Search The Tattler

Saturday, July 16, 2016

City to Take Possession of Ohlone Artifacts From Bay Street Mall

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.
School Board member and Emeryville City Council candidate Christian Patz announced today he is brokering a deal between the City of Emeryville and the corporate owners of the Bay Street Mall to take possession of certain Ohlone Indian artifacts, dug up when the mall was built, ultimately to offer the objects to living ancestors of the Bay Area tribe.  The mall is built upon the site of the largest Native American shell mound on the West coast and construction workers uncovered many votive and religious objects some up to 2800 years old as well as every day  tools and buried human remains in 1999 when the mall was being built.

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:


  1. Building that mall on that site, could be a bad omen for the city of Emeryville. We will find out in time.


  2. While the appropriation and possession of these artifacts is outrageous and likely in violation of federal and native law, the photographs do not appear to depict a "dusty corner."

  3. The displayed artifacts are actually items replicated from the actual finds, the actual items were intered at the direction of the Most Likely Descendent.

    1. If that be true, this would certainly change the value of them. We'll check this out.