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Corrina Gould: “Campaign to Protect the West Berkeley Shellmound”

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Published on Apr 13, 2018

Presentation by Corrina Gould on “Campaign to Protect the West Berkeley Shellmound” at the third annual “Religion & Ecology Summit” at the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) on March 16, 2018. For more, visit: https://www.ciis.edu/academics/gradua...

Summary of talk: My presentation examines our campaign to protect the West Berkeley Shellmound that is currently under attack. The West Berkeley Shellmound is the oldest village site and cemetery on the SF Bay. The sacred Shellmound is at the center of Ohlone/Lisjian cosmologies, and it is one of the only remaining reminders of the Ohlone/Lisjan people, the first peoples of the Bay. In 1905 the Shellmound was excavated by the University of California Berkeley archaeology department, but much of the remains lie under a parking lot on 4th and University. This sacred Shellmound is currently under attack and slated to be developed upon unless we all act. The violent hand of U.S settler colonialism is alive, and the extermination policies against Ohlone people is not a past, but it is alive today through private property laws, systemic erasure of Ohlone, and continued government and development policies to disconnect us from our land and all that is sacred to us and to our ancestors. My work to protect the West Berkeley Shellmound follows in a legacy of Indigenous women here in the Bay Area, throughout Turtle Island, and around the globe, resisting the hand of settler colonialism to protect the sacred on behalf of our ancestors of the past, the present, and the future.

Corrina Gould is the spokesperson for the Confederated Villages of Lisjan/Ohlone. She is an activist that has worked on preserving and protecting the ancient burial sites of her ancestors in the Bay Area. Corrina is the co-founder and a lead organizer for Indian People Organizing for Change, a small Native run grassroots organization that works on Indigenous people issues that had also sponsored the Shellmound Peace Walk between 2005-2009, to bring about education and awareness of the desecration of the sacred sites in the greater Bay Area. IPOC also hosts the annual Shellmound gathering at Emeryville Mall where an ancient site was desecrated by development. She is the co-founder of Sogorea Te Land Trust, a Native women led urban land trust within the setting of what continues to be her ancestral territory of the Bay Area. Corrina worked with Michelle Steinberg to create the film Beyond Recognition that focuses on the work of creating the Sogorea Te Land Trust.

Video Recording by Richard Page

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