In 2015, a shellmound was uncovered during the excavation for the Bradley Moody memorial overpass, mere feet away from the park. The unearthing of the shellmound confirms that there was a village in this area and it has now rightfully returned to Ohlone people.
‘Ookwe, meaning medicine in the Chochenyo language, is the first park returned to the care of the Confederated Villages of Lisjan and Sogorea Te’ Land Trust through a collaboration with the City of Richmond and the Richmond Arts and Culture Commission. In July 2021, ‘Ookwe was officially opened with a ceremony attended by tribal and community members.
The park is the home to the beautiful stone art of Kyoto artist Masayuki Nagase and resident of Berkeley. Yuki, short for Masayuki, worked directly with tribal members to create the design that both pays homage to the Ohlone ancestors that tended to this land and celebrates the continued rematriation work of their descendants.
Here we grow medicinal and edible plants including California Native species: Manzanita, Chia, Elderberry, and Soaproot. Additionally, three oak trees, a staple for Ohlone ancestors, have been planted. The space to grow, harvest, and process these sacred plants is extremely important to Indigenous people, Ohlone people in particular, who have been deprived access to their traditional plants and the right to cultural practices.