Urban Rez

Many people know of the Indian Removal Act of 1830 where Native Americans were placed on reservations but few now about the Urban Indian Relocation Program of 1952. The program was issued by the federal government and ‘encourages’ Native people off of the same reservations that they were forced on to just a little over 100 years earlier. The goal of this act was to assimilate Natives into Urban America and have them leave their culture behind. This act left thousands of reservation Natives devastated and many still feel the effects of the act today. Thanks to the American Friends Service Committee, in 1955 the Intertribal Friendship House (IFH) was founded to provide services to Native Americans relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area. The IFH in Oakland California was one of the first urban American Indian community centers in the nation and still to this day serves as an “Urban Reservation” and provides a safe place for people from a variety of tribes to gather and reconnect with their culture through pow wows, community projects, dance, music and art.
The Intertribal Friendship House has been important to all Natives in the Bay Area for the last 60 years and continues to educate Native youth and create a home for Natives of all tribes. When the federal government failed the Native people this place was there to provide services and support. This is a major piece of Native culture in Oakland and without it the Native presence may have never become so strong in Oakland. Information about the Intertribal Friendship House provides an important background about Natives in Oakland and the Bay Area.

Cite this Page:

Ashlyn Warny, “Urban Rez,” Street Stories: Oakland, accessed September 23, 2018, http://streetstoriesoakland.com/items/show/178.

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