I guess the first thing I should say is that I know this looks like some kind of CIA/COINTELPRO hit job on a local Native American Leader. Before I tell you that’s not what I actually set out to do, let me answer some basic questions, and give you a background….
What was COINTELPRO?
Put simply, Counter-Intelligence Program was a multi-organization (CIA/FBI/etc.) domestic spying and disinformation campaign during the 70’s. The purpose of this program was to discredit the various Civil Rights Leaders, like: Malcom X, Leonard Peltier, Martin Luther King Jr., Dennis Banks, and more. The rationale behind this was to undermine the authority, by spreading lies, disinformation, introducing drugs, and running proxy wars through competing organizations… among other things. Many of the techniques employed would fall under the category of “psychological warfare.”
Undermining the authority of Civil Rights leaders by disinformation and all forms of sabotage is a staple of the White Supremacist Government Handbook.
Why do I think this looks like “hit job”–the same type of disinformation campaign that has been levelled against so many leaders working for real, measurable change?
Because I discovered information which could damage or discredit this leader’s work, and their reputation.
And I did totally seek to correct the record about the true location of the West Berkeley Shellmound;
Which is not at all where the protests and marches have been; where the entire controversy has been centered around.
It does actually undermine this person’s credibility because it calls into question their very expertise, because it exposes their mistaken assertion.
What is this information?
The West Berkeley Shellmound (CA-Ala-307) was last recorded as being at the “junction of Second Street, and Hearst Avenue”, wedged between the El Dorado Linseed Oil Company, and Troiler Manufacturing Company, in West Berkeley, in 1950 CE.
The West Berkeley Shellmound was never underneath the Spenger’s Parking Lot, at 1900 Fourth Street, Berkeley, California. To be accurate af, the final disposition of the mound is that most of it was “overspread” across the area surrounding the mound, leaving the final “archeological deposit”, which was excavated and removed between 1950-1951.
What do you mean that’s not where the West Berkeley Shellmound is? Didn’t they prove there was a shellmound under Spenger’s Parking Lot?
When the City of Berkeley hired outside archaeologists to survey the site, and determine if there were burials at Spenger’s Parking Lot, they had already argued that this was not the shellmound. They even proved it with a map, superimposed with an approximate location of the shellmound, which was drawn from a University of California Archeological Sites map.
There was even the presentation and analysis of a more recent excavation, from an article published in 2004, in the 17th Volume of the Proceedings of the Society for California Archeaology. And several vain attempts to satisfactorily geo-conform that map.
Then there was an argument over whose map was more accurate. And they (the parties) started arguing over whether or not the mound was under the historic Strawberry Creek, or not.
Picture: U.S. Geological Survey, San Francisco [map], 1:62500, Topographic Quadrangle Map, Reston, VA, 1895.
My method was different….
I used the report on the West Berkeley Shellmound, under the UC Contributions to the Archeaological Research Facility. This report included:
- The archeological site name: CA-Ala-307;
- An explicit location;
- Summary of Past Work;
- Summary of Past Observations, with analysis;
- Maps with relative locations of Historical Places I could find in public records.
So I side-stepped the arguments about using an 1895 CE map, versus a 1915 CE map, and which one was more accurate; and just went straight to work mapping the explicit location by its description. Why even argue about something so ultimately inconclusive? Developing the Nelson-Duncan map, and vetting different locations, I know that these little dots on these maps that the lawyers are arguing over almost never match up perfectly.
How do I even know how to map a location like that?
I’ve written, read, researched, found, copied, and pasted a few property descriptions in my time to record deeds. I’ve even written a few. It’s not glorious, or exciting work by any stretch.
And I also know how to read a map, and use the information on it to interpolate coordinates of a location, triangulate my location, and to find bearing, among other things. I learned this in the context of Orienteering.
So what happened with the Archaeological Survey by the City and Developers?
