Mendocino County Today: October 16, 2013
by AVA News Service, October 15, 2013
STRONG TYPHOON HEADING FOR JAPAN AND FUKUSHIMA NUKE SITE
News-Asia/Agence France-Presse in Tokyo — A typhoon described as the “strongest in 10 years” was closing in on Japan on Tuesday, on a path that will take it towards the precarious Fukushima nuclear power plant. Typhoon Wipha, packing winds of nearly 200 kilometres per hour near its centre and bringing heavy rains, was in the Pacific south of Japan on Tuesday evening, the Japan Meteorological Agency said. The storm was moving north at 35 kilometres per hour, according to the agency. It was forecast to reach an area off the Tokyo metropolitan area by early Wednesday, and later in the day would be off the coast of Fukushima, where the crippled nuclear power plant sits. Nasa satellite image shows Typhoon Wipha in the Pacific Ocean.
Photo: AFP <https://www.scmp.com/sites/default/files/2013/10/15/typhoon.jpg> 
“It is the strongest typhoon in 10 years to pass the Kanto region (Tokyo and its vicinity),” Hiroyuki Uchida, the agency’s chief forecaster, told a news conference. “It is expected to have a great impact on the traffic systems in the metropolitan area during commuting hours,” he said. Automaker Nissan said it had told employees across Kanto to stay at home on Wednesday morning to ride out the storm. As the weather agency issued warnings of torrential rain and strong winds, the operator of the Fukushima plant, Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco), said it was bracing for the storm after a series of leaks of radiation-polluted water. “We are making preparations for proper management of contaminated water ... We will patrol places that could have inflows of water (from the storm),” a company spokesman said. Cables and hoses have been bundled together, while ground and off-shore works have been halted, he said. Earlier this month the company announced 430 litres of polluted water had spilt from a tank as workers tried to remove rainwater dumped at the plant by recent typhoons. It has admitted contaminated water may well have flowed into the sea. Japan’s atomic watchdog summoned the president of Tepco for a public dressing-down for sloppy standards at the plant after the incident. The nuclear plant was badly damaged by the tsunami that hit in March 2011. Critics say it remains in a fragile state and at the mercy of extreme weather or other natural hazards. In Vietnam on Tuesday, Typhoon Nari wreaked havoc across the centre of the country, killing five people, adding to the 13 lives the storm had claimed in the Philippines. Residents said it was biggest typhoon since 2006, when Typhoon Xangsane barrelled through the region, killing some 250 people in the Philippines and Vietnam. Flag carrier Vietnam Airlines said it had cancelled a total 22 flights to and from Hue and Danang city on Monday and Tuesday morning, leaving many tourists stranded. Before Nari struck, Vietnam evacuated more than 120,000 people to makeshift shelters in public buildings away from vulnerable coastal areas, according to the country’s disaster authorities.
MENTAL HEALTH ACTIVISTS are appalled that the County's recent privatization of mental health services, always problematical in Mendocino County, seems to have eliminated mental health services in Fort Bragg. The Ortner Management Group, based in Yuba City, now owns those services but there's no evidence they're being provided, as the recent suicide of a Point Cabrillo man has tragically made evident. The Point Cabrillo man could not be referred for help because Ortner Management does not have help in place. “Expect a lot more deaths unless someone does something,” a caller told us Monday.
“MCN IS PLEASED to Welcome Sage Statham as the New MCN Manager Mendocino Unified School District Superintendent Jason Morse has asked me to share this announcement with you: After an extensive search and interview process, I am pleased to announce that Sage Statham has been hired as the new MCN Manager. Sage will begin his tenure as MCN Manager on Thursday, October 17th. Sage is a graduate of Mendocino High School. He worked at MCN after graduating from MHS and has continued to be a consultant to MCN on network issues. He and his wife Nina have four children, three of whom are students in the Fort Bragg schools. Sage is an active member of our community serving as a member of the Fort Bragg Planning Commission, President of the board of Parents and Friends, and also serves on the Gloriana board. I am also pleased to announce the current MCN Business Manager Mitch Sprague will be staying on as Co-Manager through November 15th to assist Sage in the transition. On November 18th, Mitch will transition to a new role as a part time Assistant Manager and will be staying with MCN in that role going forward. Here at the Mendocino Unified School District, we are excited about the energy and new ideas that Sage will bring to MCN and at the same time, very pleased that Mitch will be staying in to the foreseeable future to provide assistance to Sage. We think that together they will continue MCN's long standing tradition of offering high quality telecommunications and Internet products and outstanding customer service.” — Jason Morse, MCN Superintendent
SO WE ASSUME THAT MCN’s precarious finances have been magically dragged back from the brink and the Coast ISP that was founded as a scam is no longer for sale — which was the school board's previously announced intent — but there were probably no bidders. Right?
