City Council Hopeful Brokers Deal on Purloined Emeryville History
|School Board Member and|
City Council candidate
Christian Patz (Ed.D)
We have a "shared history"
with our native predecessors.
Madison Marquette Corporation, the builders of the mall, gave over to the University of California most of the trove of artifacts in 1999 but they kept some for themselves where they have occupied a dusty corner of the corporate leasing office ever since. It is not known if the corporate seizure of the objects in 1999 was legal. The City of Emeryville's Redevelopment Agency is the responsible party to the final destruction of the shell mounds but Mr Patz says the pre-Columbian objects should not be in the possession of the Bay Street Mall.
The building of the mall brought much protest from the Bay Area Native American community especially at the time since the site was the burial ground for many generations of their ancestors. The swapping of a 2800 year old sacred site to a shopping mall has been called an insult and worse to Native Americans. Protesters still convene on the site every Black Friday before Thanksgiving.
Although Dr Patz says the artifacts should be returned to their rightful owners, he thinks City Hall should at least temporarily display them for the benefit of the people. "The loss of the shell mounds was tragic" Dr Patz told the Tattler today. "While it cannot be undone, we can empower the few remaining decedents by letting them decide where these treasures end up. Until then, they should act as a reminder of our shared history" he added.
The Deal brokered by Mr Patz appears to be imminent as Bay Street Mall Manager Jen Nettles has expressed interest in donating the objects to the City and City Manager Carolyn Lehr indicated she would accept them.
Below: The 2800 year old Emeryville Ohlone artifacts in the Manager's leasing office at Bay Street: