Someone recently responded to the article “Who are the Lisjan Ohlone? What does Chochenyo mean?” with some questions of their own.
What about the East Bay Ohlone of Oakland, Emeryville, Alameda? [The] Muwekma are not the only Lisjan in the area.B. Richman
I publicly responded:
[B.] Richman this article seeks to educate people like you about Ohlone people in the east bay. So you stop calling them “chochenyo ohlone”, “Lisjan Ohlone”, and other misnomers.Alameda Native History Project
But, I wanted to address the confusion and misinformation about Indigenous People, being perpetuated by non-indigenous people.
So I sent this message directly to that person, which I wanted to elaborate on, and share with you. What follows is based on that message, illustrated with pictures and relevant links.
“What about the East Bay Ohlone of Oakland, Emeryville, Alameda? [The] Muwekma are not the only Lisjan in the area.”
Questions like this are problematic because they show how much the person asking really doesn’t know about the indigenous history of their area.
[Everyone is aware of the hype behind the Sogorea Te Land Trust, a corporation fronted by Corrina Gould, an indigenous woman who claims to be a chairwoman of an Ohlone Tribe–a corporation called the Confederated Villages of Lisjan Nation, Incorporated. A corporation formed by Corrina Gould, and her daughters; which is less than two years old.]
Take a look at Corrina Gould and ask yourself why the pictures of her and her “tribe” only ever show about five people.
Seriously… ask yourself why the members of the other Confederated Villages never appear in the pictures.
If you take a step back, you’ll realize that Corrina Gould’s support is not from Ohlone people.
It’s from non-indigenous people, and native people who aren’t even Ohlone.
The truth is: Corrina Gould appointed herself as a “chairwoman”; she doesn’t represent Ohlone people beyond herself and her immediately family.
The Muwekma Tribe has hundreds of members.
Muwekma are actually the people who called themselves “Lisjanes” (Lisjanikma), who were called the Verona Band of Alameda County. The Muwekma Tribe is actually composed of the descendants of those who survived the missions, attempted genocide and cultural erasure.
More pictures of the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe of the San Francisco Bay Area can be found on their website: Muwekma.org
The present-day Muwekma Ohlone Tribe is comprised of all of the known surviving American Indian lineages aboriginal to the San Francisco Bay region who trace their ancestry through the Missions Dolores, Santa Clara, and San Jose; and who were also members of the historic Federally Recognized Verona Band of Alameda County.Muwekma Ohlone Tribe of the San Francisco Bay Area
If you take away anything from this, it should be that:
You need to know the difference between Tribe, and a corporation run by a convicted fraud whose main activities consist of fundraising for her own personal benefit, and that of her immediate family.
In truth, Shuumi does not help Ohlone people.
It’s a distraction created by someone who’s done this kind of stuff before.
Take a second to stand back and see that Corrina Gould’s narrative is a washed down version of the real history of Muwekma.
Corrina Gould is a recognized descendant of the Muwekma Tribe; and she betrayed her own tribe by weaponizing their own language and history against them.
I thought her story was compelling too, until I did the research, and followed the facts.
Once I learned to truth, I had to publicly withdraw my support. It was kind of embarrassing, and a mistake to support a group without doing my research first.
But it’s a mistake I want you to avoid, too.
This isn’t some nebulous grey zone. There are peer-reviewed articles and genetic studies establishing these facts. All you need to do is look at Muwekma’s petition to the BIA to learn way more than you ever needed to know about this subject.
You should do your own research, and educate others.
The Muwekma Ohlone Tribe of the San Francisco Bay Area is trying regain their Federal Recognition, and restore their homeland. Find out how you can help Ohlone people (for real) by going to Muwekma.org
You can also learn more Ohlone History, and see more pictures of the Muwekma Tribe, as well as read a selection of academic articles, interviews, and watch Chairwoman Charlene Nijmeh at TEDXBerkeley.