Most people are familiar with the Confederated Villages of the Lisjan Nation, INC.;

and their fundraising (“trust”) corporation known as Sogorea Te Land Trust, INC.

Both are fronted by Corrina Gould, an Ohlone woman, who has managed to command the attention and monies from thousands of people in the San Francisco Bay Area, and beyond.

Corrina Gould has been lauded for her fundraising to establish urban gardens; create ad-hoc Ohlone language programs; and even negotiate for a cultural easement at a well-known park, in the City of Oakland, California.

But Corrina Gould’s work has been done without the inclusion, consultation, or participation of her own tribe.

And the victories that Gould has managed to score, however shallow—and in the name of “all Ohlone people”—do not actually benefit all Ohlone people. In fact, Corrina Gould is actively diverting money and support away from her own tribe.

Shuumi Land Tax, (fundraising donations) collected by the Sogorea Te Land Trust, does not go to all Ohlone People.

Shuumi” stays within the Sogorea Te Land Trust, and is only disbursed to Corrina Gould’s personal corporation: the Confederated Villages of the Lisjan Nation, INC.–which, in turn, only benefits Gould’s immediate family.

[For reference, Corrina Gould’s immediate family are:
(1) herself,
(2) Cheyenne Gould,
(3) Deja Gould, and
(4) Chatah Gould.
For all intents and purposes, these are the only members of what Corrina Gould alleges is a “confederation of villages.]

And…. While Corrina Gould claims that her non-profit corporation is a Tribal Government, it is not. And, despite Corrina Gould’s claims that she is a Tribal Chairwoman, she is not.

Tribal Chairpersons are voted for by the enrolled members of a tribe, in a democratic process which all legitimate Native American tribes are required to employ, per the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Not only do enrolled tribal members vote for the Tribal Chairpersons; they vote for Tribal Council Members; and vote for or against the laws, regulations and actions taken by their Tribe.

[Link to Federal Bar PDF document, “Introduction to Tribal Election Law“.]

At most, Gould was “elected” as CEO by the Board of Directors of her corporation.

But, in reality, Corrina Gould is the self-appointed Chief Executive Officer of a corporation she formed to affect the illusion of legitimacy; a shell corporation she could use not just for her own personal monetary gain, but also satisfy her narcissistic need to be the only indian in the room—the end-all, be-all expert on Ohlone “indianness”.

Gabriel Duncan

The fact that the three officers of the Confederated Villages of the Lisjan Nation, INC. are: Corrina Gould, Deja Gould and “Chayenne Zepeda” (AKA, “Cheyenne Gould”), should be a red flag regarding the legitimacy of the corporation as a “tribal government”, and “confederation of villages”.

The name of Gould’s corporation itself; a so-called “confederation of villages” forming a “nation” would imply the Confederated Villages of the Lisjan Nation, INC. is a large group of people—presumably, Ohlone people—who represent a number of different Ohlone villages in the San Francisco Bay Area.

If this were true: one would expect to see a roll or roster of villages; articles of confederation signed by representatives of all the villages in the confederation.

So, how come Corrina Gould is only pictured with her daughter and grand-children in most “official tribal portraits”?

You may be blinded by the white faces surrounding Corrina Gould; and Indigenous supporters who are neither Ohlone, nor even from the San Francisco Bay Area.

But those people are not tribal members. And they are not eligible to be tribal members because they’re not even Ohlone.

This begs the question:

  • Who are the other villages in the confederacy?
  • Where are the members of those other villages?
  • Why aren’t other members of the confederacy represented in these official pictures and at official events with Corrina Gould?
  • Why are the PR photos only showing Corrina Gould’s immediate family, and a slew of non-indigenous supporters?
Why hasn’t anyone asked these very basic questions?

People are less familiar with the real, bona fide, Ohlone tribe Corrina Gould is a recognized descendant of: The Muwekma Ohlone Tribe of the San Francisco Bay Area.

The Muwekma Ohlone Tribe is composed of all surviving lineages of Missions San Jose, Delores, and Santa Clara.
Muwekma boasts over 700 enrolled tribal members; and a proven, documented contiguous history of living in the San Francisco Bay Area for over 10,000 years.

In fact, the genetic ties between Muwekma and the San Francisco Bay Area fossil record are only being strengthened with each archaeological “discovery”, and subsequent “ancient DNA” analysis.

