Corrina Gould, from the Confederated Villages of Lisjan/Ohlone, born and raised in Oakland, CA (the territory of Huichin), is the co-founder of Indian People Organizing for Change. Her work includes preserving and protecting the ancient burial sites of her ancestors in the Bay Area, and she is currently co-founding the Native women-led Sogorea Te Land Trust.
From their website: “Indian People Organizing for Change is a community-based organization in the San Francisco Bay Area. Its members, including Ohlone tribal members and conservation activists, work together in order to accomplish social and environmental justice within the Bay Area American Indian community. Current projects include the preservation of Bay Area shellmounds, which are the sacred burial sites of the Ohlone Nation, whose homeland is the San Francisco Bay Area.
Currently, IPOC has spread awareness throughout the community through shellmounds walks and has advocated for the preservation of sacred burial sites in the Emeryville Mall, Glen Cove Site, Hunters Point in San Francisco, and beyond.”
Bioneers was honored to welcome Gould to the 2017 Indigenous Forum at the Bioneers Conference, where she spoke about shellmounds, their history and importance, and the necessity of telling their story. Following are the short transcript and video.
Corrina Gould: Protecting Shellmounds
My ancestors had village sites all around the Bay. We had things called shellmounds, and in those shellmounds, we buried our ancestors. We buried in a way that these mounds became bigger and bigger and bigger. And on the top of those mounds, we would have ceremonies, and we could light fires, and we could send signals all across the bay.
In 1909, this guy named Nelson created this map because he knew that these places were special and important and they should be cared for. Or at least somebody should write them down. Because over a hundred years ago, the destruction of those sites was happening in the Bay Area at an amazing rate. Of those 425 that he found, virtually none of them exist anymore.
My job in the Bay Area is to ensure that even though we can’t see [the shellmounds], that we have to see—that people that live in the Bay Area now have a responsibility, because you are now settlers on our land. You have to be able to protect these places, because these places not only protect us, they now protect you.
Watch Corrina Gould tell this story here: