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California: Returning Stolen Land to Native Tribes, One Lot at a Time

A quarter-acre of land in East Oakland is about to return to the Muwekma Ohlone, bringing a sense of place and healing to people whose connection to indigenous lands were taken from them.

By Emily Wilson
Civil Eats


It’s the winter solstice, but the sun is shining in East Oakland, California. Within view of the freeway, amidst a gritty stretch of neighborhood with more concrete than trees, Rolling River Nursery and urban farm stands out. The two-acre lot, run by nonprofit Planting Justice, is filled with about 30,000 fruit trees and is staffed by former inmates and other area residents with few employment options.

On this day the green space is especially tranquil. A group of young men are holding a drum circle. Near the entrance, workers and volunteers are sitting around crates of avocados, removing the pits to plant. Soon, a quarter-acre of this lot will belong to the Muwekma Ohlone people—one of several landless tribes in California. The land, said Planting Justice in a recent announcement, will be an “indigenous cultural site with a traditional arbor, a place for ceremony, and a place to remain true to the original teachings and pass them onto the next generations.”

Read the complete article here.