Sogorea Te’ Land Trust and the City of Oakland Announce Plans to Return Land in the Oakland Hills to Indigenous Stewardship
Oakland, Unceded territory of Huchiun – Today the Sogorea Te’ Land Trust and the City of Oakland announced plans to return approximately five acres of land owned by the City to Indigenous stewardship.
The Oakland City Council will hold hearings to consider conveying the site, known as Sequoia Point, to the non-profit, women-led, Sogorea Te’ Land Trust and the Confederated Villages of Lisjan Nation, an East Bay Ohlone tribe, through the creation of a cultural conservation easement. The City would grant the cultural conservation easement in perpetuity to the Land Trust, allowing the Land Trust to immediately use the land for natural resource restoration, cultural practices, public education, and to plan for additional future uses.
“This agreement with the City of Oakland will restore our access to this important area, allowing a return of our sacred relationship with our ancestral lands in the Oakland hills. The easement allows us to begin to heal the land and heal the scars that have been created by colonization for the next seven generations.”Corrina Gould, Sogorea Te’ Land Trust co-founder and Lisjan Tribal Chairwoman
What started out with a casual conversation between Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and tribal Chairperson Corrina Gould in 2017, has grown into a partnership between the City and the Land Trust to begin to address the historic harms of Oakland’s founding. Chochenyo-speaking Ohlone people have inhabited Oakland and parts of the East Bay for thousands of years. They were forcibly removed from their land with the arrival of Europeans and descendants of Europeans beginning in the 18th Century.
“I am committed to returning land to Indigenous stewardship, to offer some redress for past injustices to Native people,” said Mayor Schaaf, “I hope the work we are doing in Oakland with the Sogorea Te’ Land Trust can serve as a model for other cities working to return Indigenous land to the Indigenous community we stole it from.”
Vision for the Land
In the short term, the easement would allow the Land Trust immediately to begin tending to the land, gather Native plants and foods, clean up the area, and perform environmental and natural habitat restoration.
The long term vision of this project is to recreate a thriving, beautiful, ceremonial gathering place and structure where Indigenous people and their guests can come together, and share cultural information and celebrations.
An Indigenous Land Back Town Hall On September 13th, 2022 at 5:30 pm hosted by Sogorea Te’ Land Trust and the City of Oakland will provide opportunities to learn more about the project and solicit to feedback on potential plans. Please register here to attend the virtual gathering here.
The project will also be reviewed by the City’s Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee (PRAC) on September 14th, 2022, as well as local stakeholders including the Friends of Joaquin Miller Park.
The City Council will ultimately need to review and approve the easement; the Council is expected to consider the easement at the November 1st meeting.
You can support this project through direct donations to the Rematriate the Land Fund which is dedicated to the costs associated with returning Indigenous land to Indigenous hands.
Additionally we invite everyone to come out and attend community meetings, voice and send letters of support, engage with the land and the parks, learning more about the history of the Bay Area and its original caretakers, work to take care of the places around you, and be a good guest on Indigenous Land.
For contributions over $2000, checks can be made to the Sogorea Te’ Land Trust and sent to 2501 Harrison St. Oakland CA 94612. Please write “Rematriate the Land Fund” in the Memo. If you would like to discuss a significant contribution, encounter issues with or need to change your contribution, please contact ariel (at) rematriatetheland (dot) org.