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Performance artist Dohee Lee is collaborating with Sogorea Te’ Land Trust (Sogorea Te’) to create When the Land Stands Alone, an effort to unite through shamanic practice two communities of indigenous practitioners in Huichin Village (the Ohlone name for Oakland) and on Jeju Island, South Korea.

In each location, Lee will collaborate with traditional practitioners of community ritual and healing, studying how indigenous practices evolve when the lands they are practiced on have been impacted by colonization and environmental destruction. For the Creative Work Fund-supported project phase, Dohee Lee will engage with Corrina Gould and Sogorea Te’, asking how refugees and immigrants – newcomers on this land – and Ohlone – original caretakers of the land – can share respective histories and find common ground. Their process will culminate in four seasonal public ritual performances in 2023 at sacred Ohlone sites in Oakland.

For over 20 years, Dohee Lee and her organization, Dohee Lee and Puri Arts have been creating performance rituals with the intention of bringing communities together in collective action.  Lee comes from Jeju Island, South Korea, where the Indigenous community is engaged in a long-fought protest against the construction of a US Naval based on sacred ancestral land. Her work in Jeju mirrors the struggle of indigenous communities in the Bay Area.

Sogorea Te’ is an urban Indigenous women-led land trust based in the San Francisco Bay Area that facilitates the return of Indigenous land to Indigenous people. Sogorea Te’s executive director Corrina Gould (Lisjan Ohlone) is the chair and spokesperson for the Confederated Villages of Lisjan. She was born and raised in Oakland, the village of Huichin.

Photo of Dohee Lee by Yoo Yong Yee