I'd like to thank Val Lopez, and Ed Ketchum, of the Amah Mutsun, for granting me the information that helped trace our roots.
'This series of photographs were inspired by Ohlone Tribal Chair Tony Cerda, and Mike Oliva, who were the first Ohlone community members to invite me, well - really, questioned me, if I was a photographer and filmmaker, why was I not documenting my own tribal community?' I was very grateful for their encouragement, and, really, what I felt was the permission, to document my own community's cultural revival, since I was only just starting to learn my own cultural and family history myself. Many women in the community, like Terry Reynaga, Charlene Sul, Ann Marie Sayers and Corrina Gould, also encouraged me to honor my relatives, and taught me that each film, photograph and installation, like a shell on our necklaces, is a prayer, a contribution to the overall larger Ohlone community, history and revitalization. My entire creative career shifted as a result. It very meaningful to go through the editing process, to go back and see how the work developed as my family history was revealed also over time.'
To Patrick Orozco and Rosemary Cambria, for all you sacrificed and gave.
Now that I have walked this road a bit, I wanted to share a selection from the body of work that came out of the process. This 'assignment' was much more than an assignment for me, and I reflect on that personal reconciliation process that came from learning and deeply understanding the history of my relatives. Its one thing to read a document, its quite another to actually develop contemporary relationships with people who survived, and today, we are forging new relationships, in honor of our ancestors, and what they went through. Many people - within the community, and outside - have supported my work over these years, and I hope they will feel honored with the result of the support for the creative impulses that merged with ancient callings. After all, I am Homebound by Sea.'
After working in Mexico City from 1993-2001, photojournalist Catherine Herrera returned to northern California. The professional journalism field was shifting, and as a single mom, Catherine had to shift her focus too, moving into documentary production. In 20013, Catherine Herrera photographed several articles for San Francisco's 'The Potrero View' while working with private clients to document on assignment.
The Northern California Ohlone/Native American Contemporary Life feature series is a collection from the 2001-20014 article. Catherine Herrera exhibits images from the series in collaboration with tribal governments, as well as international and U.S. galleries, cultural centers, museums, and, alternative venues.