STATEMENT OF THE DAY UNO: I don’t see even an inkling of revolutionary zeal among the young folks of today, and I know a bunch of them – my daughter is 20.
There’s no rebellious zeitgeist in the land; things are different now. When I was young I got into every scrape out there: Viet Nam protest, the environmental movement, civil rights…you name it. In those days there was a center to rebel against. People of my generation grew up with a government that had developed some credibility, so we felt that protest could reap positive results… And it often did!
My daughter and her peers share no such notion. To them, central government seems remote and silly – something to be milked when possible, but otherwise ignored.
I also agree that society will go out with a whimper – though perhaps noisy at certain times and in certain places. Fracturing will occur along racial and ethnic lines. Religion and region may play a part. History has shown us this. I don’t see generational fracturing playing a major role. Violence will be common, but will be local and sporadic. We see this happening already. (— Greg Knepp)
STATEMENT OF THE DAY DOS: What amuses me at the moment is the behavior of the various financial markets and the cockamamie stories circulating to explain what they are doing in this time of perilous uncertainty. One popular story is called “the energy renaissance.” This is a fairy-tale that pretends that we have enough oil at a cheap enough price to keep driving to WalMart forever. Of course, shale oil wells that cost $12 million to drill and produce 80 barrels-a-day for three years before crapping out altogether do not bode well for that outcome, but the wish to believe over-rides the reality. Another laughable story du jour is “the manufacturing renaissance.” This story proposes that the “central corridor” of the USA, from North Dakota to Texas, is about to give China a run for its money in manufacturing. The catch is that any new factory opening up in this scenario will be run on robots — leaving who, exactly, to be the customers paying for what these factories produce? Think about it for five minutes and you will understand that it is just a story calculated to goose up a share price here and there, and only for moment until it is discovered to be just a story. What interests me most is what happens when the stories lose their power to levitate the legitimacy of the people who tell them. — James Kunstler
HERE’S TO YOU, STEPH STAINBACK
by Zack Anderson
Dear Dr. Zack:
I am a sophomore at a prestigious liberal arts college in Northern California not named Stanford or Cal. But school is so boring, expensive and pointless that I am thinking of a career change, and need advice as how to transition from student to teacher.
Why should I take out another $75,000 in loans when everyone knows America will never pay back the trillions it owes to the Chinese, Japanese and Germans? Why should I learn to read when all the headlines are depressing, absurd and insulting? What’s the point of learning how to think when the rational response to the oppressive liberal-fascist state is suicide and/or bikram yoga with kale?
As a kid growing up in America I heard a lot of b.s. about how you can do anything you want, how hard work and persistence will eventually pay off, and how the rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain. Well, I was in Barcelona last summer, and it didn’t just rain, doctor, it poured. Thus causing the existential crisis leading to my current predicament: should I become a teacher?
From what I can tell, the key to being a successful educator is showing up on time, buying a graduate degree from an online university based in Haiti, cracking a few lame jokes about Cnut the Great and/or nuclear fission, and not dating any co-eds whose daddies are either in prison or have Joe Biden on speed dial. Frayed corduroy jacket with elbow patches and the faint aroma of pipe tobacco are already my go-to uniform, so obviously I’m not totally clueless.
But do I need to prepare for a life in the classroom? Should I start taking steroids and HGH in order to take my game to the next professional level? I’m not a jock, though I once sat two lunch tables over from the football players, and my roommate is the manager of the jayvee ultimate frisbee team. (Plus I watched a show about spelunking and really dug it.)
