On July 12th, over 100 people converged on the
steps of Vallejo City Hall to bring a strong and clear message to City Council, which was holding closed session meeting regarding the future of the sacred burial ground known as Sogorea Te (Glen Cove). Demonstrators arrived an hour before the scheduled meeting, gathering together around the drum to sing before entering the council chambers.
Colorful signs carried messages such as “No bulldozing on sacred ground” and “Protect all 15 acres”, referring to the cultural easement that is currently being negotiated by the city, GVRD, and two federally recognized Patwin tribes that the city has chosen to acknowledge as stakeholders. The details of this draft cultural easement have not been revealed to the public or to the Ohlone and Miwok-led Committee to Protect Glen Cove. Speakers throughout the evening encouraged the city to ratify the easement, with the qualification that in order to meaningfully protect the burial grounds, any agreement must encompass all 15 acres and prohibit bulldozing and development.
Dozens of people signed up on cards to speak before the council, however, only five were permitted to speak in advance of the closed session, which convened at 6:30pm. The rest were instructed to wait until the Community Forum at the end of the 7:00 council meeting if they still wished to speak.
Glen Cove residents Sandra Pacheco, Ray Richardson and Jeff Franklin spoke eloquently in the first session, along with Vallejo residents Marcos Negran and Wounded Knee DeOcampo. In a room packed full of supporters wearing red shirts, Wounded Knee closed his speech with a plea to the council, and to GVRD: “It is time to halt. Enough is enough of desecrating sacred sites and burial grounds of indigenous people.”
Demonstrators patiently sat through almost four hours of City Council discourse on matters such as a proposed tax related to marijuana sales, awaiting the opportunity to further speak about Sogorea Te during the final Community Forum. By the end of the meeting at around 11:30pm, eighteen speakers had shared their deeply held convictions about the need to protect and respect the sacred grounds of Sogorea Te. Late-night speakers included Corrina Gould (Ohlone), Li Pono, Galeson Eaglestar (Oglala Lakota), Michelle Steinberg, Reverend Patrick McCollum, Dr. Barbara McGraw, Antonio Gonzalez (Seri), Sam Kirsham, Perry Matlock, LeRoy Cisneros, Zak Alvarez, Morning Star Gali (Pit River) and Mark Anquoe (Kiowa).