The Shuumi Land Tax is a voluntary annual contribution that non-Indigenous people living on traditional Lisjan Ohlone territory make to support the critical work of the Sogorea Te’ Land Trust.
The Shuumi Land Tax directly supports Sogorea Te’s work of rematriation, returning Indigenous land to Indigenous people, establishing a cemetery to reinter stolen Ohlone ancestral remains and building urban gardens, community centers, and ceremonial spaces so current and future generations of Indigenous people can thrive in the Bay Area. Shuumi means gift in the Ohlone language Chochenyo.
A Legacy of Survival
In the face of generations of brutal violence and systematic subjugation, the Ohlone people have survived three waves of genocide brought by the Spanish soldiers, the Mexican rancheros and the American 49ers. Through it all, Ohlone people held on to their language, stories and songs, raised their children and kept their traditions alive. Over the years, other tribes were pushed off their traditional lands, both forced to relocate or moved by choice to the Bay Area and joined the Ohlone’s inter-tribal community.
Today, the Ohlone community in the East Bay has no land base. They are not federally recognized and have been politically and economically marginalized. Their traditional territory is now one of the most inflated real estate markets on Turtle Island. Thousands of their ancestors’ bones are locked away in museum basement boxes at U.C. Berkeley and San Francisco State University.
The Land You Live On
Do you live in the East Bay? Do you live in Oakland, Berkeley, Albany, El Cerrito, Richmond, San Pablo, San Leandro, Alameda, Piedmont, Hayward, Union City, Fremont, Pleasanton, Castro Valley, Pinole, Livermore, Moraga, Orinda, El Sobrante, Kensington, Danville, Walnut Creek, Martinez, Pleasant Hill, Benicia or Vallejo?
If the answer is yes, you live on traditional Lisjan Ohlone land. This land has a deep history and a community of people who have lived here for thousands of years. Living here, you are inadvertently benefitting from the genocide waged against the Ohlone people and the theft of their land. Whether you know it or not, however you feel about it, this is an inescapable fact. The civic infrastructure, the economic system, the private development and the consumption of natural resources in our society are all connected to and in different ways built upon the colonial occupation of this land and the violent displacement of the Ohlone. Paying the Shuumi Land Tax is a small way to acknowledge this history and contribute to its healing, to support the Ohlone community’s current work to create a vibrant future.
Shuumi is also an invitation to consider how you can support Sogorea Te’ in general:
- Come volunteer at one of our gardens.
- Encourage your friends, families and neighbors to give Shuumi.
- Organize your business, organization, school or religious group to give Shuumi.
- Educate yourself and your community about the Indigenous history of the East Bay.
- Go to our Engage section to learn more ways to get involved.
Shuumi invites you to do the work our ancestors and future generations are calling us all to do; think about what you can offer, find out what is useful, and make it happen…
A Home in The Bay Area
The Ohlone have always known what many of us have more recently come to understand: the Bay is a special place. The moderate climate, the natural beauty, the ecological and cultural diversity are just a few of the many qualities of life here that we love. The Shuumi Land Tax is about repairing our broken relationships with each other and the land we live on.
No amount of money will undo the damage that’s been done, will bring back the lost lives or erase the suffering of the people. But this is a step in a long-term process of healing, a small way you can, right now, participate in a movement to support the self determination and sovereignty of the local Indigenous community.
For more information about the Shuumi Land Tax, check out the Shuumi FAQs.
Give Shuumi. Rematriate the land.
Learn how we came up with these numbers.