They said they didn’t find anything. No evidence of burials. No cultural affects, resources… Nothing. Furthermore, the City and Developers reasserted their belief (upon fact and evidence) that the Spenger’s Parking Lot was not the site of the mound.
Cue the argument about the maps, and whether or not the whole site was actually under water because of Strawberry Creek, etc…. [Let’s not even mention the sea-level rise between 1895, 1907 and 1951, respectively; because that, of course changes the position and prominence of the West Berkeley Shellmound on any map, or to any casual observer.]
But that’s all an aside to the fact that the historical records, mid-20th century science, and Modern-Day science could not find anything to substantiate the Spenger’s Parking Lot as being the site of a Shellmound.
The only evidence that was found was a small discovery, in one corner of the lot (the property/aka the “parcel”) pointed more to the true location of the shellmound being at the location explicitly named in the paper I found: Second Street and Hearst Avenue.
Study of Bulk Sediment Samples from West Berkeley Shell Mound, by Kent Lightfoot, was created in 2018, using Stahl Research Endowment money, but the report doesn’t seem to be publicly available in 2021, as I write this.
This wasn’t the only location that Gould was wrong about, either. But this one matters the most because of the specificity of her claims.
The thing is: the City of Berkeley knows that’s not where the shellmound was. The developers know. Anyone who read the studies, and did their own homework, totally knows the shellmound–at the very least, wasnt at the parking lot.
Despite that fact, the City and Developers still attempted to negotiate with Gould.
The Sweetest Deal I’ve Ever Heard Of… (Ever….)
In spite of a complete lack of corroborating evidence; no legal standing to object; with only a mob of protestors; the developers and City still tried to deal with Gould. And they offered the sweetest deal I’ve ever heard of. Ever.
- All of the land which isn’t being developed immediately given back to the Ohlone Tribes;
- An Ohlone Community center, and Ceremonial Space on that land;
- A promise to return the rest of the land under development to the Ohlone Tribes after leasing the land from the tribe for 99 years;
- Rent for 99 years.
I cannot underscore what a big win an offer like this is. An offer like this is unheard of. I have never seen a settlement offer like this ever before in my whole entire life. Ad naseum.
But, what I’ve heard, and which hasn’t been addressed by Gould–despite several requests for comment–is that Corrine Gould turned down that deal. And, instead, “offered” to purchase the land for less than 25% of the market value–even though the funds didn’t exist. In spite of the fact that no reasonable person would consider that kind of counter-offer seriously.
Obviously, no one else took the offer seriously, either. So the sweetest deal ever was scrapped. And Gould, and Berkeley, et al., were locked back into a stalemate over preventing construction from occurring on that lot. At last check, this situation is still being litigated. And Gould’s group has racked up about $80K in legal fees over this parking lot; which they’re asking us to pay with donations.
It was never my intent to discredit,
or smear Corrine Gould…
But a few things came together at once.
- My investigation of Glen Cove revealed the place where Corrine Gould centered her focus wasn’t actually where the shellmound at Glen Cove was.
- I also found that Gould’s organizing was more a rogue element, than true representation in the name of the tribes whose land Glen Cove really “belongs to”. Furthermore, I learned that the actual Tribal Government for Consultation (which was consulted long before Corrine Gould’s eleventh-hour involvement) stepped back from the Glen Cove issue as soon as Gould’s group began an occupation of Glen Cove Park.
**This set off some red flags, and indicated that Gould’s group may have effectively “hijacked” the normal course of consultation and consent.**
- After having found several standing shellmounds, I began to question the efficacy of trying to “save” places that have already been so heavily altered, or developed already.
- About this time, I became aware of Kanyon Konsulting, and was able to make a connection between Kanyon Sayers-Roods, Scott Territo, and Corrine Gould through their overlap and collaboration. This lead to the identification of an entire industry based upon Native American Consulting; an industry which makes real money, and in which there are very vocal gatekeepers.
