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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Day 24 update – Shellmound Walk in Oakland

Raven Garcia, leading the walk

Today’s Shellmound Walk covered 10 miles through the
streets of Oakland, praying for the ancestors at seven Ohlone shellmound burial sites. The walk was led by 14-year old Raven Garcia (Pit River/ Paiute), accompanied by Corrina Gould and Johnella LaRose of the Protect Glen Cove Committee and thirty participants.

All seven of the shellmound burial sites visited today in Oakland have been desecrated and paved over with streets, sidewalks, apartments, a public library, an office building, and a bar. The shellmounds at Sogorea Te (Glen Cove) are some of the few remaining Ohlone burial sites in the entire Bay Area that have not been covered by concrete and asphalt.

Today’s visitors to the ongoing ceremony at Sogorea Te included Joey and Cecilia Silvas, who drove down from Pit River territory with gifts of sage, cedar, tobacco and food. Theresia Erickson and Zana, a 1978 Long Walker, came down from Eugene, OR bringing smoked salmon, tobacco and a case of Tanka bars (made of cranberries and buffalo meat!). Afghans for Peace kindly brought another delicious traditional Afghan dinner for the group.

Volunteers from the spiritual encampment stopped by dozens of Garage Sales in the Glen Cove neighborhood this morning, passing out flyers and chatting with residents, almost all of whom were friendly and supportive.

A group of Mexica dancers from Santa Rosa, CA have been visiting over the past couple weeks helping out in the kitchen and with security. Today they shared four dances, with prayers and respect to the ancestors at Sogorea Te, followed by a talking circle (“passing the palabra”). They are standing unified with us as indigenous peoples of this continent, helping to fulfill the prophecy of the Eagle and Condor.

Our elder Henry Dominguez and his family returned to Sogorea Te this evening, and a healing ceremony was held with all the 50 or so people who were present.

Latest editorial:
Times Herald editorial 5/06: A vote against ‘prettifying’ by Luna Gilligan, Vallejo resident

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Day 23 update

Left to right: Wounded Knee DeOcampo, Mary Jean Robertson, Richard Brown and Tony Cerda

Black Panther and SF8 defendant Richard Brown
visited today, expressing his fullest support for our work. Journalists working for News from Native California took photographs and conducted interviews for hours, which will be featured in their upcoming Summer issue.

Klee Benally (Diné/ Navajo) from the Save the Peaks Coalition addressed the group at morning circle, providing updates regarding the ongoing struggle to prevent the expansion of a ski area and use of recycled wastewater for artificial snowmaking on the holy San Francisco Peaks, in Arizona.

A lawyer who specializes in Native American Federal Law approached the encampment in the afternoon, volunteering his services and support. The Protect Glen Cove Committee has also been in conversation with archeologists who are offering to support our effort to prevent further disturbance of the Glen Cove area.

At dinnertime, we were visited by Tony Cerda, chairman of the Coastanoan-Rumsen Ohlone tribe, accompanied by Mary Jean Robertson (Cherokee), radio host of Voices of the Native Nation. They were welcomed with an honoring song, and Tony Cerda led the circle in a prayer.

Cold, crisp winds swept the grounds at nightfall, and a beautiful crescent moon hung low in the sky. The ceremonial fire has been burning at Sogorea Te for three weeks now. We stand strong in prayer, prepared to remain for as long as it takes.

Latest article:
Times-Herald editorial 5/06: Actions Speak Loud by J.T. Miller, Vallejo Resident
Continue reading

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Brief Day 22 update

It was a blazing hot day on the land, yet many still came to
visit, including a crew from San Jose-based Native Voice TV, who conducted interviews and received a tour of the grounds.

Representatives from the ongoing ceremony at Sogorea Te spoke in Oakland this evening at a concert featuring Blackfire (Dine’ rock/punk) and Aztlan Underground. Klee Benally of Blackfire addressed the crowd, urging people to meaningfully involve themselves in the protection of Glen Cove as a way of respecting and giving back to the original people of this stolen land.

