Indian Health Center of Santa Clara Valley

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of the known surviving indigenous people of the San Francisco Bay region who trace their ancestry hrough the Missions Dolores, Santa Clara, and San Jose and those who were embers of the historic federally-recognized Verona Band of Alameda County. Indian Health Center of Santa Clara Valley thanks and honors the Muwekma Ohlone tribe of the San Francisco Bay Area for their generosity and hospitality in their ancestral and historic homeland.

San Jose: An Urban Indian Relocation Center

Today, over 70% of American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN) live in urban areas with California being home to one of the largest AI/AN populations in the country, including federally-recognized tribes, non-federally recognized tribes, tribes that were terminated by the US government, state recognized tribes, tribes petitioning for state and federal recognition, and urban Indian communities. In fact, California cities hold some of the highest concentrations of AI/ANs in the U.S. The 2010 Census reported that 26,569 AI/ANs live in Santa Clara County, representing over 180 tribes.

The current prevalence and diversity of urban Indian communities in cities like San Jose can be traced back to the 1950s, when the U.S. Congress enacted a series of laws and policies that terminated the federal government’s legal obligations to many Indian tribes. Termination policies aimed to assimilate American Indians into mainstream American society. These efforts included the Indian Relocation Act of 1956, which encouraged American Indians living on reservations to relocate to seven major urban cities by offering a one-way bus ticket and for some, job training. San Jose was one of four relocation sites in California. Many of our American Indian elders today were relocated during this era, remaining resilient in the face culture shock and discrimination. Between 1940 and 1960, over 122,000 American Indians moved either as part of the relocation policy, or simply in search of economic opportunity.

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