Relations with the Glen Cove neighborhood: a letter

Drafted 6/06 by members of the Committee to Protect Glen Cove, and published in the Vallejo Times Herald as a Letter to the Editor:

We are writing to express our continuing commitment to maintaining respectful relations with the Glen Cove neighborhood and the wider Vallejo community. For over fifty days and nights we have remained at Glen Cove with the singular purpose of protecting this sacred burial ground from the desecration of development.   Continue reading

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Day 48-50 updates + photos: Bay Trail meets with Protect Glen Cove Committee, Spiritual Gathering to take place Saturday

Caleen Sisk-Franco (Wintu) & Corrina Gould (Ohlone)

Today marks 50 days of standing strong. 50 days
of prayer, in honor of and protection of the ancestors at Sogorea Te.

At this time, we are re-issuing the urgent call for people to join us at Sogorea Te who are able to commit themselves to being present on the land for 3 days to a week or more, in support of the ongoing ceremony. Please contact us if you are in need of assistance with transportation.

Its been a busy week. An independent group of supporters has been organizing in solidarity with our work to prevent the desecration of Glen Cove. At 8:00am Tuesday morning, 60 people picketed outside the offices of the Bay Trail Project in downtown Oakland, demanding the withdrawal of all financial and political support for the proposed GVRD development plan. Bay Trail, a local non-profit, has contributed upwards of $200,000 to the Glen Cove Continue reading

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New poster design: “Protect Sogorea Te”

As a gesture of solidarity, Melanie Cervantes of the Dignidad
Rebelde
artists’ group in Oakland has designed a 4-color "Protect Sogorea Te" poster. These posters will be screen-printed and sold as a benefit for the emergency defense fund.

From dignidadrebelde.com: "Today marks the 50th day that a spiritual encampment (an on going prayer and presence on the land) has held strong in at Glen Cove, in Vallejo California… I created this graphic as a humble attempt to create a visual that captured the stories being told by organizers and elders. I wanted to depict the ancestors’ presence on this sacred shellmound and did so by depicting Miwok and Ohlone men and women reflected in the clouds and in on the land. Many other California peoples have been present on this sacred land I want to acknowledge that as well. Ideally this could be a much larger piece that could reflect how important this site is to many, many, many peoples."

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Memorial Day weekend updates & photos – Workshops held, Alcatraz Story shared, Support reinforces ongoing ceremony

Days 45-47: Over an eventful 3-day weekend,
participants in the ongoing ceremony at Glen Cove were inspired by an outpouring of community support in the form of many visitors, gifts of food and supplies, and cash donations. Over $800 has been raised since the request for donations we put out last Thursday. Our warmest thanks goes out to everyone who has been showing up and contributing.

On Saturday the 28th, a know your rights and legal observation training was held on the land, hosted by attorneys from the National Lawyers Guild. Later in the day, Mark Anquoe and Morning Star Gali of the International Indian Treaty Council held a 3 hour workshop and discussion at Sogorea Te, focused on the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The discussion expanded to the topic of colonialism and how laws on various levels have shaped and enabled the continuing oppression of indigenous peoples. Treaty Council representatives explained that, significantly, the UN Declaration does not include any wording about “federally recognized” VS “unrecognized” tribes (such as the Ohlone), because “the power to define is the power to destroy”.
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New video: The Spiritual Encampment to Protect Glen Cove

This new short film edited by Rebecca Ruiz-Lichter features clips from interviews with Corrina Gould (Karkin/Chochenyo Ohlone), Morning Star Gali (Pit River), Wounded Knee DeOcampo (Miwok) and Fred Short (Chippewa), interspersed with footage from the ongoing ceremony at Glen Cove.

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Day 44 update – Support Requested, Workshops this Saturday

The spiritual encampment at Glen Cove is holding
firmly – the sacred fire has now been burning continuously for 44 days and nights, carrying the power of all the prayer offerings that have been placed upon it. We would like to state again that all who will stand with us in prayer to honor the ancestors are welcome at Sogorea Te. If you live near the Bay Area, please consider stopping by for a few hours, or a few days. Your presence will be very appreciated. Directions can be found here.

At this time we are also putting out a request for donations to cover our ongoing expenses for food, supplies, portable toilet rental, etc, as our funds and supplies are starting to run low. Donations can be made online, or checks can be sent in the mail, with an option of being tax-deductible. Food donations can also be brought to Sogorea Te at any time.
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Solidarity alert: San Francisco Peaks under immediate threat

Pipes ready to be installed at the San Francisco Peaks to transport wastewater from Flagstaff for artificial snowmaking.

Flagstaff, AZ — Owners of Arizona Snowbowl ski
area have begun moving pipeline and construction equipment to the base of the holy San Francisco Peaks, located in Northern Arizona. The Peaks are central to the ways of life of more than 13 Indigenous Nations.

Snowbowl’s development plans include clear-cutting 74 acres of rare alpine habitat that is home to threatened species, making new runs and lifts, adding more parking lots and building a 14.8 mile buried pipeline to transport up to 180 million gallons (per season) of wastewater to make artificial snow on 205 acres.
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Day 37 update – Rain passes, Salmon Dance planned

Ohlone, Miwok, and Pit River men singing traditional California songs with clappers at Sogorea Te.
Click here for names. Photo by Scott Braley.