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Brief Day 21 update

Steve Pressley of GVRD, camcorder in hand

This morning, Steve Pressley of GVRD again walked the
grounds, this time with GVRD’s park maintenance supervisor. They stated that sometime next week, they’ll weed-whack and mow down the grasslands at Glen Cove, because as the grass dries, its a “fire hazard”.

Today’s Times-Herald newspaper article reported that “In response to the protest — which has delayed construction — the GVRD has hired a public relations firm [Perry Communications Group] in an effort to ‘dispel myths and rumors’ about the Waterfront Improvement Plan. The contract is not to exceed $10,000, officials said.” Ten thousand dollars!

In the evening, ceremony was held at Sogorea Te for a newborn child, who was welcomed to the world with prayers for well-being and long life.

Latest article:
Times Herald, 5/05: Glen Cove park opponents ask U.N. to help

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Day 20 morning update – GVRD snapping photos

At about 10am, Steve Pressley (GVRD Maintenance/ Development
Manager) entered the grounds of Sogorea Te with camera in hand, taking photographs without permission of people, tents, the fire, and the altar. Shane McAffee (GVRD General Manager) also walked the grounds today at about 1:30pm, with GVRD’s lawyer.

GVRD is not only refusing to meet with the Protect Glen Cove Committee, they have also declined to sign the agreement produced from an initial meeting on April 18th, in which some basic understandings between GVRD and the Committee were established regarding the ongoing prayer gathering at Sogorea Te.

We would like to affirm clearly: We have the right to be here. We are here to stay, until this situation is resolved. In Fred Short’s words, "This is Indian Land. We don’t need permission to stay here and protect our ancestors." We don’t need permits to hold ceremony on our sacred grounds. And we thank all those who have brought tents, because our people who have been in ceremony and prayer with us have needed shelter from the rain, winds, and cold.

In accordance with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples:

Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain and strengthen their distinctive spiritual relationship with their traditionally owned or otherwise occupied and used lands, territories, waters and coastal seas and other resources and to uphold their responsibilities to future generations in this regard. (Article 25)

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Brief Day 19 update

CodePINK demonstrators marched from
downtown Vallejo to Glen Cove today, arriving at about noon. They are en route to the State Capitol in Sacramento to set up a tent city, demanding an end to tax-breaks for corporations and taxes that fund war. They were welcomed at Glen Cove, and provided with lunch. A pipe ceremony was then held to honor and thank them for their efforts to confront injustice, and for their support of our struggle.

In the evening, Winnemem Wintu and Hupa representatives visited with encouraging words, prayers and special traditional songs sung around the fire.

Meanwhile, GVRD put out a press release today, announcing a new website and Facebook page designed to promote their park development plan to the public. They are attempting to keep up with what they call the “inexplicable dissemination of misinformation” about their plans for Glen Cove. Their website doesn’t even work. No media outlets appear to have picked up the release, and its only available online because GVRD paid to use the “Business Wire” press release distribution service.

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Day 18 (May Day) update

It was a very social Sunday. Internationally
acclaimed actor Michael Horse and his partner Pennie Opal Plant from Gathering Tribes Art Gallery in Berkeley paid us a visit and donated much needed supplies. Artists from Oakland donated two spray-painted banners. A limo pulled up to the gate, full of DJs from a local radio station, who visited and brought us fruit. Then a trio of Mormons appeared–after being informed that proselytizing to our participants was forbidden, they joined us for a short while.

Doug and Clayton Duncan from Robinson Rancheria and Gary Thomas of the Elem Pomo Roundhouse shared the story of the massacre of their ancestors at Bloody Island and offered songs. Their family members sang healing songs and danced in honor of the women, accompanied by prayers offered by a Taino Elder from Puerto Rico.
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Brief Day 17 Update – FAQ added to website

There is a new Frequently Asked Questions page on the Protect Glen Cove website, designed to address GVRD’s recent propaganda, and questions that have been coming up often in the past few weeks.

