OAKLAND, Calif. — The cause for celebration this past Monday after a California distrtict judge decided that no one can dig up the land were the Berkeley Shellmound once stood. The land was designated a California State Registry of Historic Places in 2003 because it once was a shellmound, where ancestors are buried.
For years, a group led by Corrina Gould and Janella LaRose has prayed and walked (they walked 280 mile Shellmound prayer walk that visits shellmounds in the nine-county’s of the San Francisco Bay Area) and worked to protect their ancestors and those sacred grounds.
Corrina Gould, Chochenyo the spokesperson for the Confederated Villages of Lisjan/ Ohlone said this to the crowd (only sound file no picture right now): Only sound no picture right now:
“This is the land of the Huichin, a land of our ancestors. I am a spokesperson for the Confederated villages of Lisjan, Ruth Orta stands here as the matriarch and spokesperson for the Himr’en tribe also from the East Bay. Our ancestors have been here since the beginning of time and we are so thankful, to have so many people from so many walks of life. That now stand with us in our original territory.
We came here because we had a great ally, all of us, on the day that there was supposed to be a zoning board meeting. And the meeting was supposed to listen to a developer that wanted to place a development with luxury apartments and retail on Fourth Street, nineteen hundred forth street. Which is the West Berkeley shellmound. The oldest shellmound along the bay. The very first place our ancestors buried thier ancestors as well.
The very first place they had a village site, along Strawberry Creek. We came together at that meeting, very few of us, at that first meeting. It was raining outside. I think it was an April. evening. And we were talking about why it was important to save that site. Why it was important to save the West Berkeley Shellmound. And then we began to get together with other folk, who thought it was important as well. And we began to strategize and involve you all together.
In 2019 and 2018 and twenty seventeen We’ve all stood together in the rain and in the heat. We celebrated our successes small, but this is a huge success. This is a success I had never dreamed of before. Our ancestors place all these people in our lives.
Our lawyer said that it is very unlikely that they can appeal this case. So we are celebrating that right now. We want to thank all of you from the bottom of my heart, for all the hard work, for the hundreds of hours that went into it, for the thousands of hours of cleaning we were apart of. For going to all the City Council meetings, zoning board meetings, landmark Parks Commission for showing up handing out information.” more transliteration to come …
Ruth Orta (Him r’ en Ohlone, Bay Miwok, and Plains Miwok), the venerable Grandmother of the group spoke in the video below.