Corrina Gould to Brief Berkeley City Council on History of Shellmound

Illustration by Maureen Self

In recognition of Indigenous Peoples Day, the Berkeley City Council has invited Lisjan Ohlone leader Corrina Gould to brief council members and city staff on 5,700 years of Ohlone history in Huichuin, the land we now call Berkeley.

The media and the general public are cordially invited to join this informative public Zoom briefing on Tuesday evening, October 13, 2020, from 5:00 – 6:00 PM Pacific time, by clicking here.

Ms. Gould’s presentation will feature a new, four-minute animated sequence by local artist/animator Chris Walker, showing the ancient Ohlone village and shellmounds, juxtaposed with the streets and buildings of Berkeley, and rare historic photos of the shellmounds. The animation helps the viewer to clearly visualize where the ancient village once was and what has replaced it.

The Ohlone village and shellmounds site was landmarked by the city of Berkeley in 2000 and recognized by the National Trust for Historic Preservation as one of the 11 Most Endangered Historic Places in America in September 2020. You can read a recent blog post about the designation, find a list of the media coverage the national recognition generated, and see a variety of videos about the site here.

Berkeley was the first city in the US to convert Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day in 1992, and in 2019 replaced street signs entering town to say “Welcome to Berkeley, Ohlone Territory.”

An undeveloped 2.2 acre parking lot at the heart of the cultural site has been proposed for a 5-story retail-condo development that would destroy the cultural site, which is eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.

Ohlone tribal leaders are calling for the preservation and restoration of the 2.2 acre lot as a historic site and natural area. Corrina Gould has led a four-year effort to create an inspiring memorial park that would daylight Strawberry Creek and include a memorial and educational cultural center.

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