West Berkeley Shellmound supporters have continued to organize and spread the word this year, tabling at events, showing up at the Shellmound with prayers and posters, and encouraging the Berkeley City Council to continue doing everything in its power to protect the land. We are so grateful to all who continue to come through in many different ways to honor the ancestors.
Decisions made by Berkeley’s City Council in the coming months could have a big impact on the sacred West Berkeley Shellmound. The property owner, a commercial real estate developer, still holds a fast-tracked development permit and is planning next steps. While several paths forward are being pursued in efforts to protect the site, continued support from Berkeley councilmembers remains essential at this time.
How you can help
You can help right now by sending an email to Berkeley City Councilmembers, and encouraging friends, family or co-workers to do the same. It may not seem that these emails would have an impact, but they do, and elections are coming up in 2024.
In your email, please underscore in your own way the importance of continuing to do whatever can be done to ensure that the West Berkeley Shellmound is honored and not desecrated by a development project. You can also thank them for the City’s efforts to date and ask for an update.
Find the list of Berkeley City Council email addresses below, and feel free to adapt one of our template messages too.
Visualization of the Shellmound park envisioned by the Confederated Villages of Lisjan, rendered by Chris Walker.
Berkeley City Council contact information
If you are a Berkeley resident, it’s best to address your email to the councilmember who represents your district and CC the list of all councilmembers, provided below. If you are not a Berkeley resident, you may simply address your message to the entire list:
List of Berkeley Mayor & Council addresses for copy-pasting:
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Individual contact information for the Mayor and Councilmembers are as follows. If you live in the City of Berkeley, you can identify your council district with this tool or with the map below. CC’ing or BCC’ing email@example.com allows our Save the West Berkeley Shellmound volunteers to also see and record your message.
- Mayor Jesse Arreguín mayor@CityofBerkeley.info (510) 981-7100
- District 1: Rashi Kesarwani rkesarwani@CityofBerkeley.info (510) 981-7110
- District 2: Terry Taplin ttaplin@CityofBerkeley.info (510) 981-7120
- District 3: Ben Bartlett bbartlett@CityofBerkeley.info (510) 981-7130
- District 4: Kate Harrison kharrison@CityofBerkeley.info (510) 981-7140
- District 5: Sophie Hahn shahn@CityofBerkeley.info (510) 981-7150
- District 6: Susan Wengraf swengraf@CityofBerkeley.info (510) 981-7160
- District 7: Rigel Robinson rrobinson@CityofBerkeley.info (510) 981-7170
- District 8: Mark Humbert mhumbert@CityofBerkeley.info (510) 981-7180
If you prefer snail mail, contact any Councilmembers at 2180 Milvia, Berkeley, CA 94704.
Template message #1 (short, general)
Ohlone ceremonies and public prayer gatherings continue to be held at the West Berkeley Shellmound, a place where Ohlone people have gathered for thousands of years. A constant stream of messages of support, prayer ribbons and other community offerings are affixed to the chain link fence surrounding the land. Community leaders, organizations, businesses, and residents are eager for the City to use all tools at their disposal to ensure the protection of the West Berkeley Shellmound, the oldest site of human civilization along the Bay, and one of the nation’s most endangered.
The real and significant need for affordable housing in Berkeley and the Bay Area is supported by those committed to preserving Ohlone sacred sites. However, this absolutely need not come at the expense of the oldest landmarked Indigenous cultural site around the Bay, considered the most endangered historic site in the entire Bay Area. Housing advocates have agreed there is no justice in causing irreparable harm to the Ohlone community in the name of addressing hardships faced by other lower-income residents. Our communities can work together to create a multitude of better solutions.
I support the Ohlone Vision for 1900 4th Street and am following this issue closely and with great concern.
Template message #2 (longer, local)
The City of Berkeley landmarked the West Berkeley Shellmound, the 5,700-year-old sacred and historic Ohlone site, in 2000. The National Trust for Historic Preservation listed it as one of the 11 Most Endangered Historic Places in America. Widespread community support to protect the Shellmound site has included Ohlone ceremonies and prayers from diverse denominations; public gatherings and street painting; messages and prayer ribbons along the chain link fence imprisoning the land; school field trips; testimony before the City Council and Commissions; educational workshops; amicus briefs by numerous organizations, and thousands of letters to Councilmembers.
Options that remain to protect the land will require Berkeley City Council support. Thank you for the City’s efforts to date. Please continue to do all that you can to ensure that the West Berkeley Shellmound is honored — not desecrated by retail and housing development.
Ohlone leadership, the West Berkeley Shellmound Campaign, dozens of organizations and housing advocates, businesses and residents seek protection of the Shellmound — and also support affordable housing in other locations. The real need for affordable housing in Berkeley and the Bay Area cannot come at the expense of its Indigenous people and the region’s oldest landmarked Indigenous cultural site. There is no justice in causing irreparable harm to the Ohlone community and humanity’s ancient beginnings in the Bay Area in the name of housing. Our communities can work together to create a multitude of better solutions, including for lower-income residents who could never afford a condo in the proposed development.
Thank you for your continued attention to protect the West Berkeley Shellmound. I support the Ohlone vision for 1900 4th Street and am following this issue closely and with great concern.
Shellmound 2 Shellmound Walk 2023
Join us on Friday, November 24th for a 3 mile prayer walk from the West Berkeley Shellmound to the Emeryville Shellmound. This prayer walk will be a special opportunity to hear directly from Indigenous elders, faith and community leaders, and representatives of the Confederated Villages of Lisjan.
Meet for the prayer walk at 10:00am at the intersection of 4th Street & Hearst Ave in Berkeley.
Recent press coverage