Members of the Cultural Resource Department of the Shingle Springs Rancheria (Miwok) brought a large truck-load of wood down from El Dorado County and spent the day with us. Dozens of other visitors came by, many receiving tours of the grounds. Volunteers leafleted for a few hours at the Vallejo Farmers Market, talking with many people (including MC Hammer!) about Sogorea Te and inviting them to come out for a visit. An Afghan woman surprised us with delicious food for dinner.

A large group of women from the social justice organization Bay Area CodePINK will be arriving in Vallejo Sunday evening, after a day of marches and occupations in support of the International Workers Day strike. On Monday morning, they will march from downtown Vallejo to Glen Cove, to express solidarity with the Native American struggle to prevent the desecration of Glen Cove. A rally and press conference will be held at noon.

A PDF of the recent Addendum to the Civil Rights Complaint filed against GVRD and the City of Vallejo has been added to the Links and Resources page, along with a 4/25 Letter on the Legal Standing of Native American/ Ohlone individuals and SSP&RIT by the International Indian Treaty Council.

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Day 16 – Glen Cove spiritual encampment holding strong

Photos from the day are posted here.

Many new supporters arrived today. In the morning, tasks were divided up and much was accomplished. Cleanup crews walked the shoreline, hauling away 200 more pounds of rubber tires, trash, and broken glass, then cleaning and organizing the kitchen and grounds. New banners were painted and a banner was dropped over Interstate 780 at the Glen Cove Road overpass. Others handed out flyers downtown and at the nearby Safeway store.

At lunch, the group feasted on fresh-caught sturgeon from the Carquinez Strait and smoked salmon that was brought down from Pit River territory. A story-telling circle was held after lunch, during which experiences of 70’s era indigenous struggles were shared.

A group of young women from the Oakland-based American Indian Child Resource Center‘s “Daughters of Tradition” program visited today and Corrina Gould gave them an educational tour of Sogorea Te. Police officers and a utility company worker stopped by today, uneventfully.

Excerpt from an article in today’s Vallejo Times Herald, reporting on GVRD’s Thursday meeting:

The [GVRD] board passed, without discussion, a resolution to fence off the Glen Cove Nature Area, also known as the Glen Cove Waterfront Park, during construction and improvements planned for the site. McAffee explained that the closure was designed to protect the public’s safety and health. The construction start date remains in flux, McAffee said after the meeting.

The park has received much public attention recently, as plans to begin construction have been delayed due to on-site protests by a Native American representatives, and particularly a group named Sacred Sites Protection & Rights of Indigenous Tribes.

Latest articles:
Times-Herald editorial 4/30: Do the right thing at Glen Cove by Kim DeOcampo
Native News Network 4/30: Supporters Arrive at Sogorea Te to Demonstrate Support
Times-Herald editorial 4/30: The real story on Glen Cove
Times-Herald 4/29: Greater Vallejo Recreation District to delay special tax election until 2012
New American Media 4/30: Native Americans Protest Plans to Pave Over Sacred Site
Related news from Kaua’i 4/28: Work continues after bones, artifacts unearthed

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Burial site in Kaua’i under siege for park development

Today we received very troubling news and a message of solidarity from
our indigenous sisters and brothers in Hawaii: Yesterday (Thursday) two of their warriors were arrested for blocking the destruction of a sacred burial site in Kaua’i. Their ancestors are being dug out of the ground right now with bulldozers in order to install the septic system FOR A NEW PARK. Our hearts and prayers go out to them. We will be including updates from this struggle along with our own in the coming days. For more information:

Garden Island, 4/28: Work continues after bones, artifacts unearthed
Intercontinental Cry, 5/5: Police arrest Hawaiian activists protesting the desecration of Sacred site
Continue reading

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Day 15 – Additional updates

This evening, Corrina Gould, Wounded Knee DeOcampo,
Johnella LaRose, Francisco Dominguez and others spoke about Sogorea Te and Shellmound burial site protection to a very supportive crowd of about 100 people at the Intertribal Friendship House in Oakland. Following the talk, an honoring song was sung for all who have been dedicating themselves to standing strong for the ancestors at Sogorea Te.

