. Avelina married a "red head from Costa Rica" according to Ruth, Raphael Marine. Many of the family members still live in the Newark, Fremont, and Pleasanton area to this day.  

Ruth has 6 children and many grandchildren. It is their oral history that we want to get in order to learn how the family has survived all the stresses of Indian identity during a long history of bias, industrialization, the Depression, World Wars and conflicts in Asia. What kept them going?




email Email: Nancy Olsen

Office: L-13
Hours: T-Th 11am


Last Updated: 5/1/16