Muwekma is a Chochenyo word which means la gente (“the people”.) This is a commonality, for tribes’ names to literally mean “us”, or “the people”. The reason why is mostly philosophical, and only a teensy bit linguistic; but this is true for the majority of groups of people when asked “what do you call yourselves?” [Indigenous People have the right to name themselves, and be referred to by the name they choose. UN Resolution 61/295; adopted Sept-13-2007.]

This is completely different than the name “Lisjan”; which is an obscure reference to the Muwekma homeland, which included (among other locales): Alisal Rancheria (around Pleasanton, California), the Area Around Sunol (California), and the historical Hacienda Del Pozo Verona, built by the Hearst family—which had a train station named for it: the Verona Station.

Alisal was the Land Grant Rancheria Muwekma people lived and worked on after the secularization of the missions, as vaqueros.

Much of this land was later bought by the Bernal family (which became Pleasanton), and a southern portion was purchased by Randolph Hearst.

Muwekma people have called themselves by a few names: Lisjannes, Muwekma, the Mission San Jose Band of Indians, and Ohlone.

However, Ohlone people have never called themselves “Chochenyo, or “The Chochenyo”, because Chochenyo is an Ohlone Language, not a tribal group.

And Muwekma people have never referred to themselves as the “Verona Band of Alameda County”; this was a name used to identify Muwekma people by the U.S. Government, used in their own internal BIA/Department of Interior documents.

Aside from the fact that:

  1. “Lisjan” is a Chochenyo and Nisenan name for Pleasanton, California; that,
  2. Corrina Gould’s corporation is not a confederation of Ohlone villages, or a Tribal Government; and that,
  3. Shuumi Land Tax doesn’t actually go to the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe of the San Francisco Bay Area…
There is the very real and (largely) unreported pattern of hostility and contempt that Corrina Gould harbors for any person who tries to advocate for, or even dares to mention the name “Muwekma”.

In the four years the Alameda Native History Project has been operating, I have come into contact with countless indigenous people who have (tried to) work with Corrina Gould in various professional and academic capacities. These credible people, experts in their fields, sought me out, to tell me about their experiences with Corrina Gould, after I publicly withdrew my support, and admitted my own mistake in ever co-signing the narrative that Gould had appropriated (almost word-for-word) from the history of the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe of the San Francisco Bay Area.

This project completely, and uncompromisingly protects, and will continue to protect the anonymity of our sources; because, some of these sources are afraid of being subjected to even more harassment and possibly violence from Corrina Gould’s supporters than they have already experienced. [However, we are not afraid. And, this topic–and the subjects within this essay–need to be discussed and brought to the general public; because they are newsworthy and important.]

This public mis-understanding is especially problematic because it means that Corrina Gould is diverting money and support away from the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe of the San Franciso Bay Area; the tribe from which Corrina Gould is a recognized descendant. [Alameda City Council, “Listening Session and Partnership Opportunities with Local Indigenous People and Ohlone Tribes“, Dec-6-2022]

So, while people generously donate to a corporation, which they believe will help all Ohlone people….

While the Sogorea Te Land Trust, and Corrina Gould, continue to profit from the public’s belief their donations fund programs which benefit a much larger group of Ohlone people than they actually do….

Ohlone people will continue to suffer harms from colonization and political erasure–not just from the United States, and Spanish Governments’ policies of eradication and assimilation–but also, from misinformation and diversion by someone who would rather exploit their own indigenous identity (, and the public’s genuine good will and support for Ohlone people) for personal gain.

Right now is a crucial time for the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe; as they struggle to receive re-affirmation of Muwekma’s status as a Federally Recognized Tribe; and restore a Muwekma tribal homeland.

These are the top two priorities of the indigenous people of the San Francisco Bay Area. Once known as “Costanoans” because they, Muwekma Ohlone people, are among the First Peoples of the California Coast.

You can help Muwekma, too.

One of the ways Muwekma can receive reaffirmation of their Federal Recognition Status is by an act of Congress.

Call/Email your local representative.

Let them know that the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe of the San Francisco Bay Area has been in the Bay Area for over 10,000 years; and they deserve a land base on their own tribal homeland.

Muwekma deserves reaffirmation of their status as a Federally Recognized Tribe. Muwekma has the right to have a land base on their ancestral homeland, in a region where they are in danger of being gentrified and priced out of.

Check out the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe of the San Francisco Bay Area’s website for more ways to help the tribe restore their sovereignty, and provide an Ohlone homeland for generations to come.

“The Muwekma Ohlone Tribe knows who they are, they don’t have to prove it.”

Lee Panich, Ph.d.