Michael Little Bear was born in the Mission District of San Francisco; a Native American child like many in that era that was stolen from his mother at just 10 days old by Catholic Social Services, spent his youth in foster homes, group homes and was formerly incarcerated as a young adult. After a lifelong mission to find his people, Michael finally located is family in 2022 through 23andMe.
Michael was in Labor Union Local 304 for 15 years until 2006, when an injury forced him to go on disability. Shortly after this he started volunteering at a church, quickly establishing a food pantry, an effort that expanded and he has been organizing food pantries for close to 20 years at local churches and indigenous community groups.
During this span he also started attending PowWows first at Stanford, followed by attending and cooking at the Inter-Tribal Council of California and at the Annual Honoring of the Elders Gathering at Mt. Madonna which has been attending for 16 years. During this time he provided many meals, did sweats, learned traditions and traditional healing, which he credits with giving him a new direction in life. His views his food work as reaching out with peace and love to the community.
In 2015 Michael lost his wife of 20 years. 32 days later he lost his 17 year old daughter when Stanislaus Sheriffs Police ran her friend’s car off the road killing her and 3 other teenagers.
After these losses Michael focused on his feeding efforts as part of his healing, continuing to feed homeless encampments across Oakland.
Between 2013-2017 Michael, working under Penny Opal Plant, was feeding Idle No More protesters who walked around the refineries in Benicia, Martinez, Rodeo and Richmond
Michael volunteered since 2021 cooking and donating meals at Town Nights series to feed the community.
Noe at CURYJ Michael will continue to do food pantry work in the expansion to our West Oakland location, and will expand to do other food justice work in Oakland.