- Because it is relevant to learn about the current, past and future efforts to protect the Shellmounds of the San Francisco Bay Region: I began to identify Gould’s style of organizing; her way of using “so called” to refer to cities when she’s mad; her attacks against the people who disagree with her; the name-calling; arguments that are clearly based on existential fallacies; the dependence on the exact same talking points every time with no adaptation, or context for the moment. Unwillingness to actually explain anything, or answer any questions. And then the failed negotiations.
All of this stood in sharp contrast with Gould’s ability to organize hundreds of people, raise tens of thousands of dollars for her cause, and actually strong-arm her way into negotiations in the first place.
I wasn’t looking to discredit or smear Corrine Gould. I was just following the story where it lead me. The first thing I learned when I started this project was that no one seems to check the citations; no one seems to have actually read the study they’re quoting; that experts aren’t getting vetted.
Meanwhile, behind the scenes….
(And, in the interest of full disclosure.)
A year into my project; after being told the proper tribal government to contact is the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe; by several organizations, including the Alameda Police Department, Alameda County Coroner, Alameda County Sheriff’s Department, and the Native American Heritage Commission (which is the actual authority that dictates the Proper Tribal Government To Consult.)
…And having sent mail, email, phone calls, and messages on Facebook, and Instagram to the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe, for a whole year–with no response.
…I receive a message on Instagram from @Corrina_Gould:
Horše Tuxxi I am contacting you as the Traditional Spokesperson and Leader of the Confederated Villages of Lisjan to ask why you are trying to expose the Sacred Sites of our ancestors. As this is our traditional territory and not yours we are asking that you stop posting information that could further damage or desecrate our ancestors places of rest and our village sites30-Jan-2021 08:52 PM, @Corrina_Gould
It could also lead to the protection of these sites. Establishment of landbanks; negotiations for purchase, or reparations. The creation of an actual homeland, of contiguous land. The remembering of places thought to be lost. Legit governmental recognition. A sense of honor, pride, and sovereignty that not many people have realized, at all. It’s actually really difficult for me to understand what your specific objection is, aside from a general concern that something bad could happen. I would like to understand this issue more.04-Feb-2021 06:20 AM, @alamedanativehistoryproject
It’s also our decision in our own territories, it breaks traditional protocols and uses the same settler colonial ideas of entitlement06-Feb-2021 11:53 AM, @Corrina_Gould
Soo… your concern is that this information could lead to damage to ancestral land; that I didn’t ask you for permission to do this project; and … I’m acting entitled?06-Feb-2021 03:50 PM, @alamedanativehistoryproject
I can totally understand how you’re triggered by all of this. I read what you said about how you feel, personally, when visiting the shellmounds; and I respect that. So, I have to check in and make sure you know that I know what you said, and that I read the [entire] sogreate website to try and understand as much as I could before relying to your last message.
But I’m actually more confused than I was before, because it looks like this information can be used to address one of the main problems identified in the website: “The lack of access to traditional ceremonial grounds and to land appropriate for multi-day ceremonies is a serious challenge faced by Lisjan people today, since the tribe is not federally recognized and remains landless. A cornerstone of the Sogorea Te’ Land Trust’s vision is the construction of a traditional Lisjan roundhouse in the East Bay. The Round House will bring Lisjan and other Ohlone families and the broader intertribal Indigenous community together in a space for healing and spiritual renewal.”
How can you possibly gain access to these places if you don’t name them, and fight for them explicitly?
Why hasn’t your organization fought for shellmounds which are still “mound-y”? Why are you so obsessed with keeping this all a secret?
I hear you. And I feel what you’re saying. But I don’t understand why.
Please help me understand why I should stop doing a project I’ve already spent more than a year on just because someone FINALLY got back to me: and all they have to say is “stop”?