Unless at I’m at party, a rave, or a Tea Party fundraiser, I normally wouldn’t take a mystery supplement before all the facts are in. But the current and future malaise is strangling my hope and happiness tighter than a drone operator in Iowa grips the murderous and banal joystick of doom. See the target, push the button! Numby numby, I just made another mummy!
Sorry for such a scattered note, doctor, but I’m on Adderall, have a medical marijuana card to combat alienation and habitual tardiness, and just shot-gunned three room temp Busch beers in the can. On the bright side, I own the latest iPhone 5S, have 3,398 Facebook friends (3,392 of whom I’ve thankfully never met), and 162 followers on Twitter who send me hourly pics of hairy Walmart asses in spandex, the breakfast burritos for sale at Oakland International Airport, and cats doing pilates.
Finally, I’m not going to say that I don’t have a huge penis.
Tad “Chicken” Roasterprovich-Fryed
PS. Do you know anyone selling essays on Chekov in the C+ and B- range? My midterm lit paper is due and I’m sorta freaking out, bro.
Aside from prostitution, teaching is the most honorable profession in the history of the world. Luckily, the Boonville schools of my youth were a beacon of learning and Platonic dialogue, a throbbing love muscle of ethics, epistemology and the human condition that ejaculated wisdom and bonhomie.
No greater example of my early love affair with education occurred way back in 1978, a marvelous baseball year. As many will remember, on July 18 the Red Sox held a massive 14-game lead in the AL East over the Yankees. But butt-rubbing Boston rivals the Bronx Bombers were also loaded for bear that year. Pitchers included Ron Guidry, Don Gullett, Catfish Hunter, Sparky Lyle, Rawly Eastwick, Andy Messersmith and Goose Gossage. Behind the dish was Thurman Munson, and the outfield was patrolled by Lou Pinella, Reggie Jackson, Paul Blair and Mickey “Gozzlehead” Rivers. The ever-clutch Graig Nettles was at third, classy Willie Randolph at second, Chris Chambliss at first and the all-glove, no-hit Bucky Dent at short. Eventually the Yankees tied Boston on September 10, after sweeping a four-game series at Fenway (known to Red Sox fans as the “Boston Massacre”). A week later the surging Yanks held a 3-1⁄2 game lead over Boston, only to see the Sox win 12 of their next 14 games to force a one-game playoff on Monday, October 2 at Fenway Park.
Wait, isn’t Monday a school day? Panic! Oh, but wait some more! On Mondays my eighth grade schedule dictated that I spend about four hours in the library for the “independent study program” concocted by my father, who believed that schools were moron factories staffed by idiots. Of course, I had to be in school to play sports, but my dad would routinely pull me out of class for Giant day games at Candlestick, or to see foreign films at the old Surf Theater near Ocean Beach (the four-and-a-half hour subtitled version of Moliere I remember as being longer than the stated running time), or to browse books at Minerva’s Owl at Levi’s Plaza and City Lights in North Beach. These were all outings that I enjoyed. But I liked school because I could yuck it up all day with the likes of Eric June, Jerry Tolman and Olie Erickson. Where else could Coach Jim Miller take me out of algebra class to chalk the baseball field? Where else would my English teacher give out homework asking us to use the word “f*ck” in as many different ways as possible? Or that I could have water balloon fights with the entire junior high and high school, with kids literally on the roof with firehoses while the teachers walked a picket line in the parking lot?
One of my favorite instructors/guardians/gurus back in the late 70s was the super-jockette Steph Stainback, who coached, taught PE and — was the librarian. Now I don’t remember Ms. Stainback’s opinion of Aristotle or John Locke, but in the AV High School library on the morning of October 2, 1978, Steph and I watched Bucky Dent hit a three-run homer off Mike Torres to give the Yankees the gold. Steph and I watched Dent break his bat fouling a pitch off. We then watched Mickey Rivers handing him a Louisville Slugger (which Gozzlehead later claimed was corked). Modified with bouncy balls or not, the new piece of lumber helped Dent launch a 312-foot pop-up that barely cleared the Green Monster in left, flooding the streets of Boston with tears and spit-out lager. Bucky Dent became my idol for a few hours, and Steph and I celebrated by listening to the Ramones sing “Baby, I Love You.” Now that’s how Boonville high does libraries, haters!
