LandBack: ‘We have together set the Shellmound free!’

“We owe this victory to the ancestors and every single person who stood beside us in this fight. We did it!” said Deja Gould. The post LandBack: ‘We have together set the Shellmound free!’ appeared first on San Francisco Bay View.

LandBack: ‘We have together set the Shellmound free!’
Kataly-Foundation-CEO-Nwamaka-Agbo-speaks-at-LandBack-celebration-1-scaled, LandBack: ‘We have together set the Shellmound free!’, Culture Currents Local News & Views
Nwamaka Agbo, CEO of Kataly Foundation, which radically redistributed $20 million to make this LandBack happen, speaks to the gathering.

A 5,700-year-old sacred burial ground is finally returned. 

by Tiny aka @povertyskola, daughter of Dee, mama of Tiburcio

Patriarchy builds parking lots 

Patriarchy builds shopping malls & everything matriarchy does NOT 

Patriarchy drops bombs on Palestine 

And builds prisons instead of skools on Turtle Island 

Patriarchy kills mamas while they hold their babies

Patriarchy shoots children and when we fight back shoots us and calls us Crazy 

Patriarchy is violent 

But Matriarchy is a sacred, healing mama trident 

Matriarchy weaves palabra and quilts, prayer smoke and warming gifts 

Matriarchy lifts up love into sky spirit – calling down Grandmother Moon and Mama Ocean 

Matriarchy begins with the womb – offering life always even in the face of violent brutal strife

Matriarchy protects water, and ancestors and air 

Matriarchy threads liberation into our hair 

No, colonizers, you can’t define our herstories. We R RIGHT HERE 

We will continue to come with un-ending prayer, 

You can’t stop the mamas, the grandmommas, the babies, the uncles and the fathers 

The liberation mamas and the LandBack suns and daughters 


MamaEarth Is NOT for SALE – in perpetuity 

Ohlone-press-conference-to-announce-LandBack-to-Segorea-Te-Land-Trust-1400x1867, LandBack: ‘We have together set the Shellmound free!’, Culture Currents Local News & Views
To announce this long fought LandBack to the Segorea Te Land Trust, Tribal Chair of the Confederated Villages of Lisjan Nation Corrina Gould invited her many allies, including Homefulness, to a press conference.

Steam rises from the broken concrete. Krapitalism buzzes in the distance. A train roars its approach. But here in a parking lot on Fourth Street in West Berkeley, it is so quiet. Only the murmur of a wind … And then if you listen very carefully, you hear it. A 5,700-hundred-year-old whisper. It swirls above the asphalt and the painted lines of metal and rubber and plastic. Sacred Shellmounds buried deep below click together in unison. If u listen carefully, you hear the ancestors. They whisper together until it becomes a song: #LandBack … LandBack … 

“Over the last eight years, thousands of people came together and said YES at the same time to the Lisjan ancestors. We collectively prayed, sang, danced and created art together. As the Confederated Villages of Lisjan Nation joined in a six-year-long legal battle alongside the City of Berkeley to protect a Shellmound and village site over 5,800 years old, allies and accomplices continued to show up – and we have together set the Shellmound free!” said Tribal Chair of the Confederated Villages of Lisjan Corrina Gould. 

This houseless, half colonizer daughter of a disabled Indigenous houseless mama and all of our youth, adults and elders at Homefulness, POOR Magazine and Deecolonize Academy have had the blessing of standing with Corrina and her beautiful family and all the warriors who have fought, prayed, called, showed up and marched for this precious moment of resistance to be Mamafested. 

It is important to recognize that Corrina and all of us have been fighting for something that should have already happened. We have been praying, fighting, marching for something that is repair and return. Return and repair because something has been deeply broken. A centuries old sacred burial ground, which should have been revered and protected, loved and honored by all people. Not just the descendents of the ancestors there. Just like cemeteries and mortuaries are. 

Instead it was a parking lot for a seafood restaurant. This is not an accident. This was not a mistake or an error in planning. This is violent colonization in a trajectory of other violent colonization that deemed indigenous bodies inhuman and therefore not deserving of life, land or respect, much less burial grounds, sacred spaces or lands of origin.   

“I am so thrilled that I get to see this in my lifetime. We have all fought and worked for so long, and this is truly beautiful,” said Ruth Orta, an 89-year-old elder Ohlone mama and grandmama and daughter of a survivor of the Colonial boarding schools.

Imagine the cemetery where your family is buried being turned into a parking lot. 

shellmound-circle, LandBack: ‘We have together set the Shellmound free!’, Culture Currents Local News & Views
The Shellmound circle – after 5,700 years, the ancestors are back in the arms of their family.

“This was long past due, to correct this historic harm to Ohlone peoples of the Bay. … Let this be an example for other cities, other towns and states across the country to address the historic injustices that have been perpetrated against Native American People on our ancestral lands,” said Melissa K. Nelson, president of the board of Sogorea Te Land Trust. 