Also this evening, Protect Glen Cove Committee members attended a Glen Cove Community Association meeting. A majority of meeting participants expressed support for our efforts. The President of the association also stated that in the first two weeks after the spiritual gathering began, he was flooded with supportive phone calls. (Thanks, callers and residents!)

The GVRD Board of Directors held a meeting at their headquarters today, during which a new resolution was adopted calling for the “closure of the Glen Cove Nature Area to the public during construction and improvements”. Again, they continue to lay groundwork for the planned desecration.
Continue reading

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Press Release: Spiritual Gathering to Protect Glen Cove Enters 3rd Week

  • Day 15 : Spiritual Gathering to Protect Glen Cove
    Enters 3rd Week as GVRD Breaks Agreement to Negotiate in Good Faith
  • SSP&RIT Files More Civil Rights Claims Against GVRD as Threats Against Spiritual Gathering and Sacred Site Escalate

As the spiritual gathering and vigil being held by local tribal members and supporters at the sacred burial site at Glen Cove in Vallejo entered its third week, Native Americans working to protect Glen Cove filed more complaints this morning with the Attorney General of California in response to new and serious violations of civil rights by the Greater Vallejo Recreation District.

The organization Sacred Sites Protection & Rights of Indigenous Tribes today filed an addendum to the civil rights complaint filed on April 13, 2011 with the State Attorney General in response to GVRD’s attempt to intimidate and limit the number of participants in the spiritual ceremony, attempts to restrict certain ceremonial practices including songs, and GVRD’s refusal to negotiate a resolution of the dispute. The new complaint also further documents the presence of cremations as well as burials at the site, highlighting the risk that bulldozing the hill poses to the ancient human remains.
Continue reading

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Day 14 Update – Supporters requested Thursday-Friday

A contractor came by today who told us that his job is to paint a poison
chemical treatment on the stumps of waterfront trees at Glen Cove, once the Atlas Tree Service cuts them down.

GVRD is not only still refusing to meet with the Protect Glen Cove Committee, they are also declining to sign the agreement produced from an initial meeting on April 18th, in which some basic understandings between GVRD and the Committee were established regarding the ongoing prayer gathering at Sogorea Te.

We continue to request the presence of anyone who will join us in prayer, and we are especially requesting that people stay with us throughout the coming two days, Thursday and Friday, as the threat of a possible court-ordered police action is looming.

Some current requests:
– AAA, AA and D size batteries, Socks, Sunglasses, Mountain Bikes, Cedar and Sweetgrass.
– Emails and letters to the Native American Heritage Commission (see next post)

As promised, new photos have been posted from days 11-12.
Also, there is now a Spanish language page on this website.

Latest news/media:
Native News Network 4/27: Send Us Your Chief Approach Should Not Prevail at Sogorea Te
Times-Herald Editorial, 4/27: No Way, GVRD by J.T. Miller, Vallejo Resident
Vegan Reader, 4/27: Protect Glen Cove, A Sacred Native American Site
Examiner, 4/26: Glen Cove Native American rights defenders need ‘Superfood’
Indybay, 4/25: Protect Sogorea Te – let the ancestors rest in peace by Francisco Da Costa
YouTube video: Bankrupt California City has found money to Desecrate Burial Grounds
Ontario AIM via YouTube: AIM Ontario shows Solidarity for AIM members in Vallejo, CA

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Day 13 – Meeting was moved to Native American Heritage Commission in Sacramento

Today the Protect Glen Cove Committee spoke with the Justice Department mediator, only to find that we are continuing to be shut out of discussion regarding Glen Cove, and all details are “confidential”. On Monday, the Mediator met with GVRD at the Native American Heritage Commission (NAHC) offices in Sacramento – without informing or discussing this change of venue with the committee. Our understanding was that meetings would take place in a neutral location, and the NAHC is far from neutral in this situation.