The sun has re-emerged after a few days of focused
prayer amongst rain showers, and the spiritual encampment continues to stand firmly and in good spirits. Dozens of new visitors arrive each day, as strategy meetings and legal work hum on in the background.

We are honored to announce that the 33rd annual 500 Mile American Indian Spiritual Marathon will be ending at Sogorea Te (Glen Cove) on June 23rd, 2011, after five days of running across Northern California. Runners have been asked to go in person to Sogorea Te prior to the run, to put down their prayer offerings at the sacred fire.

On Sunday, June 5th, the Winnemem Wintu tribe is planning to gather at Sogorea Te to dance for the Salmon. They have launched a campaign to restore endangered winter run Chinook Salmon to the McCloud River above Shasta. Just up-water from Glen Cove, thousands of threatened spring-run Chinook Salmon and thousands of imperiled Sacramento Splittail, a native minnow species, have recently died at the federal Central Valley Project (CVP) water pumps in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.

“Salmon need the splittail to survive in the Estuary,” said Caleen Sisk-Franco, chief and spiritual leader of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe. “The Estuary is necessary for the survival of Chinook. The Chinook are necessary for the water to be drinkable, and for the People. Climate change will come in to balance once we follow the salmon runs. This is why the Winnemem will dance for the salmon and the Estuary on June 5th at Glen Clove in Vallejo!

Gene Doherty, President of the Solano County Native Plant Society and two other Plant Society members visited Sogorea Te this evening and received a tour of the grounds. Gene Doherty is at the Continue reading

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Day 32+33 updates – Benicia State Recreation Area set to close, Richmond Mayor asks GVRD to sit down for discussion

One of about a dozen delinquent picnic tables at Benicia State Recreation Area. GVRD plans to spend thousands for new picnic tables at Glen Cove, less the a mile to the west.

State Parks officials announced yesterday that 70
of California’s 278 State Parks will be closed to public access next year, due to budget shortfalls. The Benicia State Recreation Area, located just to the east of Glen Cove on the Carquinez Strait, is one of the parks set to be closed, chosen in part because of under-utilization by the public. Meanwhile, over a million dollars of State and non-profit grant money is being directed by the Greater Vallejo Recreation District towards constructing a NEW waterfront park that will desecrate an area held sacred by Native Americans.

A special strategy meeting was held at Sogorea Te today. 40 people from Vallejo and the greater Bay Area gathered to discuss next steps and possible actions to move things forward, given that GVRD is still refusing to engage with us. Many good ideas were raised, and tasks divided up.

Women of the Sogorea Te spiritual encampment have begun holding womens’ circles, cultivating mutual support and addressing issues that arise from the imbalance of there being many more men than women in the spiritual encampment.
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Day 31 update – Bloody Island report, Rain at Sogorea Te

This morning, a dozen participants from the
spiritual encampment at Glen Cove took part an annual memorial gathering at Clear Lake to honor the Pomo Indian people that perished, and those that survived the Bloody Island Massacre of 1850. During the sunrise ceremony, Wounded Knee (Miwok), Fred Short (Ojibwa) and Dedric Thomas (Dakota) addressed the group of about 150 people, explaining the situation at Glen Cove and asking for support and prayers. The Sogorea Te song was then sung with clappers by Mickey Gemmill Jr (Pit River), Naiche Dominguez (Apache/Ohlone) and Dedric Thomas, accompanied by Doug Duncan (Pomo). Following the ceremony and story-telling, three horses suddenly appeared in a nearby clearing, which was seen as a sign that the spirits of Bloody Island had heard our prayers.

Sonoma Dave (Chiricahua Apache) brought yet another jam-packed trailer full of wood today, further reinforcing our spiritual encampment. He explained during evening circle why the hearts of many people including himself are with us in this struggle, and that though he cannot be standing beside us every day, he is contributing in all the ways that he knows how.

At dusk, a light rain began to fall, lifting our spirits and bringing new life to the dry earth. The sharp click-clack of clappers and the melody of many voices singing California (Ohlone and Pit River) prayer songs filled the air.
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Day 30 update – Pit River shows support

Left to right: Jim Hayward, Don Hayward, Radley Davis

Yesterday, a group of Pit River Tribe
representatives drove down from Northern California, including Radley Davis of Advocates for the Protection of Sacred Places, Don and Jim Hayward of Redding Rancheria, Louis Gustafson, and Jonathan Riggins. They brought a cord of beautiful fire-scorched Red Fir, told stories of their own experiences with protecting sacred places such as Medicine Lake, and shared traditional songs with elderberry clappers. Redding Rancheria (Pit River/ Wintu/ Yana) recently passed a tribal resolution in support of protecting Glen Cove from the desecration of park development.
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Transcript & Audio of Corrina Gould in San Francisco, May 10

Corrina Gould speaking in San Francisco,
introduced by Wounded Knee DeOcampo, Me-wuk
May 10, 2011 at Station 40, 3030b 16th St.
Recorded and transcribed by Mickey Ellinger

