As designed by PYATOK Architects for the Friendship House Association of American Indians, a modern six-story building dubbed the “Village SF” is proposed to rise up to 79 feet in height on the mostly vacant lot adjacent to the existing Friendship House building at 56 Julian Avenue in the Mission.

Envisioned as a highly visible, cultural, spiritual and community nexus for urban American Indians and Native organizations, the 43,000-square-foot Village would not only serve as the headquarters for the San Francisco American Indian Cultural District and provide a large gathering and exhibit area for the San Francisco American Indian Cultural Center, but would yield a host of supportive and social services, including healthcare, counseling and educational services, with 21 rooms of transitional housing and a green roof with a common space and vegetable garden.

And while the proposed Village still needs to be approved by San Francisco’s Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors, and a Special Use District for the site will need to be approved in order to exceed the existing 45-foot height limit for the site, the plans are slated to be granted a reprieve from having to complete an extensive environmental review. We’ll keep you posted and plugged-in.

22 thoughts on “Refined Plans for Modern Urban Village Closer to Reality”
    1. That’s an ambitious design- I hope it doesn’t loose too much through value engineering. I’m a little over the now ubiquitous Corten steel exterior, if that’s what it is.

          1. I was wondering more about the suspended tubes shattering. I suppose in any quake strong enough to cause that, we’d have much bigger problems to worry about.

  1. How exactly is that part of town a Native American cultural district? This is a fiction that has been sponsored by a non-profit power grab over land use. Of all people SocketSite should know the skinny on this.

    1. I’m about the last person to jump on the “We are on native land” bandwagon, but … seriously? One of the most decimated and forgotten ethnic groups in the country, and you’re quibbling that there aren’t enough Native residents in the area to make it a “district”?!

  2. How about the genocidal colonial land grab and occupation over the last two-plus centuries? This is a beautiful building in a location that needs it desperately. Beat up on greedy real estate developers, not on community nonprofits.

  3. The nonprofits in SF are the primary vehicle for corruption and land grabbing being blatantly abused under the guise of minority/art groups. If you don’t think there aren’t specific developers in on this game, you’re clueless. The Mission is dominated by these organizations and handful of developers they’ll approve projects to be developed by – the city is completely complicit in this con. Speaking of genocide, SF streets are full of people dying from Fentanyl ODs. Who supports the causes for homeless and drug addicts? Non profits!

    1. Why the vitrol? Are you and “unlivablecity” developers, flippers, or some other hanger-on in the SF real estate “game” trying to profit from the runaway gentrification in The Mission or do you just feel strong class affinity for other members of the petite bourgeoisie who are?

      This project proposed by a non-profit is not going to stop you from making your money.

  4. The notion that some random racial “identity” group can lay claim to controlling land use in any neighborhood in San Francisco is absurd and probably unconstitutional. Worse still, in this case there was never any genuine “indigenous” backing. Calle 24 was told they couldn’t expand all the way to Division so they cooked up this ridiculous facade. It’s a scam that takes away the rights of property owners. Wake up

    1. They don’t dictate or control land use over the neighborhood. Head over to Nextdoor with the rest of the racists.

    2. From the legislation to establish the cultural district, as linked above:

      San Francisco is the aboriginal home of the Ramaytush Ohlone Peoples. There are known and documented Ohlone cultural resources and sacred sites within the District, including the home of a once-thriving Ohlone village called “E-la-muh,” which was located in the area currently known as Mission Dolores Park. Nearby within the District is Mission Dolores. Many American Indian community members see the Mission as a reminder of the painful history of the Mission Era, which lasted from I769 to 1833. The missions were created to convert American Indians to Christianity. Historical documentation of missions reflect enslavement, forced religious practices, division of families, forced labor, and cruel punishment including the use of irons and whips. The average lifespan of a Native American in the mission system was ten years. This area holds a unique historical perspective to the American Indian community. First Nations people do not just see a park and a mission, they recognize an area that started as a thriving village site and transitioned to an area of great suffering, where California Native Americans have been buried.

