Louie and Annie Oliver
Louie Oliver was 27 years old at the time of his father, Casus’ death in 1916. He and his wife, Annie, had one daughter at that time. They lived at the Buena Vista Rancheria and eventually had five children; Myrtle, Lucille, Elinor, Enos and Marie.
In 1927, the federal government purchased the Buena Vista property from Louie and Marjory Alpers in fee for the use of homeless Indians. The Olivers lived on the property at the time.
When the U.S. Congress passed the Indian Reorganization Act in 1934, Louie and Annie Oliver remained on the property. Myrtle and Marie died as children and according to the United States Indian Census Roll in 1941, Louie and Annie Oliver and their three children, Lucille, Elinor and Enos were the only ‘enrolled’ occupants of the Buena Vista Rancheria.
And when Congress passed the California Rancheria Act in 1958, Louie and Annie Oliver were deeded the property:
“Mr. Oliver is the only assignee and he and his family are the only Indians who have lived on the Rancheria since 1935.”
Louie and Annie loved their heritage and their land. They celebrated their customs and their culture through annual gatherings, welcoming all tribes.
"Sponsoring a "feed" was a traditional responsibility for a Miwuk captain, and one that Casus's son Louie maintained following his father's death in 1916. Several long tables were set out and groups of people would take turns eating. Elders remember Louie pacing back and forth behind seated diners, repeatedly encouraging them to eat heartily by bellowing, "ewway'epo! ewway'epo!"
These annual gatherings took place on Memorial Day and lasted into the late 1960's. Louie Oliver died in 1973. Today, though the roundhouse has long since collapsed and reverted to the earth, and the old hosts have passed on, memories of sunny May afternoons, abundant servings of good food, and warm hospitality remain in the hearts and minds of many."
- Deeper Than Gold: A guide to Indian life in the Sierra foothills, by Brian Bibby, Dugan Aguilar, 2005
Over the years, it was difficult for tribes, and the promised assistance from the federal governments never came. Not until 1983 did the Buena Vista and 16 other tribes win their law suit to be reinstated as federally-recognized Indian tribes, and reestablish their rights to critical forms of federal assistance. .
But Louie and Annie remained on the land they knew as their home. If not for them, the Buena Vista Rancheria would not exist, for had they moved on as did their siblings, the land would not have remained in the family. Even after their children moved on, Louie and Annie stayed on the reservation.
Their middle child, Elinor, gave them a grandchild, Jesse Flying Cloud Pope.
Jesse was only 7 when his mother, Elinor, died in 1951, and Jesse spent most of his youth on the Rancheria with his grandfather, Louie.
Jesse and Barbara Hatfield had one child, Rhonda L. Morningstar Pope. Like her father, Rhonda lost her parent at a young age, leaving her without a father at the age of 5.
The Oliver family history is one of tradition, culture, dedication and courage. Today, the Buena Vista Rancheria remains the home to the Oliver descendents, and is alive with the traditions and culture that Louie and Annie brought to their beloved reservation.