Collage art of a shellmound with historic Alameda newspaper articles in the background, with the title words “Save Shellmounds Not Parking Lots”. Artwork by Gabriel Duncan.

While these places may be on our traditional homelands, and within our tribal territories: Brownfields properties and Supferfund sites are neither appropriate, nor respectful gifts of atonement to the Indigenous People the entire Western Hemisphere was stolen from.

It is a waste of resources for indigenous non-profiteers, like Corrina Gould, to focus primarily on post-industrial sites, like the place she alleges is the “West Berkeley Shellmound“.

It is an improper use of our allies’ time, energy–and money–to have them marching around an empty parking lot, and futilely protesting an established and thriving shopping mall (Bay Street Emeryville).

All of this takes away from the reality: Ohlone cultural resources in the San Francisco Bay Area are being destroyed by development at an alarming rate.

Without intervention, Native American cultural resources, like shellmounds, and the fragile ecosystems they inhabit and have supported for over 10,000 years, will be destroyed. Paved over, without a second thought for anything other than their “fair market value”.

Parking Lots and Abandoned Post-Industrial Spaces are not a priority; compared to Federal Recognition, Federal Land Grants, and the establishment of a Tribal Land-base and an official, recognized, Ohlone tribal reservation, and sovereign tribal territory.

Urban Gardens do not address the Land Back movement in a relevant way.

Cultural Easementslike the one proposed at Joaquin Miller Park, in Oakland, Californiaare not actually land back, and do not benefit the cause Corrina Gould (under the auspices of Sogorea Te Land Trust) purports to advocate for (all the while pretending to be the “tribal chairwoman” of a non-profit corporation posing as a bona fide tribal government.)

In fact, PR events like the dedication of part of Joaquin Miller Park, in Oakland, and the renaming of a park in Alameda, are completely irrelevant to the actual cause of land back, rematriating the land, and the real priorities of bona fide tribal governments, like the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe of the San Francisco Bay Area–a tribe Corrina Gould would be a member of, if she weren’t so focused on personal gain, instead of advocating for her own tribe, and all Ohlone people.

All of this only confuses the well-meaning public; and takes attention and purpose away from the legitimate means of land back, and the mechanisms which exist to attain justice, land, and equity for Ohlone people in the San Francisco Bay Area.

As long as people realize their time and energy is better spent on an achievable goal, like Federal Re-Recognition & The Establishment of a Muwekma Land-base: Land Back is something we can see happen within our lifetimes.

For more information on how you can help Ohlone people regain Federal Recognition, and get their Land Back, visit the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe of the San Francisco Bay Area’s website at: