Sign On to Support California Indian Tribes v. Caltrans

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Fred Short, Spiritual Leader with the American Indian Movement, takes part in a ceremony held on a former village site located on Willits Bypass Project Mitigation Lands, July 2015.  Photo by Steve Eberhard – The Willits News. 

From: Save Our Little Lake Valley (SOLLV)
In solidarity with Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians

January 8th, 2016

We are writing to share an opportunity to build alliances with Native communities. We are asking you or your organization to sign on to letters to state and federal agencies and, if possible, for your financial support of an important lawsuit.

You have probably heard of the collaboration between First Nations’ Idle No More and environmental and community groups that stopped the Keystone XL pipeline. Continue reading

Send Letters In Support of Coyote Valley Band of Pomo and Round Valley Indian Tribes

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Please send letters to the State Historic Preservation Office and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation asking them NOT TO SIGN the Programatic Agreement on the Willits Bypass Project.

The Coyote Valley, Round Valley and, indeed Sherwood Valley Indian Tribes, are all thoroughly disgusted with Caltrans’ treatment of both them and their cultural heritage. Coyote Valley and Round Valley have gone so far as to file a suit in federal court. It is unconscionable that the agencies tasked with historic preservation would sign an agreement that the local tribes vehemently oppose. 

There are two documents (The PA and the PRDMP) currently before the agencies (The State: SHPO and the Federal: ACHP) tasked with Historic Preservation.

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Willits Bypass Timeline

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In January 2013, after community opposition to the CalTrans’ Willits Bypass became more visible and confrontational, some onlookers critcized the project’s opponents for failing to oppose the Bypass earlier on, when it was being deliberated by public agencies.  In reality, opposition to the Willits Bypass has persisted for more than 20 years. What follows is a timeline that emphasizes opposition to the project prior to January 2013, when direct action against the project kicked off, sparking new political and legal initiatives to oppose the project.  This timeline is adapted from this article. Continue reading

Sherwood Valley Pomo Letter Rejecting CalTrans “Programmatic Agreement”

Pic4We are in the midst of revamping this web site to provide more background information regarding the Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians and Round Valley Indian Tribes lawsuit against Cal Trans.  In the meantime, here is a copy of a recent letter from the Sherwood Valley Band of Pomo Indians — the other tribe with legally-recognized lineal descendants in the area of CalTrans’ Willits Bypass construction — rejecting CalTrans’ proposed framework for dealing with tribal cultural sites and artifacts.

The letter reads, in part: “In brief, SVBP [Sherwood Valley Band of Pomo Indians] does not believe the PA package provides a legally-compliant, professionally responsible, or culturally-appropriate process for identifying, assessing, and/or resolving adverse effects to historic properties that may be discovered or inadvertently affected during the implementation of the WBP [Willits Bypass Project]. Moreover, SVBP’s Tribal Council takes issue with Caltrans’ new characterization of the consultation efforts that have occurred for the WBP.”

California Indian Tribes v. Caltrans — Excerpt From The Official Complaint

Photo15Following is an extended excerpt from the complaint the Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians and Round Valley Indian Tribes filed against CalTrans in federal court last week. Click here to download it as a Word document. Continue reading

Lawsuit Media Round-Up

The Coyote Valley Band of Pomo and Round Valley Indian Tribes lawsuit against CalTrans, filed last week in San Francisco federal court, has made a big splash. Following is some of the media coverage.

And here is news coverage from ABC-7 in the Bay Area, which has done a very good job covering the manifold controversies surrounding the Willits Bypass for more than two years.

Coyote Valley Band and Round Valley Indian Tribes Sue CalTrans in Federal Court

ANCIENT VILLAGE BULLDOZED “IN THE DEAD OF NIGHT”

Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians and the Round Valley Indian Tribes sue Caltrans over “Willits Bypass Project” for violations of National Environmental Policy Act and National Historic Preservation Act

BURLINGAME, CA – OCTOBER 29, 2015 – According to a complaint filed in the U.S. District Court in San Francisco today, two Northern California Indian Tribes contend that Caltrans, as well as various federal agencies, have destroyed known archaeological sites and failed to properly protect historical sites during construction of the Willits Bypass.  The action was filed by the Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians and the Round Valley Indian Tribes for violations of the National Environmental Policy Act and the National Historic Preservation Act. The Willits Bypass Project is a 6 mile long rerouting of Highway 101 through Little Lake Valley, near the city of Willits, in Mendocino County.

Phil Gregory of Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, counsel for the Tribes, confirmed: “Caltrans must not be allowed to demolish historic properties, cultural resources, and sacred sites simply to build a highway bypass. Imagine Caltrans treating a church with such disrespect.  This case challenges Caltrans’ ongoing failure to properly protect the Tribes’ ancestral sites in constructing the Bypass. Caltrans’ ground-disturbing activities are devastating ancestral Native American sacred and cultural sites.” Continue reading