The next October my dad sent me to Ukiah High to play football and avoid whatever new chief administrator Boonville had (where I went through about 14 superintendents and principals in 12 years). But despite the turnover and chaos, I don’t have a bad thing to say about my school years. And on warm fall days like this, when it’s a rare 78 degrees in San Francisco and the air thickens with sentimental thoughts, I remember Steph and October baseball when October baseball was the closet thing I had to religion.
As for taking HGH or roids, Tad, let’s remember that Melke Cabrera was suspended for 50 games from the Giants two years ago for testing positive. So how was he punished? By signing a two-year $16 million contract with the Toronto Blue Jays. And oh yeah, San Francisco replaced him with Hunter Pence in right, and went on to win their second impossible world series in three years.
CELEBRATING INDIGENOUS PEOPLE'S DAY:
Statements From Front-Line Indigenous Struggles in Lake, Mendo, and Sonoma Counties
compiled by Will Parrish
Last year, I wrote an article published in the October 15th edition of the AVA called “The Struggles of Local Sacred Sites,” which kicked off as follows: “It was 520 years ago this week that a lost Italian seaman flying the Spanish flag washed ashore on the Bahama Islands, three-quarters of a world away from where he thought he was, and became known as one of history’s greatest navigators. When Christopher Columbus and the other crewmembers of the Pinta, Nina, and Santa Maria arrived in the Western Hemisphere, roughly 100 million people lived here, dwelling on landbases from the tip of Alaska to the tip of South America. Their cultures were as staggeringly diverse as the lands they inhabited.
Thanks in no small part to Columbus, that diversity — and the tens of millions of people whose individual lives embodied it — were devoured in the centuries that followed by the insatiable maw of European capitalism, which ate Indian flesh to feed its global expansion.
According to the conservative estimates of Spanish surveys, an estimated eight million people lived in the places where Colombus’ crews feverishly sought new sources of gold, silks, and slaves: the Caribbean Islands and the eastern shores of parts of mainland South America. During Columbus’ tenure as “viceroy and governor” of the region from 1493 until 1500, he instituted policies of slavery (encomienda) and the systematic murder and rape of the Taino population. Dominican priest Bartolome de Las Casas was the first European historian in the Americas. In a 1496 survey, he estimated that over five million people had been exterminated within the first three years of the Columbus’ rule.
In addition to inflicting a nearly unfathomable scale of death on indigenous peoples, Columbus was perhaps the premier slave trader of his time. Before he sailed the Atlantic, he was a slave trader for the Portuguese, transporting West African people to Portugal to be sold as slaves. He initiated the first Trans-Atlantic slave trade, and he ratcheted up this lucrative enterprise to a far greater extent upon his arrival in the so-called New World.
Columbus remains one of only a handful of individuals whose legacy commands its own national holiday in the US. Yet, it would be difficult to think of anyone whose legacy in this hemisphere is less worthy of celebration, whose legacy more represents brutality, greed, excess, exploitation and materialism.
In recognition of Columbus’ role in the more than five centuries of conquest and genocide that have followed, supporters of Native people’s sovereignty have sought for several years to reclaim the holiday as Indigenous People’s Day.”
I also wrote, “In spite of overwhelming odds, many of the Pomo, Wailaki, Cahto, Yuki, and other Native people whose ancestry has been rooted in the areas now called 'Mendocino County' and 'Lake County' for thousands of years have maintained their traditions and continue to carry on struggles to defend their lands and dignity. Their cultures are inextricably linked to the lands they have historically inhabited, so their survival necessarily depends on preserving those lands. At any given time, however, these lands face countless threats.”
