KAWL: Museum tells story of hidden Native Americans in Bay Area
"BRIAN PELLETIER: From the road, Novato’s Miwok Park looks pretty much like any other community park. People walk dogs, push strollers and ride bikes. You might notice a group of kids gathered together, but you might not see that they’re surrounding some horses. Look closer and you’ll see something unusual – they’re painting the horses.

COLLEEN HICKS: We have about 4,000 school children come every year. We’re busy throughout the school year with classes because teachers love it, it is such an interactive way to teach about Indians.

Colleen Hicks is the Executive Director of the Marin Museum of the American Indian. At first glance, like the park where the two-story museum stands, it looks like what you might expect. It’s got artifacts: feathers and photos, pottery and paintings, clothing and arrowheads. But Hicks points out the museum is not just showcasing the past.

HICKS: It is really important that people not forget that Native Americans were here and are here. So in all of my exhibits, one of the things that I do that is very important to me is I have a contemporary Native American artist in every exhibit so that you see that the culture is going on. Native American people will say all the time we’re more than our artifacts.

BRAD MARSHALL: This is part of my life. This is who I am.

Brad Marshall isone of about 3,000 people in California who claim Hupa heritage. The tribe’s ancestral lands are in the Trinity River Valley north of Redding. Marshall donated photos from his grandfather showing Hupa life: scared tribal celebrations and dancing in traditional regalia.

MARSHALL: And this is an opportunity for other people to share in the culture from which I come. And I think that’s a good thing. It gives the opportunity to see that we’re still here.

GENE BUVELOT: In Marin County they were known as the shadow people. People didn’t really know we existed."

Get the Story:
Discovering the Bay Area’s original settlers (KAWL 12/6)