Alameda is a model colonial city. Their Victorian houses, and expansive gardens have been written about for hundreds of years. Regular Alameda Garden Tours, and Alameda Legacy Home Tours extoll the virtues of Alameda’s First Colonizers.
These historical celebrations routinely leave out facts, such as,
“This garden was fertilized by using human remains found in one of Alameda’s three shellmounds.”
“This sidewalk was constructed using one of the over 350 Native American bodies found in the ‘Sather’s Mound’.”
The Alameda Museum is exclusively devoted to commemorating and memorializing Alameda’s White History, while simultaneously ignoring and minimizing the existence and contributions of people of color; and the atrocities committed by those who are purported to be such heroic goliaths of Alameda History, today.
This is all done in the shadows of people like Rasheed Shabazz, someone who had to trace his own Alameda Legacy to bring us Black Alameda History, which was never touched upon, or even considered by an all-white museum staff, and curation team. [
Sure, the Alameda Museum invites us to search their archives. But the word “search” belies the onerous nature of digging through files and card catalogs which aren’t actually indexed or organized in any useful way.
People always offer us the chance to do their work for them, like it’s a favor to us.
But let’s be clear: an archive that isn’t indexed or organized is trash.
The real issue here, is that the Alameda Museum has existed for so long without ever: (a) indexing their holdings; (b) focusing on anything other than Alameda’s White History; or (c) ever asking for permission to possess the Native American Funerary Objects, and Grave Goods in their possession….
The issue of Alameda Museum’s possession of Native American Grave Goods and Funerary Objects is especially salient considering their absolute lack of respectful handling of the Historical Events Surrounding the Sather’s Mound, and the Destruction and Morbid Uses for Alameda’s Shellmounds.
Alameda Museum, if you’re not going to engage the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe, ask for permission to possess their artifacts, and present respectful, and responsible, information regarding the First Alamedans: then you don’t deserve to possess their artifacts.
Stay tuned for more.