      Following the Mission Era, government policies stripped aboriginal people of millions of acres of their land, created boarding schools that ran until the 1970 ‘s to “civilize” Indian children and implemented policies to end government assistance to tribes. In 1952, the Bureau of Indian Affairs implemented an urban Indian relocation program to assimilate American Indians into “modern culture.” This program gave Indians one-way tickets to urban areas. San Francisco was one of four counties in California to receive a large influx of American Indians from all over the United States. American Indian people waited for days and weeks at local bus stations for government representatives to meet families and carry out the promise of stable employment and success in the urban cities.

      San Francisco was one of the largest relocation cities in the United States. As the urban American Indian population in San Francisco began to expand, the Mission District became a home base for that community. To remedy the lack of adequate government support, the community developed its own support systems, including social services, cultural retention activities, employment and housing opportunities. education. political empowerment. and some of the first urban pow wows. The community also came together to develop cultural programming, education courses, annual events, Native-owned and supported businesses, community gathering spaces, and an American Indian Cultural Center (AICC). These American Indian-based enterprises and the rich cultural hist01y of the area are at the heart of the proposed District.

      The 16th Street corridor was home to the first AICC, located on 16th and Valencia Streets, and the second AICC, located at 223-225 Valencia Street at Duboce Street from 1969 to the 1980s. The AICC was the meeting place for Bay Area American Indian organizations and home of the United Bay Indian Council, which brought together 30 clubs into one large Council. The American Indian Movement originally held an office in the AICC before moving to the International Indian Treaty Council on Mission Street. The buildings that housed the AICC and the surrounding areas hold great importance to the community and have provided a home for historically and politically significant events.

      Across the street from the AICC, Al Smith owned a trading post where the Native community came together to sell arts, crafts, and beadwork. Other meeting spots in the area included places such as Aunt Mary’s, a cafe across from the Roxie Theater where the Native community would gather for breakfast, and the Rainbow Cattle Company, a bar on Duboce and Valencia Streets. Muddv Waters and Modern Times, popular spots for artists, poetry nights, and speaking engagements, have also been located on Valencia Street. These gathering places reflect the history of a strong cultural connection to the area among Indian Americans.

      The District was also at the center of the Red Power/American Indian Movement and was home to famous Native activist, Richard Oakes. Oakes met within the District regularly with Adam Fortunate Eagle, Chairman of the United Bay Area Council of American Indian Affairs, to plan the 1969-1971 occupation of Alcatraz by “Indians of all Tribes.” This movement changed federal Indian termination policies, created a new era of self-determination, and brought attention to the needs of the American Indian community in San Francisco. On February 11, 1978, “The Longest Walk,” a five-month, cross country march began in San Francisco on Alcatraz Island. The march concluded in Washington D. C. on July 15, 1978, and raised public awareness about the growing governmental threat to American Indian sovereignty. Although President Carter refused to meet with the marchers, Congress responded to the public pressure by declining to pass a proposed anti-treaty bill and passing the American Indian Religious Freedom Act, Public Law No. 95-341. 92 Stat. 469 (Aug. 11, 1978).

      The Redstone Building, also known as the Redstone Labor Temple (and formerly called The San Francisco Labor Temple), located at 2940 16th Street, was a hub of union organizing and work activities, historic labor communities, and various programs for over 50 years. American Indian programs that have been housed in this central space for community building include the International Indian Treaty Council, American Indian Film Institute, 500 Years Coalition, and the Big Mountain Support Group.

      American Indian events and services initiated in the District continue today, including San Francisco’s first Pow Wow, which initiated at 5051 Mission Street in 1975, and the AICC, which was established in 1968. As of 2019, the AICC is in the process of re-establishing its roots in the District with a Cultural Center to bring back a space for American Indian programming, events, and community services. Other examples of American Indian services that originated and still operate in the District include The Friendship House of American Indians, the Native American Health Center, and American Indian education programs.

      Which brings us back to the plans and proposed building at hand…

      1. Clearly, when the Spanish situated Mission Dolores where they did, it was not to exploit the indigenous people by the creek, but rather if was a crafty plan to limit property rights in the north Mission two hundred and fifty years in the future by creating a formidable network of omnipotent non-profits which would – and now does! – oppress and harass the great men and women whose only crime is to wanting to improve the formerly relatively affordable neighborhood by converting it into a vast expanse of luxury lofts and microstudios for now- and soon-to-be-unemployed symbol manipulators.

  5. Cool building as proposed, interesting story behind it, and kudos to our intrepid socketsite editor for surfacing the underlying context.

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