Alameda Poet Laureate Presents Chochenyo Park Poetry Event

Kimi Sugioka--Well-renowned poets and musicians will perform at the Chochenyo Park Poetry event Sunday, April 10.

Alameda Poet Laureate Presents Chochenyo Park Poetry Event

Alameda Poet Laureate Kimi Sugioka is hosting the Chochenyo Park Poetry event Sunday, April 10 at Chochenyo Park at 2430 Encinal Ave. The free event takes place from 1 to 4 p.m.

The event will consist of poetry readings from locally renowned poets and writers, musical performances, an open mic session and a ceremony from Indigenous people.

Along with Sugioka, poets that will read at the event include Kim Shuck, San Francisco Poet Laureate Emerita; Linda Noel, a California native poet of the Kooyungkowi (Konkow) people; Georgina Marie, Lake County Poet Laureate for 2020-2024; Alison Hart, a mixed-race Passamaquoddy Native American writer; Mia Ruz, a Peruvian American poet from Lake County; and Nanette Deetz, a Lakota/Dakota, Cherokee and German American poet and writer.

The Unole Singers, an all-women drum group that performs traditional Native American music, will perform at the event. Paul Corman Roberts, an MC and author of Bone Moon Palace, will also perform. Lastly, Indigenous tribal representatives will participate in a rematriation ceremony.

The event was created to celebrate the legacy of the Chochenyo People of the Lisjan Nation.

Chochenyo Park is Alameda’s oldest city park. It was originally named “Alameda Park” then renamed President Andrew Jackson Park, or just Jackson Park. The park held this name from 1909 to 2019. A group of Alameda residents started a grassroots campaign in 2018 to change the name because of Jackson’s tainted past, which includes owning slaves and engineering the traumatic removal of Native Americans from their ancestral lands in the southeast U.S. to Oklahoma, resulting in thousands of deaths from starvation and exposure.

In 2020, the City Council directed staff to dename the park and instructed the Alameda Recreation and Parks Department to start a Park Naming Committee to find a replacement name (“Park Redubbed ‘Chochenyo Park,’” March 10, 2021). The committee chose Chochenyo because it is the language spoken by the Lisjan Ohlone people, who first lived, and continue to live, in the San Francisco East Bay. Their unceded territory includes the City of Alameda. The City Council approved the Chochenyo Park name change at its Jan. 19, 2021, meeting.

A park celebration event was held on July 29, 2021 (“City Hosts Chochenyo Park Celebration,” Aug. 3, 2021). The City of Alameda has refurbished the park’s north end, placing logs in semicircles to invite informal gatherings and creative play. This new gathering space will be utilized at the poetry event.

Even though the event is outdoors, organizers ask attendees to consider wearing masks.

For more information or to RSVP, visit the event’s Facebook page at

Eric J. Kos--The new gathering space at Chochenyo Park, consisting of logs placed in a semicircle, will be utilized at the poetry event.