Published May 27, 2011 11:36 AM
By Terri Kay
Native peoples of California and many supporters are in their fourth week of a vigil and occupation at the Glen Cove Shellmound in Vallejo, Calif., known as Sogorea Te in Karkin Ohlone language.
Wounded Knee DeOcampo, a Miwok elder, explained to this reporter that the site dates back 3,500 years, to 1500 B.C. It was a sacred village, where many tribes in what is now known as California came to pray, trade, intermarry and bury their dead. Among the tribes known to have used the site were the Wappo, Coastal Me-Wauk, Bay Me-Wauks, Yokuts, Patwin, Wintu and Ohlone.
DeOcampo and others have been in a 12-year battle with the Greater Vallejo Recreation District and the city of Vallejo to prevent them from desecrating the site. DeOcampo says this is a crucial and critical time, as these public entities are now preparing to build a parking lot with night lights, a bathroom, trails and benches on the site. All tribes, spiritual leaders and elders are being called to protect Sogorea Te, known as Glen Cove.
DeOcampo further told how 13,000 human remains have been removed from this and other California sites and are being stored at the University of California-Berkeley in footlockers. The Native people want them reinterred to Mother Earth. Traditional ceremonies have always been held at Sogorea Te. DeOcampo says they are determined to protect this spiritual way for a better life as Indigenous people.
Fred Short, the American Indian Movement spiritual leader for the state of California, is also participating in the vigil at Sogorea Te. He happened to be celebrating his birthday on this day, as well. Short talked about how AIM has been involved since 1969 in struggles to end injustice against Indian people. He said they are determined to hold the line against any more development at the Glen Cove site.
Short said they are campaigning for the California State Assembly and President Barack Obama to sign the U.N. Declaration of Human Rights of Indigenous People. The U.S. and Australia have yet to sign. This declaration would protect all sacred sites.
Supporters can help by sending donations to cover court costs to wepay.com/donate/137138. They can sign the online petition at petitiononline.com/ssprit/petition.html. Supporters are encouraged to come by the site for a few hours or a few days to help maintain a strong presence at the vigil. Directions are available at protectglencove.org.
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