April 15th: Occupation underway, demonstrations at City Hall and GVRD Headquarters

Native Americans and supporters have successfully occupied the ancient burial site at Glen Cove, Vallejo, preventing the Greater Vallejo Recreation District from beginning work that would desecrate the sacred site. Beginning with an early morning spiritual ceremony attended by over 100 people, protesters vowed to block bulldozers and prevent any work that would desecrate the site from taking place. The occupation will continue until there is an agreement to protect the burial site. Dozens will camp at the site tonight.

At 11:30 am today the protesters held a peaceful rally and ceremony at Vallejo City Hall and then marched to the offices of the Greater Vallejo Recreation District.

Last night the United States Department of Justice sent a senior conciliation specialist to Glen Cove to meet with Native American leaders. The Native Americans asked the DOJ to help facilitate a meeting with the GVRD to try to reach an agreement to protect the sacred burial site. It is possible a meeting between the sides, mediated by the US Department of Justice, may occur Monday. The State Attorney General’s office has also become involved after the organization SSP&RIT filed an administrative civil rights complaint against the City and GVRD on Wednesday.

Native American activists and supporters have begun the occupation of Glen Cove as an escalation of their struggle that has been going on for over a decade, since the Greater Vallejo Recreation District (GVRD) first proposed plans for a “fully featured public park” including construction of a paved parking lot, paved hiking trails, 1000 pound picnic tables and a public restroom on top of the 3500 year old burial site.

On Wednesday, April 13th, Sacred Site Protection and Rights of Indigenous Tribes (SSP&RIT), a Vallejo-based community organization, filed an administrative civil rights complaint to the State of California alleging that the City and GVRD are discriminating on the basis of race in threatening to destroy and desecrate significant parts of the Glen Cove Shellmound and burial site, for harming Native Americans’ religious and spiritual well-being, and effectively excluding Native Americans from their right to full participation in decision-making regarding the site.

The history and cultural value of the site has never been disputed. Human remains have been consistently unearthed as the area around the site has been developed. Native Americans continue to hold ceremonies at Sogorea Te just as they have for thousands of years. The Glen Cove Shell Mound spans fifteen acres along the Carquinez Strait. It is the final resting place of many Indigenous People dating back more than 3,500 years, and has served as a traditional meeting place for dozens of California Indian tribes. The site continues to be spiritually important to California tribes. The Glen Cove site is acknowledged by GVRD and the City to have many burials and to be an important cultural site, yet they are moving forward as early as Friday with plans to build a toilet and parking lot on this sacred site and to grade a hill that likely contains human remains and important cultural artifacts.

SSP&RIT have asked GVRD to reconsider their plans to grade the hill and build toilets and a parking lot at the site.

photo: Circling up for a prayer in front of Vallejo City Hall, April 15, 2011

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6 Responses to April 15th: Occupation underway, demonstrations at City Hall and GVRD Headquarters

  1. red slider says:

    ‘Sacrament’ was once defined for me as “an exterior visible sign of an interior state of grace.” The supporters of Glen Cove preservation have certainly demonstrated the sacramental nature of their protest – within and without religious contexts. I stand in support of any preservation of the public commons of the people’s lands – and I include all sites such as Glen Cove as part of that great public commons – for Indians and non-Indians alike, for the religious and non-religions. It belongs to all of us and it is the common heritage of us all, no matter where are ancestors came from. – red slider.

    Small suggestion, if it hasn’t been done – a window decal for the businesses of Vallejo that support the Glen Cove resistance; and a firm commitment from all who support Glen Cove preservation that they will only shop at businesses displaying that sticker. I also find it strange, in this day when critical budget shortfalls are forcing cities all over the state to close parks and leave them untended, Vallejo manages to find the cash and resolve to pave roads and build facilities? Something wrong with that picture. Some lot of cash changing hands somewhere, I’d reckon. Good Luck to all .

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  4. Lisa Savage says:

    We stand in solidarity with your effort to maintain a sacred place, recognized as such by your tribe for 3,500 years. If we earthlings would listen to the wisdom of the indigenous people about land use, there might still be some chance to save our species. If we do not, humans are likely doomed. The Carquinez Straits are a beautiful, special area and I sincerely hope you are successful in your struggle to preserve the ancient burial ground and shell mounds.
    Lisa Savage
    CODEPINK Maine

  5. Carmen Saldivar says:

    The Parks and Recreation Department calls this a last hour attempt after many years of planning. They claim nothing has been objected to til the last hour. What a shame that they continue to not be factual the fact is that many have been speaking against this for 10 years+. Unfortunately what is not being shown here is the past videos made over the years showing the objections of this disgraceful behavior. The sad thing is that this behavior is typical of City Officials. They continue to believe that they have the right to disturb the final resting place of the first Nation people. The people need to unite especially the spiritual people need to come in support and put those prayers up together in unity to make these people hear us. We are tired of having our relations final resting place being disturbed. The call needs to go out to our community especially our Spiritual leaders. Please join those at Glen Cove for prayer over the fire with the drum and ask our great spirit to hear these prayers and stop this injustice from continuing to take place. The more spiritual persons there are over that fire the more powerful those prayers will be. Blessings

  6. Elaine Brewer says:

    We’ve been getting Emails regarding this & plan to come by this week for support & see what we can help with re:supplies, etc. We live right across the Bay presently & are from the Oglala Sioux Tribe of S. Dakota & Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma.

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