I have been fighting for the protection of MY ancestors sites for over two decades Shellmound.org Protect glen cove Shellmound peace walks. Why are you doing this alone and not with the Tribal peoples in whose land you’re on? Why is it impossible for you to understand this is not for you to say where our sacred sites are. Go and talk to your elders and expose your own sacred sites or be respectful enough to talk to us and ask how you can help rather than feeling entitled to do this exposure. All burial grounds of Native people in this place now called the US do not have the same rights as recent cemeteries. People still dig up our remains and funerary items and sell them on eBay and get little more than a slap on the wrist. Exposure gives these assholes a map06-Feb-2021, @Corrina_Gould:
To be fair: I tried to contact Muwekma through email, phone, Facebook, and both Instagram accounts over a year ago; and received no response at all. At that time, it was my understanding that the land bank at Coyote Hills, the Ohlone Cemetery in Fremont; and other areas are their property. Which is why I was trying to contact them, specifically. Furthermore, stories and articles going back to the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s, mention that community, the [Guzman] family, and Allan Levanthal, which all lead me to believe they are the proper authority to contact regarding that land, specifically.
[ *** Begin previously privileged information. *** ]
And, as far as stolen ancestors: I’m working on something that I’m not talking about to anyone. But… if you have a list of those auction listings, names of specific auction houses, collectors known to have these objects, it would help a lot in being able to address this issue.
You don’t know who I am or what I do for work. That’s cool. I’m just saying that because it’s important for you to know that I find people who don’t want to be found, and give them shit they don’t want to be given. I eat assholes for breakfast. And I plan to throw the colonizer into the cogs of their own machine. Using their own words, and their own rules against them. These two paragraphs are privileged information; and I’m telling you this because you need to know this isn’t about exposing anything other than the nazis and Indian war fighters who’ve been able to hide and live comfortably, in plain sight.
[ *** End previously privileged information. *** ]07-Feb-2021 06:43 AM, @alamedanativehistoryproject
And finding a way, a bulletproof, legal avenue, for Nations like yours to regain “standing”, in the legal sense. Untying both your hands so you can fight in court and box these fuckers out; gain legal authority, administrative autonomy, to be able to prosecute these crimes; and prevent them from happening ever again.
But, to “re-litigate” something that’s already considered settled, the moving part must show new evidence or circumstances that would warrant judicial notice and consideration.
The fundamental issue in all of these legal battles is a lack of standing and the inability of being able to quantify harm and damage in a way that satisfies the elements of a cause of action for land back. For instance, and in the very least, one could argue that the shellmounds are their property, and cite NAGPRA as an argument for why an easement is proper and necessary under the constitutional rights of an individual’s freedom of religion, then build upon that ruling, and sue for injunctive relief against various land-owners and companies to immediately cease desecration and desist from doing it ever again.
This sort of format would open the avenue for creating a class of individuals who can sue together. This could also be a way to gain access to private records from corporations like Chevron, and find out the full extent of their culpability. But, I think once your right to easement for the purposes of religious freedom is established, that will open the door to more assertions of sovereignty.
And that was my first “run-in” with Corrine Gould. She didn’t reply until a month later:
Hello Thank you for all of your suggestions. This platform is the best for me to have a conversation. And since it doesn’t have reminders like emails, they get lost and forgotten as I’m not consistently on IG. The Tribe has a legal team and others on our team working on protecting sacred sites. The mounds are in different Tribal territories so I’m not sure which ones you are referring to.12-Mar-2021 08:48 AM, @Corrina_Gould
Also we are in a legal battle for 5 years at the WBS and are now asking people that support to go to the site and put a ribbon on the fence they put around the site. It would be helpful to spread that information
There’s no face-palm emoji in WordPress….
I don’t have enough coffee for this…. BRB.
Okay. I’m back.