This year, in honor of Indigenous People's Day, I am featuring statements from three Native elders from Lake, Mendocino, and northwestern Sonoma Counties who are involved in
CLAYTON DUNCAN – Giving Bloody Island Massacre Victims a Proper Burial
For as far back as Clayton Duncan can trace, the maternal side of his family has belonged to the land in and around Robinson Rancheria: a federal Indian reservation near the sleepy Lake County, Northern California, town of Nice, a 107 acre parcel that resulted from the 1978 federal court case United States Government vs. Mabel Duncan (Clayton’s grandmother). For thousands of years, the family was part of a thriving complex of cultures that white anthropologists dubbed “Eastern Pomo.” In the past 160 years or more, they have been key figures in keeping alive what remains of those cultures.
Duncan’s great grandfather, Solomon Moore, grew up in the Eastern Pomo village of Shigom, on the east side of Clear Lake. Clayton’s grandmother, Lucy Moore, hailed from the village of Danoha, situated along an eastern affluent of lower Scott Creek, near where Highway 29 curls around Clear Lake on its way to “Kelsyville,” so named for a notorious mid-19th century butcherer, enslaver, and rapist of Indians.
The Danoha village of Lucy Moore prefigured the location of the old Robinson Rancheria, where Duncan and his siblings grew up. It was also roughly the site of one of the most grisly episodes of genocidal violence that white invaders wrought on Northern California’s native populations during the Gold Rush era: the 1850 Bloody Island Massacre.
Last year, I profiled the corrupt Robinson Rancheria tribal administration's efforts to kick Duncan out of the tribe in retaliation for his outspoken opposition to their policies. Happily, Robinson's tribal council backed down on disenrolling Duncan following publication of these articles in the AVA and the widespread community support he received. His struggles with the tribal leadership continue, though. They have withheld payments to him since late-2011, and he remains the plaintiff in a lawsuit they filed alleging. Meanwhile, several members of his family have been targeted for disenrollment.
I talked to Duncan on Monday, October 14th and asked him to provide background on campaigns he is helping to organize to have the town of Kelseyville renamed and to have a proper burial for people who were butchered in the Bloody Island incident. In short, in the late-1800s and early-1900s, these people's remains were removed by the Army Corps of Engineers from their original burial site. The soil was used as fill in the creation of dikes and dams around the northwestern portion of Clear Lake.
“What bothers me is not only that Lake County honors this man, Andrew Kelsey, who raped many women and little girls and tortured people, by naming a town after him, but the consequences from the warriors' executing these two guys – Kelsey and Andrew Stone – for what they done.
At Bloody Island, I think there were around 400 women and children who were on the island gathering fish when the soldiers came. It was just a slaughter pen. My great grandmother and her grandmother both survived.
After the massacre on Bloody Island, the US Army went to the other side of the lake to attack the Shigom and Donoha people. It was a lesson to the Indians. They didn't care what Indians. After all, they went to Ukiah also and did the same thing to the Yokayo people. About 150 of their women and children and men got slaughtered. And, all this time, the chiefs thought in their hearts and minds, “We know what to do. We don't have to run. We don't have to hide. We haven't done nothing. We're friends with these white folks.” But it was a killing field.
My great grandmother left the story. She told the story. And a lot of my family knew the story. Now, her relatives – her cousins, aunties, uncles, grandparents – and all the other people who were sliced up and murdered – little kids whose backs were broken – were buried or cremated somewhere.
In Lake County, the burial took about five days. They gathered up the bodies and took them out to Eastside Peak out by the island. There was a creek out there by the island that was on the east side. So, there was a mound there – another little hill. They called it Eastside Peak. So, they took these people over there, took 'em on top of the mountain, put 'em all up there – the corpses of all these little kids, all these women, all these old people – and they cremated them. They burned what they could. And what was left, they buried. They covered with dirt. Then they went and hid.
Well, in the late-1800s, early-1900s, the Army Corps of Engineers came over there to make that agricultural land and reclaimed land. So, they start putting up dikes and dams. And they needed dirt. So they took that mound where those people were buried and they made their dikes and their dam. We don't know where those people are now.
But I feel my great grandma is asking me to find her relatives and give them a proper burial. Not only is that on my mind, on my heart, but it's something I feel I have to do. Once we do that, we bring back balance, I feel.
America, what if that was your grandma? Your grandpa? Your kids? Your nephews, nieces? Sisters, brothers? Think with your heart. Connect it with your brain. They are only eighteen inches away. So, connect them, help them work together, and help me find my people. Help us to ensure a proper burial.”
