Sunday, March 14, 2010

"Developed" land is not better land

Indians: Vallejo's plans for park desecration
"Plans by [the city of] Vallejo to turn a scraggly stretch of waterfront on the Carquinez Strait into a park with paved parking, trails and restrooms are infuriating local Ohlone Indians who say the 15-acre site is sacred and should be left alone.

The property is Glen Cove Park, a spot that was the site of a 3,500-year-old Ohlone village and shell mound where thousands of people were buried.

The settlement is one of the oldest Ohlone sites in the Bay Area and among the few that has eluded development. But for decades, Vallejo has wanted to convert the wildland to a park with a portion of the Bay Trail, picnic tables and a pastoral array of native plants.

'What we want to do is return it to what it was 100 years ago,' said Steve Pressley, maintenance and development manager for the Greater Vallejo Recreation District. 'As an agency, we have a responsibility to the public as a whole, and we need to consider all the components, not just the needs of Native Americans.'"

Of course, as it noted further along in the article, people already use this site as a park and are quite happy with it. So "responsibility to the public as a whole" is a shallow defense at best. Although, I plan to quote that bit in my letter to them as a reason why they should care what I think of their plans.

I'm not even going to get started on how the way the article is written is clearly meant to create sympathy for the city.

In addition, another story will probably be popping up soon putting Vallejo on the radar of bloggers/social justice minded news readers like you and me (hopefully more on that soon), so I want to make sure to spread the word on this. I can just see them using the noise on the other story to do some shady shit like this while we're distracted.

Please feel free to tell the Greater Vallejo Recreation District and tell them just what you think about paving over sacred Indian locations:

Shane McAffee, General Manager
Telephone: 707-648-4603

Steve Pressley, Maintenance & Development Manager
Telephone: 707-648-4602

Board of Directors

In their local community workshops [pdf] the GVRD asked participants to rank a selection of priorities, one being "Protect Native American sacred land." I think that should be number one. How about you?