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Susan C. Lobo


This report has two sections: first, an overview of the historic development and the social organization of the Bay Area American Indian community with an emphasis on the Oakland area, and second, a discussion of those cultural factors which contribute to a census undercount of American Indian people in the area. The Oakland American Indian community has a unique history and configuration, but also exemplifies characteristics that are found in numerous other urban American Indian communities throughout the United States. Thus, this report illuminates widespread patterns, the understanding of which will assist in correcting problems of census undercount. The data on which this report has drawn were obtained from the Intertribal Friendship House Community History Project archives which was begun in 1978. (1.) This research project is a community resource archives containing oral histories, photographs, and documents that focus on the history of the American Indian community in the Bay Area since the 1940’s. Because the Community History Project is housed at Intertribal Friendship House under its control, and is an integral part of an American Indian community-based organization, in-depth, long term ethnographic techniques have played a key methodological role in the project’s development during the past eleven years. Additional data for this report were obtained during the fall, winter, and spring of 1989-90.

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