Corrina Gould is the spokesperson for the Confederated Villages of Lisjan/Ohlone. She was born and raised in Oakland, CA, the Territory of Huichuin. She is an activist that has worked on preserving and protecting the ancient burial sites of her ancestors in the Bay Area for decades.
She is the co-founder and a Lead Organizer for Indian People Organizing for Change, a small Native run grassroots organization and co-founder of the Sogorea Te Land Trust, an urban Indigenous women’s community organization working to return land to Indigenous stewardship in San Francisco’s East Bay.
I was born in Occupied Ohlone land, the village of Puichon, which is now known as Mountain View, California. When I was a child, this place was full of apricot orchards and is now home to tech overlords. Ever since I was a child, I could feel a deeper narrative that was just beyond my grasp in the redwood groves, in the bay tree groves, in the oak savannah's of my childhood, in the creeks that run down the spine of the peninsula, in the waves of the Pacific Ocean and in the stillness of the Bay. I could feel an ancient presence here, the way I would feel when I was in my family's homeland India. It was not until I was about 16 years old that I started to understand that what I was sensing was the simultaneous presence and the absence of Ohlone people who had inhabited these lands for over 10,000 years. Through my ongoing inquiry, I started to unlearn what we had been taught in school--that these people were savages, that they were brought into the missions to be civilized. On the contrary, the Ohlone people had sophisticated technologies that allowed them to live in this area in such a way where there was no war, no famine, no ecological destruction, but rather a vibrant multicultural, multilingual existence where all creatures thrived and fire ecology was used to maintain the vitality of the forests. When Europeans first came to this land, they were shocked by how tame the "wildlife" was. There was no concept of "wild" to the indigenous people here, because there was no separation of what was nature and what was human--it was all deeply integrated. Within 300 years here, European and Asian settlers have poisoned the water, made the air so toxic that it leads to decreased life expectancy, destroyed virtually all old growth redwoods, endangered and extinguished the presence of Tule Elk, Grizzly Bear, Beaver, Salmon and more and enacted policies of genocide against indigenous people that continue today. This begs the question--Who is civilized and who is savage?
In a time where we must relearn how to integrate back into the whole, I look to the Ohlone people as my guide, in this territory where I live, where I am learning how to listen, how to work to dismantle those systems that create such disconnection and disruption for so many vital entities that keep us all alive and healthy. This song is my homage to the Ohlone--past, present and future--who have given me safe space to practice my medicine and live with my family in their beautiful territory.
This is an edible seed of Salvia hispanica, a flowering plant in the mint family native to the Americas and a staple in the Ohlone diet. Although the Chai seeds in the health food store will sprout, the best plants come from choice seeds. We sourced our organic chai seeds from Eden Brothers out of North Carolina.
Chia seeds are tiny. You don't need to dig a hole to bury them. Just lightly ruffle an area of your weed-free garden with a rake or, if you only have a few seeds and are spacing them carefully, simply loosen the earth with your fingers. Sprinkle a few seeds over the soil and rub gently to cover them.
Water the seeds daily, and within about a week you can expect to see chia sprouts. Remember to mulch your chia plants as they grow, and water them regularly. They thrive in an organic garden and don't like competing with weeds. When ready to harvest for seed you wait till flower stalk has lost its petals and is drying out, simply cut the stalk and let dry completely shake out seeds and sift our organic matter. You can use the leaves for tea.