Policing Task Force & recognizing the Ohlone

The Albany Social and Economic Justice Commission held a virtual meeting on February 2, 2021 to discuss the composition and goals of a planned Community Task Force on Policing, as well as whether the city of Albany should officially acknowledge the fact that it is situated on indigeneous land. 

The group explored multiple avenues for recognizing the sovereignty of the Ohlone People, the original inhabitants of the Bay Area. Commissioner Karen Zapata explained that the city of Albany would benefit from following the model of respectful engagement with the Ohlone People set by the city of Berkeley. 

“Even before issuing a land acknowledgement, the city of Albany should enter a right relationship with the First Peoples,” Zapata said. “As part of that relationship, the city could adopt a statement of support, alter signage to reflect the presence of Ohlone communities in this area, or work with the District to teach more Ohlone history in schools.” 

During a public comment period, an anonymous attendee expressed concern over the prospect of issuing a land acknowledgement without input from members of the Ohlone Tribe. They explained that, from their perspective, it was critical that the city of Albany consult the Ohlone community before proceeding with any changes to the sovereign relationship. 

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