Celebrating Lisjan legacy, Blessing the Future
The public are invited to join in Chochenyo Park Poetry. Led by Alameda’s Poet Laureate, Kimi Sugioka, a group of poets, performers, and Indigenous tribal representatives will participate in a rematriation ceremony. The event will be held this coming Sunday, April 10, from 1 p.m. – 4 p.m., at Chochenyo Park, 2430 Encinal Ave.
Chochenyo Park is Alameda’s oldest city park. It was originally named “Alameda Park” and subsequently, from 1909-2019, it was named for President Andrew Jackson. Despite some positive accomplishments, he committed many atrocities – owning slaves and engineering the traumatic removal of Native Americans from ancestral lands. Residents of Alameda started a grassroots movement to dissociate the park from Jackson’s checkered legacy.
In 2020 the name Chochenyo was selected in honor of the language spoken by local Lisjan Ohlone tribes. A renaming ceremony occurred July 29, 2021. Since then, the City of Alameda has refurbished the park’s north end, placing logs in semicircles to invite informal gatherings and creative play. This new gathering space will be utilized in the upcoming poetry event.
In an interview, Sugioka explained “…There was limited indigenous participation in the inaugural name change event. I feel it is important to honor the legacy of the Chochenyo people with indigenous poets. A subtext of the event is: reclamation, restoration and rematriation. This intersects with, and emphasizes, developing sustainable ecological practices that echo indigenous principles… Now is a good time to affirm inclusive diversity, and to stimulate dialogue and galvanize community across race and culture.” She added, “Corrina Gould of the Sogorea Te’ Land Trust defines “rematriate” to restore a people to their rightful place in sacred relationship with their ancestral land.”
Additional poets and performers will include:
- Paul Corman Roberts, MC
- Kim Shuck, San Francisco Poet Laureate Emerita
- Linda Noel, California native poet of the Kooyungkowi (Konkow) people
- Georgina Marie, Lake County Poet Laureate 2020-2024
- Alison Hart, who identifies as a mixed-race Passamaquoddy Native American writer
- Mia Ruz, Peruvian American poet from Lake County
- Kimi Sugioka, Poet Laureate of the City of Alameda
The event will include an open mic session so that the public may participate in this new phase of the park’s evolution. Organizers will also collect written, and/or spoken, wishes and blessings for this land of the Chochenyo. It’s recommended that attendees bring a blanket or chair to sit on and to consider wearing masks.