At the San Francisco Foundation, we know that supporting the Indigenous people of the region is essential to building a Bay Area where all can thrive. In that spirit, SFF donors and staff joined the leadership of the Sogorea Te’ Land Trust at Sierra Point in Joaquin Miller Park in November.
Corrina Gould is the co-founder of Sogorea Te’ Land Trust and spokesperson for the Confederated Villages of Lisjan. She offered a vision of Sierra Point as a beautiful gathering place where the Ohlone people can pray and hold rituals with a view of the East Bay, “where rivers used to meet the ocean.” Attendees saw first-hand Sogorea Te’ Land Trust’s inspiring and ongoing efforts to restore the land by gathering Native plants and foods and performing environmental and natural habitat restoration.
Attendees learned more about plans by the City of Oakland to return approximately five acres of city-owned land to Indigenous stewardship through a cultural conservation easement. In her reflections, Corinna shared that more than 900 Ohlone bodies were removed from the Shellmonds on Ohlone territory and are being kept at UC Berkeley, sharing that “We pray for our ancestors to return home, but what is home if we don’t have rights to our own land?”. She hopes that returning this land to Indigenous stewardship will present an opportunity to respectfully return the ancestors to their Native land.