MBARI is located on the unceded land of the Hueñeren and Guacharron peoples. This area was home to a settlement called Locuyusta in the region of Calendaruc, which means “ocean homeplace.” The native peoples of this area were taken to Mission San Juan Bautista and Mission San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo. Native people taken to Mission San Juan Bautista are represented today by the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band.
This land acknowledgement statement was developed in partnership with the Amah Mutsun Land Trust.
The indigenous people of Moss Landing
There is little specific and reliable historical information about the identity of native peoples in the general vicinity of Moss Landing and Elkhorn Slough. Often, mission records simply referred to the area or settlement that native people came from, without identifying their tribal affiliation. These records suggest the area was home to Hueñeren and / or Guacharron people, who may have spoken the Mutsun, Rumsen, or Awaswas language, or a dialect of one of these languages. These are part of the Costanoan / Ohlone language family spoken by native peoples from the Golden Gate southward to Carmel and inland to the Diablo Range. The northern coastal portion of the Monterey Bay was called “Calendaruc” (meaning “ocean homeplace”), and it included a settlement called “Locuyusta.” This area surely contained many other settlements whose names were not written down.
Native peoples in this region lived in small settlements that ranged in size from roughly 50 to 200 or more people. Tribes moved between settlements seasonally, residing at lower elevations in the spring and summer months, then moving into the mountains in fall to harvest and store acorns and other nuts. Sometimes, tribe members may have lived among several different settlements, at other times coming together as a larger group. People also sometimes resided at short-term settlements established to harvest particular resources, such as shellfish and other coastal resources. Tribes in this region were natural resource managers and land stewards who increased the populations and productivity of wild food plants through prescribed burning and other tending methods.
These tribes tended and harvested a wide variety of foods from many different ecosystems. In coastal areas, they ate shellfish including California mussel, abalone, turban snail, leaf barnacle, clams, limpets, gumboot chiton, barnacles, and others. Other marine foods included sea mammals, seaweeds, urchin, crabs, and fishes from both rocky intertidal and sandy shoreline areas. Small schooling fish such as anchovies, herring, and sardines were caught with fine mesh nets, while larger fish were caught with hook and line. In grasslands maintained through regular prescribed burning, members harvested green foods such as native clovers, bracken fern, and soaproot; seed foods such as brome grass, wild rye, tarweed, and red maids; and geophytes (bulbs and corms) such as cluster-lilies, blue dicks, and soaproot. In shrublands and forests, they harvested nuts and berries including acorn, hazelnut, California bay nut, chinquapin, blackberries, thimbleberries, and huckleberries. Tribes tended and used hundreds of different plants for food, medicine, crafting, and construction. Deer and rabbits were the most often hunted land animals, but tule elk, squirrels, and a variety of rodents were also harvested. Commonly hunted birds included ducks, geese, and quail.
Using the land acknowledgement
MBARI staff are encouraged to read the land acknowledgement at the beginning of gatherings and events. Use of the land acknowledgement should be done respectfully and not become merely routine.
Pronunciations of the tribes are: Hueñeren “Hwenn-yer-enn,” Guacharron “Gwa-char-own,” Locuyusta “Low-coo-ee-oo-stah,” Calendaruc “Cah-lenn-dah-rook,” and Amah Mutsun “Ah-mah Moot-soon.” Please be sure that the tribes’ names are pronounced correctly and that the entire acknowledgement is read carefully.
It is appropriate for the host of events held at MBARI to read the acknowledgement.
It is not appropriate to create alternative statements, alter the acknowledgement, or invent ceremonial rituals when reading the land acknowledgement.