MA’KAWICA — Kashia Pomo Village Site
In northwestern Sonoma County, a pair of extremely large wine corporations were at one time proposing what would be the two largest forest-to-vineyard conversions in the history of the State of California, which would take place right in the heart of the Kashia Pomo people’s ancestral homeland, just outside the small northwestern Sonoma County town of Annapolis, which is located about 85 miles north of San Francisco, just below the Mendocino County line.
By far the larger of the two is Premier Pacific Vineyards’ (PPV) “Preservation Ranch,” a proposal to deforest more than 1,700 acres of redwoods and Douglas firs across dozens of ridgetops on a 20,000-acre parcel near the far northwestern boundary of Sonoma County, has been defeated. The land was purchased by a public-private partnership led by The Conservation Fund earlier this year, completing the largest conservation project in the history of Sonoma County.
The property went on the market after Premier Pacific Vineyards lost its funding from the California public employees pension, which in turn followed a wave of negative publicity complete with features in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and Santa Rosa Press Democrat, and of course many investigative pieces here in the mighty AVA. Friends of Gualala River, a small volunteer-run non-profit, was instrumental in defeating the plan.
The smaller of the two projects, which would nonetheless be the biggest forest-to-vineyard conversion ever in the state, is being proposed by the Spanish wine corporation Codorniu, acting through its American outpost in the Napa Valley, Artesa. The company proposes to clear roughly half the forested acres on 324-acre parcel located on a broad ridge just southeast of Annapolis. The proposal remains a live, and Friends of the Gualala, as well as elders from the Kashia Pomo, are fighting it.
The Artesa project is located on land where an important Kashia village was located, known as Ma’kawica. Although Artesa has attempted to deny the existence of the village, knowledge of the site has been preserved as part of the cultural memory of the Kashia people. It was also documented by the famous anthropologist Samuel Barrett, who described it in his 1908 book The Ethno-Geography of the Pomo and Neighboring Indians.
The Artesa project, which has been on the drawing board for more than a decade, was approved by state forestry officials in May 2012. A coalition of environmental groups — the Sierra Club, Center for Biological Diversity, and Friends of the Gualala River — have responded by filing a lawsuit on the grounds that Artesa did not adequately conduct an Environmental Impact Review, particularly in regard to their intentionally shoddy archeological research. We’ll be following the lawsuit here in the AVA as soon as it winds its way toward a verdict.
As Violet Parrish Chappell and Vivian Parrish Wilder, traditional Kashia elders, have stated:
“Where we used to live, no one can see anything now. It is time we open our mouths. Those vineyard people are interfering with our ancestors' area.
Wherever our villages were, wherever we picked our food, those places are blessed places. When we had to live in two worlds, we had to get along with people we did not know. We had to live with white men who took the land away. We coped with it.
Mom taught us good things, how to get along with different races of people. She taught us how to get along in the world. She told us, "You are going to go out and educate others about us." We don't think that others will ever completely learn about the spiritual part of an Indian. That is deep. But we want to explain why it is important to Kashia Pomo.
That patch over there -- Artesa land in Annapolis -- that is a blessed place for us. We went there as kids. We picked berries there with our mother. We picked berries for necklaces. There is another place over there where there is a lot of Manzanita, and that was really important to us. We made spoons from that and also awls to make baskets. These are the things we grew up with. We dedicated our trees not to be cut. The trees in the forest are blessed. The Redwoods give us good medicine from the sap that hardens. It was used for anemia. The young shoots are used for colds. Bark dolls are made from Redwood.
Everything out there is used for something.
The reason we are against the disturbance in Annapolis is that place is alive. It is a dedicated area. It is a special area. If they do something wrong there, things are not going to go right. Who will believe us? We are speaking from the viewpoint of Kashia. We have to talk from the viewpoint of our spiritual leader, what we were taught. The non-Indian may not understand -- there are things that we Indians can't touch but can see. Good teachings are spiritual.