As Melissa spoke, the ancestors rose up, quietly, steadfastly, standing alongside the youth and elder Ohlone-Lisjan family of warrior mamas and aunties and daughters and suns and uncles that lead the Sogorea Te Land Trust and the allies and accomplices that circled around them. They were right there. Heads held high into the healing smoke that rose into the morning.

“It was important for us to contribute and support Sogorea Te Land Trust at the same scale that is commensurate with the hurt and harm that they have experienced for centuries. It was also important for us to pay Shummi land tax as our organization and our staff is located in the Bay and it’s not up to us to decide how the resources are used, but rather to be in solidarity with Sogorea Te Land Trust, trusting that they will use the funds in the way that is most impactful,” said Nwamaka Agbo, CEO of Kataly Foundation, whose foundation radically redistributed $20 million, which, in addition to the $1.7 million of the City of Berkeley made this HERstorical distribution possible.

This powerFULL moment of indigenous land return is the intersection of many things. It’s about the colonial violence of having to buy back your ancestors’ resting place, your sacred spaces where our ancestors are buried, which all humans deserve. It is about the violence of krapitalist greed and real-esnaking and the lie of private property causing the casual (yet intentional) genocide of erasure, removal and desecration of not only a burial ground but a sacred site that is thousands of Gregorian years old. And finally the settler violence of greed, hoarding and accumulation that would put an insane, almost unimaginable “price” on Mama Earth and deign to charge the peoples whose lands of origin this land belongs to, whose lands we are all standing, sitting, dreaming, thinking, buying and selling billions of blood-stained colonial dollars just to get it back.

But this is our ancient to 21st century reality. The unrecognized arrogance of settler colonial violence “charging,” evicting, erasing, incarcerating and criminalizing lands and the people of those lands. Creating, perpetrating more extraction and removal of indigenous relatives and Mama Earth resources who are here now, so that you have settler towns like so-called Bellingham, Washington, Phoenix, Arizona, New Mexico, Minnesota and, of course, Palestine, to name a few where the majority of houseless peoples are First Nations people. Homeless on their own lands.

This moment is also about the resistance moves of Kataly Foundation, which clearly overstands, like we poor and houseless peoples teach at PeopleSkool, that their immense wealth does not “belong” to them, but rather is also stolen, “made” on the broken backs of Black, Brown, Indigenous and First Nations peoples and lands. That this kraptialist system is built for extraction and the only solution is radical or what I’m now calling logical redistribution of these stolen resources and stolen land, rooted in love and repair, back into the thousands of places and spaces like this small part of Lisjan Land, in so-called West Berkeley, so we can all heal. 

“We owe this victory to the ancestors and every single person who stood beside us in this fight. We did it!” said Deja Gould, mama, organizer and leader with Sogorea Te Land Trust and daughter of Corrina Gould. 

all-the-peoples-ohlone-and-homefulness-and-more-celebrate-LandBack-1400x1050, LandBack: ‘We have together set the Shellmound free!’, Culture Currents Local News & Views
LandBack deserves a big celebration of all the people who made it happen – Ohlone and Homefulness and more!

This moment is about all of the settlers who stood, marched, prayed, screamed alongside Ohlone/Lisjan relatives. Knowing clearly that First Peoples are not gone. That colonizaiton didn’t work. That the human spirit is strong and together we can heal from this colonial hell with our voices, our humility and our actions.

And for all the CONfused settlers reading this, LandBack does not mean re-making the same settler violence that was perpetrated on First Peoples of scarcity and removal and incarceration and death. This moment is a testament to the deep structures of ancestors who never believed Mama Earth was for sale. Who never saw her as a commodity to be extracted from and desecrated. Who never believed or would allow the violence of homelessness, who lived the values of what us houseless, pan-indigenous peoples at POOR Magazine call Homefulness. Who were never rooted in the violence of scarcity but rather the solutions of sharing and interdependence. Like indigenous peoples all over the world practice. If one relative has a job or food to eat, everyone eats. If one person has water, everyone drinks. If one family has a roof, like we do at Homefulness, as many people as possible are housed for free. For life.

“We made herstory today,” said Cheyanne Zepeda, mama and auntie, Ohlone/Lisjan leader at Sogorea Te Land Trust and daughter of Corrina Gould.

So please, settlers, as I often say, this is not a time to become scared or scarce. This is a calling in, not a calling out. We have all been lied to in krapitalism and we are all dying from it. As Melissa said, let this be an example. Let us all learn more and live into more radical return, logical redistribution and, most important, love for Mama Earth and all of us, so we can all be ok. So we can all heal. Together.

“I’m  so happy today, because this land is free!” said Anniyah, 9-year-old Ohlone youth povertySkola, student from DeeColonize Academy and granddaughter of Corrina Gould.

Lisa “Tiny” Gray-Garcia, aka “povertyskola,” is a poet, teacher and the formerly houseless, incarcerated daughter of Dee and mama of Tiburcio and author of “Criminal of Poverty: Growing Up Homeless in America” and many more and co-founder of Homefulness, a homeless people’s solution to homelessness. Reach her at or @povertyskola on Twitter/X.

The post LandBack: ‘We have together set the Shellmound free!’ appeared first on San Francisco Bay View.