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Published November 20th, 2013
Restoring History to San Leandro Creek: An Afternoon of Thoughts About Moraga's First People
Submitted by Nina Egert
Cattle walk along a trail beside Grass Valley Creek, a tributary of San Leandro Creek and part of the watershed. Photo provided

On Dec. 7, several local speakers, including Kent Long of the Friends of Joaquin Moraga Adobe and Merritt College professor Robin Freeman, will discuss the history of San Leandro Creek and the people who lived there as part of a series of events to be held over the next few months to bring awareness to the native presence along the San Leandro Creek watershed, and to support several environmental organizations striving to revitalize the watershed's steelhead population.
Recently, Freeman joined colleagues from the Friends of San Leandro Creek, East Bay Regional Parks, East Bay Municipal Utility District, and other organizations to begin to restore native plants and steelhead trout runs to the creek by focusing on its history.
Lamorinda figures prominently in the Bay Area's early historic period as the site of a Spanish and Indian battle in 1797. In his book, "A Time of Little Choice," Randall Milliken discusses the Saclan Indian resistance to Spanish missionary culture of the mid-1790s. An initial Indian revolt at Mission Dolores in 1795, during which the Saclan resistors escaped capture, was followed by a secondary chase scene in 1797. Spanish soldiers from Mission San Jose (in Fremont) rode north on horseback - most likely on the trail following the path of San Leandro Creek - to present-day Moraga, where 130 Saclans had gathered in three housing clusters. A small battle ensued, with several Spanish horses and one Saclan man being shot. The Saclan resistors were captured, and later subjected to corporal punishment at the San Francisco Presidio.
Later, in 1835, the Moraga family, descendants of the Spanish military officer in charge of settling San Francisco's presidio and mission, received land - initially slated by the Spanish to be returned to Saclan hands - as a grant from the Mexican government.
The public can learn more about the important history of the San Leandro Creek watershed and its people during this free discussion session, "Restoring History to San Leandro Creek" from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7 at the Moraga Library Conference Room. For information, call (925) 376-6852.

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