Current & Local Native American Struggles & News

Stockton Miwoks Interview: Modesto Anarcho: Can you tell us a little about the history of the Miwoks? California Valley Miwok Tribe: Previous to Rancherias being created in California, the Miwok People’s territory covered 10 counties. Now our Tribe is fighting to retain its Tribal Property that consists of 1 ½ acres, located in Stockton. MA: How does your tribe use the house in Stockton? CVMT: The Tribal Property has a multi-purpose function. Since our tribe is a landless tribe, the piece of property, including the building, is considered to the Tribe to be its reservation, and is utilized as such. Until such time as the tribe is able to acquire a larger tract of land for the benefit of future tribal members [the house is all we have]. The Tribe conducts official Tribal ‘governmental’ business, day-to-day office duties, Tribal Programs, Tribal Meetings, and a portion of the building is used for housing. MA: What brought your house to foreclosure? CVMT: Our PL-93 638 Mature Status Contract (BIA) has been illegally withheld for two years and our Indian Gaming Revenue Sharing Trust Fund (RSTF) monies have been illegally stopped. Since the end of 2005. Without any funds coming in, the Tribe had no way to pay its mortgage on the only piece of property, the place the Tribe calls “home”. MA: Why did people physically occupy your house? How did you go about making sure that people were not going to be able to easily get into the house? CVMT: The Tribe decided to stand its ground when it was threatened with eviction. We had no choice, where were we supposed to go? Our monies have been illegally withheld for no good reason, our jobs lost, our medical benefits lost with our jobs, we tribal members have been using own personal money to keep the Tribe going, to keep the USDA Food Program open for the people in need to still be able to get their monthly rations of food. For more information, please visit our websites at http://californiamiwoktribe.us Read full interview at http://modestoanarcho.org

Glen Cove Sacred Site: The Greater Vallejo Recreation District (GVRD) and the City of Vallejo want to convert the Glen Cove Shellmound site in Vallejo, into a community park with its own trail, picnic tables, restroom facilities and parking lot. The 15-acre Shellmound site, known to the Ohlone Peoples as Sogorea Te is the final resting place for thousands of Indigenous People dating back at least 3,500 years. Historically, it was a “traditional meeting place where services such as burials were performed for over one hundred local California Indian tribes.” Today it is a memory that must be protected. The “Ohlone [People] say the land’s conversion couldn’t be more insulting, offensive and sacrilegious, particularly because the restrooms would be situated adjacent to the most sacred part of the site, the burial ground,” notes the San Fransisco Chronicle. “They want to desecrate this sacred land,” says Norman “Wounded Knee” Deocampo, an Ohlone and member of the Vallejo Intertribal Council. “As Native Americans, we need to save what we have left. All we’re asking for is this 15 acres.” But that’s 15 acres too much, as far as the GVRD and City Council is concerned. Nevertheless, Deocampo says the Tribal Council, who is working alongside Sacred Sites Protection & Rights of Indigenous Tribes (SSP&RIT) and the International Indian Treaty Council, is “Considering a court injunction and are searching for a pro bono lawyer” to stop the conversion plan. For more information please contact protectglencove@gmail.com  

Dooda (NO) Desert Rock Power Plant: A third power plant is being proposed to be built in the Four Corners area near Burnham, New Mexico. Air pollution has contaminated the San Juan Basin air-shed many times over. Thousands of acres of prime Navajo grazing lands has been permanently destroyed. Deadly air contaminants from dirty smokestacks from the Four Corners and San Juan Power Plants befoul and unleash poison such as mercury, sulfur dioxide, and other particles that blacken the skies killing fish in the waters from Navajo Lake to Morgan Lake and along the San Juan River. Dine Power Authority and Sithe Global want to build another mammoth power plant in the Burnham area. DPA approached Burnham Chapter more than ten times during the past year and they still refused to approve the Desert Rock Power Plant proposal. Their neighboring chapters have also refused to support the proposed power plant and the expanded Navajo Mine. Even though the energy threatened communities have individually and collectively refused to give their approval to the unwanted plant and expanded mine, DPA continues its high-pressure tactics at the local grassroots level. They are threatening grazing permit holders with permit revocation and livestock confiscation if they do not put their thumbprints on legally dubious grazing rights relinquishment forms and other right-of-way documents. Recently, tribal member Elouise Brown visited Modesto on a speaking tour to raise awareness. Go to http://doodadesertrock.org for more info.

Dennis Banks Visits Modesto: On February 18th American Indian Movement (AIM) co-founder Dennis Banks spoke to a small crowd at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Stanislaus County church on Kiernan in northwest Modesto. The discussion covered a wide variety of topics including Banks’ recent car accident and battle with diabetes. As he put it, “broken back, diabetes, FBI bullets flying over my head, but I’m still here.” Even the fact that the Native activist was speaking in a church came up. “To tell you the truth, being in a church or even seeing a priest make me sick to my stomach,” Banks stated about his childhood beatings from religious clergy during his time at boarding school. Banks also discussed topics like casinos, the drug war, health, tribal governments, and the rights of Native prisoners to practice their traditions. For a full bio of Banks read Ojibwa Warrior or go to http://siouxme.com/lodge/banks.html

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Categories: Indigenous Issues

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