So, I don’t even know where to start:
- I’m not trying to encourage the desecration of sacred land;
- I’m trying to find novel ways to protect sacred land, and also efficiently use the methods which are already available;
- I’m also encouraging people to be curious about the world around them;
- To learn more about the places they inhabit;
- And to record these things, and keep the history;
- To ask your grand-parents about their grand-parents;
- Corrine Gould never explained why she’s trying to keep the locations of the shellmounds a secret; furthermore, she totally back-pedaled on her assertions of sovereignty over “her land” in that last message with, “The mounds are in different Tribal territories so I’m not sure which ones you are referring to.”;
- Also, how can you be the host of “The Shellmound March”, “Save West Berkeley Shellmound”, “Save Emeryville Shellmound”, and “Save Glen Cove Shellmound”, but still insist on keeping the locations of shellmounds “secret”?
- Anyone else, at any time, could have picked up the same exact studies, pictures, maps, and other documents that I found, because they’re public record;
- N.C. Nelson already made the map of the shellmounds; the University of California Archeological Survey, Anthropology Department, Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology, Archaeological Research Facility, and more, already have several maps which are all available to the public;
- If someone really wanted to find and rob these Native American Graves, if they were that determined to find the shellmounds–and then rob them–they could have (and probably did) already; and that has nothing to do with me;
- Entitlement: what exactly am I acting entitled to? This is really complicated because:
- On one hand: Corrine Gould has a point, it does break protocol not to consult with the Tribal Government the Native American Heritage Commission determines is the proper entity to notify/consult. However, that Tribal Entity is not the “Confederated Villages of Lisjan”, it is the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe. And I reached out to them as soon as I started working on the Shellmounds of Alameda, in late 2019.
- On the other hand, she’s bullishly approaching this topic with same sense of entitlement that she’s accusing me of having. And that’s crazy. Especially considering the amount of work I put in to contact the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe; the tribal government the Native American Heritage Commission directed me to.
- But, overall, I just want to point out this is the equivalent of saying, “Get off my lawn!” And totally doesn’t honor the fact that Gould is talking to someone who was born in Alameda, California, and, therefore definitely has birthrite citizenship to Huchiun (at the very least.)
- Plus, the idea of telling me to go back to my tribe is racist, in nature. And is completely tone deaf an ignorant to the fact that I was adopted at birth. I found that to be the most offensive thing Gould said to me.
- And, to be more petty than I need be: Gould doesn’t even have any standing, her tribe isn’t recognized by the State or Federal governments, so who is she to tell me that I’m invalid? Is this who we are now? Is this how petty Gould really wants to be? Is this really how Corrine Gould conducts herself “in private”, as the so called “Traditional Spokesperson and Leader of the Confederated Villages of Lisjan”?
- Gould kept on introducing new topics, but never actually addressed them. Like stolen ancestors. I want to know more about that. Where’s the list of names, Corrine?! Tell me more. Who are these private collectors?
- And then there’s just the overall ambiguity behind whether or not Corrine Gould really was contacting me on behalf of Lisjan, Sogorea Te Land Trust, Shellmound.org, or on her own. Yeah, I know she identified herself officially at the beginning; but why didn’t @villages_of_lisjan hit me up? I had already been in contact with the official account. And every indication from our initial conversation was cool. If this were an official communication, how come it wasn’t done officially?
- There is an Official Alameda Native History Project Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Maybe I did get a little triggered.
But I just don’t appreciate someone projecting all of their issues, and problems, and problematic behavior, onto me. (I have enough of my own.) Especially when you don’t know who I am, and have no understanding of what I’m doing, or what my goal is. Just because you felt threatened by me did not mean I was a threat. But I definitely decided to go in on Corrine Gould; specifically because this project is about the facts, and presenting the truth, and educating the public about the shellmounds, to encourage their protection, to fight for the return of sacred land, or at least the easement to visit and hold ceremony there to actually start healing; and get people like Corrine Gould out of “survival attack mode”.
This project is about fighting gatekeeping. If one of those gatekeepers happens to be a Native Leader who’s spending more time attacking, being negative, and trying to privately oppress the work of others…. They’re not going to get a pass just because they’re famous, or because they’re “doing good work”. I’m not going to help whitewash history the exact same way I’m accusing other historians and researcher of doing.