We are disturbed by all the things that are happening around us. We can't go to some beaches to harvest food, we can't pick huckleberries any place we want. We can't find good sedge to make baskets because the best place was ruined by Lake Sonoma. We know that there is sedge on that place over there. Baskets were our cooking pans and used to store things like acorns. That is important for kids to learn. It would be a good place to teach the kids how to make baskets.
Religion was all our life. We'll tell you why. There were no man made conveniences here. Everything was from the creation. That is why we take care of it. That is what the leader did, she taught us to take care of the food, the water. We took care of the trees. They will disturb the places where we prayed. The spirits are still there. We say, gee, now they are going to disturb Indian land, dig up the guts of people. They are coming into our religious life.
The idea that these sacred places could be fenced off is not good. We don't go for that. You don't have to dig it up. We know that whole area is a village site. All these places were occupied and used by our people. The whole place is one.
It was not so bad when the land was used for sheep grazing, but here they are going to flatten the land -- land which would be better used for education, where our children and neighbors can learn about our ancestors and their way of life.
It is a blessing to pick food. It is a blessing to roam around. The creator wants us to take care of this place.”
CALTRANS' DESECRATION OF YAMI
Two weeks ago, I published a piece regarding CalTrans' desecration of an area associated with the Little Lake Pomo village site of Yami as part of the Willits Bypass construction. In that piece, I printed part of a statement from the Sherwood Valley Rancheria, the federally recognized Native Nation of the Willits area, regarding the destruction of the site. Here I am reprinting the full statement:
“On September 13, 2013, Sherwood Valley Rancheria of Pomo Indians (SVR) was notified by Caltrans (CT) staff assigned to the Willits Bypass Project that a known archaeological site has been destroyed by construction activities associated with the Project. The site, delineated by the State of California as CA-MEN-3571, was originally identified and mapped by Caltrans in 2011 during archaeological investigations of the Project area. Later, in 2012, Caltrans claimed that changes to the Area of Potential Effects (APE) for the project resulted in the site no longer being located within the project footprint. However, Caltrans has just confirmed that the site does indeed exist within the APE for the project and has, over the last four months, been severely impacted by the removal of topsoil and the installation of 1400-1500 wick drains. What little, if anything, remains of CA-MEN-3571 is now inundated with 3 feet of fill.
The news of this destruction has left SVR deeply frustrated by their efforts to consult with Caltrans for the purpose of protecting cultural resources within the Project area. Since May 2013, SVR has provided both verbal and written comments to Caltrans concerning what the Tribe considers to be oversights in the identification of cultural resources within the Project APE, as well as inaccuracies and inadequacies in CT's efforts to assess potential adverse effects to these resources. In particular, SVR noted great concern about four known archaeological sites and what appeared to the Tribe to be a substantial lack of project documentation proving that these sites were indeed outside of the APE and, thus, protected from disturbance associated with construction activities. CA-MEN-3571 was one of those four sites.
SVR repeatedly requested that CT plot all known cultural resource locations onto existing project plans so as to avoid damaging the resources and to ensure responsible in-field monitoring of these locations during construction. SVR also called upon CT place physical, protective buffers around seven known archaeological sites, including CA-MEN-3571, until clarifications about the location, nature, and significance of the sites could be made and reports about these sites could be properly reviewed and commented upon by the consulting parties for the Project. From May 2013 to September 2013, these appeals were summarily dismissed by Caltrans and requests for explanation went unanswered. To date, no comprehensive cultural resources map exists for the Willits Bypass Project nor have the full complement of protective measures for archaeological resources, as stipulated in and required by the Environmental Impact Report and Record of Decision for the Project, been implemented.
Ultimately, the Tribe believes the unnecessary destruction of CA-MEN-3571 serves as a powerful illustration of what non-compliance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act can reap. SVR can only hope that this stark realization will now compel Caltrans to heed the Tribe's long-voiced call for the agency to re-open consultation under Section 106, review their previous identification efforts, revise their Finding of Effect, and create a Memorandum of Agreement for this project that would, from this point forward, ensure that injuries like that experienced by CA-MEN-3571 are not repeated and that the history and homeland of the descendants of the original inhabitants of the Little Lake Valley are treated with all due respect and protection.”
(Contact Will Parrish at firstname.lastname@example.org.)