In East Oakland, California, traditional and medicinal plants like sage, tobacco and mugwort grow on a quarter acre of land alongside fruits and vegetables. For Corrina Gould, it’s a piece of her tribe’s ancestral homelands.

Gould is the tribal chair for the Confederated Villages of Lisjan, a tribe not recognized by the federal government. When that quarter acre was returned to the Sogorea Te’ Land Trust — an organization Gould co-founded with other Indigenous women — it was the first step in a vision to reclaim Indigenous land, a process called rematriation.

The organization defines rematriation as “work to restore sacred relationships between Indigenous people and our ancestral land, honoring our matrilineal societies, and in opposition of patriarchal violence and dynamics.”

They want the country to move away from seeing the land and its resources as something to extract from — a practice that is often associated with men’s domination — and toward viewing the land as something to take care of. Indigenous, women-led conservation, in Gould’s view, is one way to bring that balance back to the land.

Since that initial success, the land trust has successfully secured several other land transfers, including five additional acres from the city of Oakland. On the land, they’ve built community gardens, held traditional ceremonies and invited the broader community to rebuild relationships with land that are based on reciprocity rather than ownership.

“We can imagine reopening creeks and fixing watersheds again, and bringing salmon home and teaching our kids how to restore things, and plant things that are good and to take out invasive things, and watch our bees return and be resilient,” Gould said. “Those are the dreams of rematriation.”

The success they’ve seen in Oakland is part of a growing trend. According to one tracker compiled by researchers at the University of Kansas, there have been at least 90 instances of land being returned to tribes publicly in the past five years as part of what’s become known as the Land Back movement.

The 19th spoke to Gould about the meaning of this larger movement, the work of Sogorea Te’ Land Trust and how people living on stolen land can be a part of rematriation efforts.

Read the full article about Indigenous land trust by Jessica Kutz at The19th.