‘No mall on Ohlone sacred site!’

Emeryville, Calif.

emeryvilleshellmoundThe Ohlone people and their supporters held the 17th annual protest at the Bay Mall in Emeryville, Calif., on Nov. 25, the day pushed by retail businesses as so-called “Black Friday.” This infamous mall was built upon an Ohlone people’s Shellmound.

Supporters spread out over several blocks distributing fliers to shoppers, asking them not to shop at this mall. Everyone converged back at the sacred site at 2 p.m. to hear speakers and join the closing ceremony. The event’s Facebook page noted that over 200 people came together to “draw connections between the amazing resistance by Water Protectors in Standing Rock and the protection of sacred sites here at home in the Bay Area.” (tinyurl.com/jqy6ppy)

The same post explains, “In 1999, the City of Emeryville built the mall that now sits on the corner of Shellmound Street and Ohlone Way. This space was once an Ohlone village site and it was one of the largest Shellmounds in the Bay Area. The sacred Shellmound once stood over 60 feet high and 350 feet in diameter and it was considered the largest funerary complex of the Ohlone people.

“When the mall was built, we petitioned the city council and asked them not to destroy our sacred sites, but the developers and the businesses ignored our voices. Although the mall was built, our resistance is alive and it has never died.”

Corrina Gould, one of the Ohlone organizers, asked for support to stop a new threat to the West Berkeley Shellmound where developers want to create an underground parking lot by digging into the sacred site. Public hearings on this issue are being held in Berkeley on Dec. 1 and 8.

There was also a packed house for a fundraiser for the warriors at Standing Rock, N.D., on Nov. 27 at the Intertribal Friendship House in Oakland. Several people who had traveled there reported on the situation. Everyone listened intently when a participant at the Standing Rock encampment called into the event with a status update about the struggle.

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