August 2020

Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Ohlone West Berkeley Shellmound and Village Site announcement Sept. 24, 2020


Ohlone West Berkeley Shellmound and Village Site announcement Sept. 24, 2020

Special Announcement by the National Trust for Historic Preservation Regarding the West Berkeley Shellmound and Village Site

The Campaign to Save the Historic West Berkeley Ohlone Shellmound and Village Site and the National Trust for Historic Preservation will hold a Press Conference to Make a Special Announcement regarding the Shellmound and Village site at 1900 Fourth Street in Berkeley, CA, Thursday, September 24, at 10 AM PT.

Lisjan Ohlone leader Corrina Gould, along with Brian Turner of the San Francisco Field Office of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Sacred Land Film Project director Toby McLeod, Confederated Villages of Lisjan attorney Michelle LaPena, Berkeley Vice-Mayor Sophie Hahn, the Save the West Berkeley Shellmound Campaign Steering Committee (and other speakers to be announced) will hold a press conference to make this exciting special announcement:


Speakers will make brief statements and answer questions from the press. Pre-recorded statements from local and national leaders will be shared. (A photo and interview opportunity will follow at 12:30 PM PT at the site.)

When: Thursday, September 24, 2020 / 10:00 AM Pacific Time/ 1:00 PM Eastern Time

Where: Zoom link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/6795419263

What: Announcement about the Campaign to Save the West Berkeley Shellmound and Village Site

The West Berkeley Shellmound and Village Site was the first Ohlone village on the shores of San Francisco Bay, founded 5,700 years ago. The last remaining unbuilt portion of the village (1900 Fourth St.) was landmarked by the City of Berkeley 20 years ago but is today threatened by a 5-story retail and apartment complex that would excavate 10-feet into the earth. Local Lisjan Ohlone leader Corrina Gould has led a four-year effort to protect the historic site and create an inspiring park that would daylight Strawberry Creek and build a memorial cultural center.

Background Facts: West Berkeley Shellmound and Village Site—Berkeley, California

• This site—one of the most important and earliest known Ohlone settlements on the shores of San Francisco Bay, with a village dating back 5,700 years—served as a burial and ceremonial ground, as well as a lookout and communications site, with the repository of shells, ritual objects, and artifacts forming a massive mound at the center of a sprawling maritime village.

• When Spanish missions began enslaving Ohlone people, many remaining villagers fled. Shell material was later removed by Gold Rush settlers to fertilize farms and line streets.

• The site was mapped in 1907, and UC Berkeley archaeologists removed 95 human burials and 3,400 artifacts before the shellmound was leveled in the 1950s.

• Today, the site is still an active place of Ohlone prayer and ceremony, and burials remain under the surface throughout the area—currently a paved parking lot. Although plans to build a large condo project on the site are now on hold, the privately owned site's future is uncertain.

• Advocates would like the site to be repurposed and landscaped to better serve the ceremonial purposes of the Ohlone and to return the property to a more natural state.

Toby McLeod
Sacred Land Film Project
David Brower Center
2150 Allston Way, Suite 440
Berkeley, CA 94704

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