Wounded Knee DeOcampo and the rest of the committee are now asking all our supporters to please take a moment to send emails and letters to the Native American Heritage Commission, to make it clear to them that there is widespread support for our efforts to protect our ancestors at Glen Cove by preventing the current development plan from proceeding. We are also asking those who have previously sent letters and emails to GVRD/the City of Vallejo to forward them on to the NAHC.

Native American Heritage Commission
(916) 653-4082

915 Capitol Mall, Room 364

Sacramento, CA 95814

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A message from Knute

Knute, AKA “The Captain”

Knute, an elder of Saami descent who has been standing with us since Day 1, would like to share a message with our readers. He wants it known just how many different indigenous and earth peoples from all over the world have visited our spiritual gathering over these past two weeks, offering their prayers and solidarity. Indigenous peoples everywhere can recognize the pain of desecration, and the disrespect of being “unrecognized” by the government.

Many have heard our call and come out to Glen Cove to pay their respects, including people of Maori (New Zealand), Native Hawaiian, Palestinian, Negrito (Philippines), Lesotho (South Africa), Ethiopian, Inupiat (Alaska), Haida (British Colombia), Cree (Alberta), Saami (Scandinavia), Hopi (Arizona), Snohomish (Washington), Bolivian, Aquatine Basque, Okinawa (Japan), Mayan (Yucatan), Mixtec and Samoan descent. Knute wishes to again extend the invitation to all peoples who worship out of doors, to stand with us here in honor of the ancestors.

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Day 12, AM – City workers survey for fence installation

At 10:30am today, two City of Vallejo workers pulled up at Glen Cove. They walked onto the land, spraypainting and placing flags to mark the city’s water line. They stated that the work order they received is in preparation for a cyclone fence that will extend all the way to the shoreline. Since this fence would require posts to be sunk down in to the ground, law requires them to identify and mark the location of underground pipelines.

This is another indicator that GVRD, rather than working with us, could be attempting to strong-arm their way towards continuing their planned development.

Latest news/media:
ABC News 10, 4/25: Native Americans try to protect Vallejo burial ground
KCBS 4/24: Mediation Set For Native American Burial Site In Vallejo (with audio)
Times-Herald Editorial 4/25: Waste of Time by Murray McLeod, Vallejo Resident
Times-Herald Editorial 4/25: Amazing by Carla Gallagher, Benicia Resident
Native News Network 4/24: We Cannot Stop Now!

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Day 11 update

This is the eleventh day that the sacred fire at Sogorea Te (Glen Cove), lit in a traditional manner on April 15th, has been continuously burning, carrying our prayers to the sky.

We were blessed with many visitors today. Pit River and Wintu representatives drove down from Redding Rancheria with a truckload of wood and a massage table. Last night they were in a ceremony up at Pit River territory, and prayers were carried from that ceremony to the sacred fire at Glen Cove. They shared stories, traditional California songs, and provided massages to the weary of our group. Jeremy Goodfeather and Calvin Magpie Jr. also visited today, singing ceremonial N.A.C. songs.

Our team of lawyers has been hard at work, developing legal strategy. Legal updates will be posted in the next few days. Tomorrow (Monday), GVRD and the Justice Department’s mediator will have a meeting that excludes the Protect Glen Cove Committee. Following that, we will know whether GVRD is willing to sit down at the table with the Committee, and can take next steps from there.

On a logistical note, support has been requested in the kitchen – reinforcements to help with cooking and cleaning would be much appreciated. There is also a request from Security for beanies to keep heads warm in the evenings.

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