This project exists because I realized that everyone was just quoting everyone else…. But when it came time to talk specifics, no one read the article, the paper, the book, or the journal. No one bothered to track down the citations. And that’s what happened with Imelda Merlin, and the Alameda Historians’ Complete Reliance on Unvetted Sources. And that’s also what’s apparently happened with the West Berkeley Shellmound.
We have been lulled to sleep by the same stories and narratives, which haven’t been changed for the last decade or more. We have gotten used to just accepting what’s being told to us, without question. To giving money to a cause just because it sounds good, because you feel guilty for benefitting so much from White Supremacy, and the exploitation of Native American People, and The Earth.
Am I saying, “Don’t pay Shuumi to the Sogorea Te Land Trust”? No.
I’m saying: stop blindly following someone’s lead just because it sounds good. Do your own research. Ask what your money is being used for. Actively encourage these organizations to make better choices for all of us, to do more. To responsibly advocate. To let these organizations know that you want to see outcomes. It’s been decades, and the only list of accomplishments I’ve seen are largely symbolic. Maybe that’s an indication that the current approach, which I’ve called “scorched earth”, and “all-or-nothing”, doesn’t work.
Expecting to get 100% of everything you ask for is thoroughly unreasonable. And it won’t become any more reasonable just because you’re screaming, or holding your breath. It’s 2021; people are actually listening now. Stop attacking them and burning bridges.
Further harassment by members of Sogorea Te…
Sogorea Te Land Trust Volunteer Coordinator
& Land Team Member wrote in:
Your ignorance is astounding! All of this “research” you’re doing is definitely not helping you understand anything! The way you speak and post is that of an oppressor! You may look like a queer person of color but you are nothing more than a KAREN! Go to fucking therapy and get some help because you seem to be lost.18-Mar-2021 11:35 AM, @510ak_native
Picture from Sogorea Te Land Trust “Staff & Board” Page
Is this what you really wanted to donate your money to?
Is this really where your “Shuumi” “land tax” goes,
personally attacking people who disagree with you?
Asking for a friend.
I actually replied to this. Cheyenne continued to accuse me of taking just bits and pieces of what I learn, “and run with what you think is a cover up or conspiracy instead of learning what an actual Sacred site is or even a shellmound.”
Right… okay. I get it now, as I’m writing this. She thinks I’m some crazy conspiracy theorist who just all of a sudden is dropping into this without any real knowledge of the situation or the “truth”. Because anyone who agrees with what the City of Berkeley, or the Developers say is instantly an “enemy”, and a liar.
This is actually similar to Trump’ism. And really. Identity politics are toxic AF.
So after I told her I’m not saying there’s a cover-up, or a conspiracy, that I’m just saying they’re wrong, and then explained that Corrine came for me first, and that I want to protect sacred land, but I’m not going to lie to do it, or whitewash history in the same way wypipo did–and proceeded to invite her to tell me where I’m wrong, and show me the proof; told her that I cannot retract or apologize for anything if I don’t see the evidence… That I’m open to the possibility I’m wrong….
She left me on “Seen”.
Don’t argue with me if you don’t want to read. I wouldn’t be saying any of this if I couldn’t back it up with cold hard facts.
This should have been a post about the Mounds at San Pedro Point. But that will have to wait until later.
Update April 27, 2021:
Cheyenne Zepeda is actually Cheyenne Gould, a relative of Corrina Gould, who is the Spokesperson for Sogorea Te Land Trust. So it appears that only the Gould family is actively attacking me.
Sogorea Te Land Trust responded to my request to keep things civil:
This conversation happened outside of her work with Sogorea Te Land Trust and on a personal account, not one that is associated with our organization. We do not police our staff on their personal social media accounts.Sogorea Te Land Trust, April 14, 2021
Apparently, Sogorea Te Land Trust doesn’t believe in individual accountability, or require their volunteers to act with dignity or integrity.