Artist and community collaboration visualizing a decolonized landscape in East Oakland
Through collaboration with Sogorea Te’ Land Trust, community members, land workers and artists, this painting was created to visualize a decolonized and rematriated landscape in deep East Oakland.
Based on the concrete lined stormwater channel and tributary of San Leandro Creek that
runs adjacent to the first piece of land returned to Indigenous stewardship in the territory, this vision imagines a restoration of relationships informed by Indigenous led land return work, social justice dreams, research, oral histories, geography and geomorphology.
A return of life to this channel — excavated into stolen lands, paved, and barren of all vegetation and aquatic life after years of city contracts with Monsanto to spray the banks with pesticide — calls for restoration of more than riparian ecosystems. Distinct from many river restoration practices that may focus on native plantings or large wood installment, rematriation requires a societal change in behavior and relationship, in addition to changes to the physical conditions.
As practiced and taught by Sogorea Te’, rematriation requires the re-establishment of Indigenous sovereignty: returning stewardship, governance and leadership to the Ohlone People. Sogorea Te’ Land Trust– led by Lisjan Ohlone women and supported by accomplices across the diaspora of displaced Indigenous people– works collaboratively to facilitate the return and restoration of reciprocal relationship with the sacred land we are living on (known as Huichuin).
Limited edition prints to benefit Sogorea Te Land Trust at tsy.me/3cF2Bvv.