Listen to audio

Or, download mp3 audio

Corrina: There’s lot’s of y’all here tonight. It’s good to see you. [Speaks in Ohlone] I said good day, my name’s Corrina and I’m Leshyanka, or Chochenyo. I’m Ohlone. Continue reading

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City bows to Haudenosaunee Burial Mound protectors (Ontario)

Toronto’s High Park, located near the edge of Lake Ontario, is home to
more than four dozen Haudenosaunee burial mounds, some of which date back 3000 years. For decades the burial mounds in High Park have been stepped on, dug out, and driven over with BMX bikes, with the implicit sanction of Toronto’s City Council. Six Nations (Haudenosaunee) representatives have been striving for 10 years to secure the area from ongoing desecration, yet their attempts to engage the Park Board and City Hall on this issue have repeatedly been met with “puzzling indifference”.

On May 1st, Native groups held a public gathering at Snake Mound, announcing their intent to occupy the site if the City of Toronto would not work with them to protect and rehabilitate it. The City has now agreed to sit down and talk, so for now, things are “going forward in a peaceful way”.
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Dene Suline Occupy Proposed Recreation Area (Alberta)

30 Dene Suline community members from the Cold Lake
First Nation (CLFN) have re-occupied an area of their traditional territory which the Alberta government has allocated for an expansion of the English Bay Provincial Recreation Area, without the Nation’s consent. The demonstrators set up a blockade, stating they are "protecting burial sites and many other cultural significant areas" at the site, located about 40 kilometres north of the city of Cold Lake in the Canadian province of Alberta.

In 2006, the government began working to expand and redevelop the area into a feature-rich campground, complete with power hookups, a boat launch, a registration booth, a playground and new washrooms. The provincial government is currently seeking a court injunction to remove the blockade.

Urgent Appeal from Dene Suline of Cold Lake First Nation:
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Solidarity Statement from Hawaiʻi

Demonstrating for ʻIwi Kupuna (ancestral burials)

Aloha to our brothers and sisters of
Sogorea Te (Glen Cove) of Moku Honu
(Great Turtle Island).

We are writing to let you know that many hearts, spirits and prayers are with you from Ka Pae ʻĀina o Hawaiʻi, way out in Ka Moana Nui (the great Pacific Ocean).

We feel the heartbeat of your struggle as you stand in protection of the sacred Shell Mounds and ʻIwi
Kūpuna
(ancestral burials), and for the blessed land to which your spirits are connected. We dance
in unity with the heartbeat of your struggle from across the great vastness of sea that connects us all. May your works be blessed, now and for all future generations!

Many elements of your sacred struggle resonate with us in Hawaiʻi. We have felt the pain of desecration and disrespect for native culture ourselves, and the Aloha ʻĀina, love for the land, that drives us to stand against this desecration extends to all of you as you make your stand.

Our warriors have fought, and continue to fight, great battles for the protection of ʻiwi at Wailuanuiahoano – where, like you, brothers and Continue reading

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Day 28 update

Two Native Hawaiian brothers spent the day at
Sogorea Te – Moses Mix and Mahealani Keale (a folk song-writer), hailing from the islands of O‘ahu, Kaua‘i and Ni‘ihau. They shared a song and warmly commiserated with our struggle as they described some of their own work protecting burial and sacred sites in Hawai‘i.

Also today, we received a very special letter of support signed by 47 indigenous people of Hawai‘i. "The signatories of this letter are not of any one organization, but represent many different groups, struggles and efforts in protection of our land, culture & people. It is our collective Aloha ʻĀina, love for the land, that we want to share with you as you stand for Sogorea Te."   Continue reading

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Day 27 update

Another massive load of wood was donated yesterday.

The Benally family from Black Mesa, Arizona,
Dine’ traditionalists and lifelong advocates for the protection of sacred places, spent the day with us at Sogorea Te. They brought songs, prayers, and encouragement.

Corrina Gould and Wounded Knee DeOcampo spoke at Station 40 in San Francisco this evening to a packed crowd of about 80 people. They were accompanied by a group of singers from the spiritual encampment, who shared the Sogorea Te and AIM honoring songs. Q & A following the speakers was lively, and many young people offered various forms of support.

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Day 25 / Mothers Day update

Morning Star Gali and Wounded Knee DeOcampo

An honoring was held today at the encampment
for mothers, women, and Mother Earth. Later in the day, a group of about a dozen Jewish people from various Bay Area congregations and social action groups visited and expressed their support and respect. They shared their religious beliefs regarding death and respect for ancestors, and explained why Jews visit their relatives’ graves.

In the evening, we were blessed by the arrival of Caleen Sisk-Franco, Spiritual Leader of the Winnemem Wintu people of Northern California. Caleen offered her support and expressed interest in planning a Salmon Dance with us at Glen Cove in the future.

Morning Star Gali (Pit River), Jimbo Simmons (Choctaw) and others involved with the spiritual defense of Glen Cove addressed the crowd at another Blackfire concert, this time at Point Reyes Station, CA.

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