Levi Rickert, editor-in-chief in Native Challenges. Discussion »
VALLEJO, CALIFORNIA - On Saturday more than 250 people attended a spiritual gathering at Sogorea Te under a brilliant sunshine. The people came to show their support to the group of American Indians from the San Francisco Bay Area who are in their ninth week of occupation at Sogorea Te, a sacred burial site, commonly known as Glen Cove.
Prayer Circle-Sogorea Te Sacred Site Protest Day 59
The group has been at Sogorea Te to stop the construction of two toilets and a parking lot at the sacred site that the Greater Vallejo Recreation District wants to construct.
Representatives of many California tribes were present, including the Cachil Dehe/Colusa Band of Wintu, Elem Pomo, Grindstone Wintu/Wailaki, Northern Chumash, Chemeuvi, Tuolumne Me-wuk, Pit River, Maidu, Mono, Karkin Ohlone and Rumsen Ohlone.
Corrina Gould, Karkin/Chochenyo Ohlone, addressed the group, expressing gratefulness for all the sacrifices and contributions that have made these 59 days of continuous prayer and resistance possible with the following statement:
Sogorea Te Sacred Site Protest Day 59
"My Great Great Grandmother was born on these shores. This was the last place that my ancestors were forced from their land and pulled in to Mission Dolores and Mission San Jose. We didn't choose this place, and decide that it would be sacred. Our ancestors chose it for us, long ago."
"Greater Vallejo Recreation District and the Native American Heritage Commission are saying that we don't have the right to be here, or to have a seat at the table in deciding what happens to this place. That is wrong. As indigenous people of this land, we have an inherent right to be here and to protect the resting place of our ancestors."
Joey Silvas, Wailaki, related the current reoccupation of Sogorea Te to other California land struggles of the past, such as the 1972 occupation at Pit River, Yurok/Hupa battles over fishing rights, and the fight against the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant, which is built on top of sacred Chumash burial grounds.
“The struggle keeps going on, and on, and on.”
Cecilia Silvas, Pit River, emphasized that "What we are fighting for is not just about us as Indians. It's about all people, it's about being human. By being here, you have shown yourselves to be human When the land is destroyed, when the air and water are polluted, we all suffer. We all have to breathe the air, and drink the water. You are not a nationality, you are a human being."
Wounded Knee DeOcampo, Me-wuk spoke passionately about the necessity of taking a stand to protect sacred places. He thanked all the people that came from near and far to stand in solidarity with us, especially those from Northern California tribes who answered to the recent call for support. Repeating the sage words of Chief Little Turtle, Miami, Wounded Knee said:
“If the tribes fight amongst each other, we will all be killed. But if we all join together as indigenous people, we will make a powerful fist.”
Sogorea Te is 25-miles from San Francisco.
posted June 13, 2011 10:27 am et
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