Category Archives: Sherwood Valley Pomo

Recent Letters From Coyote Valley Re: Ongoing Cultural Genocide, Destruction of Cultural Sites

The Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians (as well as the Sherwood Valley Rancheria and the Round Valley Indian Tribes) have tried persistently, and in an exhaustive manner, to compel state and federal regulatory authorities to protect cultural sites in both the Willits Bypass construction zone and in the so-called “mitigation construction” areas, in accordance with the National Historic Preservation Act and other legal authorities.

Yesterday, defenders of these sacred sites gathered to call attention to CalTrans’ ongoing desecration of the rich cultural areas in what is today known as Little Lake Valley.  For context on the destruction that continues to play out, we are providing links to eight recent letters from the Coyote Valley Band to CalTrans and regulatory agencies that comprehensively describe these issues.

  • Letter to CalTrans — May 11, 2015
  • Letter to CalTrans’ Mike Bartlett — May 21 2015
  • Letter to CalTrans’ Charlie Fielder — June 11, 2015
  • Letter to Army Corps of Engineers Lt. Colonel John C. Morrow — June 25, 2015
  • Letter to North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board member John W. Corbett — June 25, 2015
  • Letter to Army Corps Lt. Colonel Morrow Regarding Herbicides
  • Letter to North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board Executive Officer Matthew St. John Regarding Herbicides
  • Protesters Come Back!

    Despite impending rain, activists returned today for a second day of protest against the bitterly contested Caltrans’ Bypass, after shutting down fill operations on the northern interchange all day yesterday. On Tuesday, two groups of activists held long cloth banners with the messages: ”Caltrans Kills Wetlands” and “Caltrans: Paving the Road to Extinction” stretched across the entrance to two haul roads off highway 101, blocking ingress and egress from the construction zone.

    A third group, including Priscilla Hunter, Tribal Representative for the Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians and other Native Americans of lineal descent to the area’s Pomo ancestors, succeeded in reaching the ancestral cultural site they want to protect, remaining there for some time with the American Indian Movement (AIM) flag, to drum and pray. The activists then blocked a third stream of dirt-filled trucks, effectively stopping work.

    Protesters’ numbers have increased lately due to the participation of Native American Pomo Tribes, including those from Coyote Valley, Sherwood Rancheria, Potter and Redwood Valley, all of whom were represented at the protest. Continue reading

    ABC7 News on Damage to Little Lake Pomo Ancestral Site

    ABC7 News, which broke the story of CalTrans’ permit suspension by the Army Corps of Engineers this past Friday, chimed in today with a story on the latest damage to a Little Lake Pomo ancestral site, which occurred on June 12th.

    The Anderson Valley Advertiser’s detailed online story about the damaged site appeared on Saturday.

    ABC’s story says, in part: “ABC7 News has learned that earlier this month construction crews damaged a Native American archaeological site. It was just last Friday the federal government ordered work halted, because of environmental issues. Now we are learning more about what was behind the stop work order on the project.”

    Before getting to the ABC story, here’s an excerpt from the AVA story by Will Parrish:

    “Even after Keefe and the construction crews realized they had just run machinery through a site they had previously identified as archeologically significant, but had not yet studied in any consequential fashion, they determined that work in the area should continue. In other words, rather than stop work and evaluate the damage, gather information from the archeological deposit that had been fractured by the fresh ground disturbance, or even notify tribes to get their input on the situation, the construction team plunged ahead with installing a waterline in the trench.

    Then, they backfilled it.

    Keefe, the principal CalTrans archeologist on the project, gave the decision to fill in the site after running through it with a ditchwitch his blessing.

    Tribal monitors were not present at the time, although the Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians has been adamantly requesting that CalTrans hire two more such monitors to keep up with the huge scope of work taking place on both the Bypass construction route and, as in this case, on the Bypass mitigation lands.”

    Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians Resolution Regarding Willits Bypass

    The following resolution was adopted by the Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians Tribal Council on April 17, 2014.

    WHEREAS, the Preamble to the Document Embodying the Laws, Customs and Traditions of the Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians, (Tribal Constitution), declares in pertinent part as follows :

    We, the Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians, being a sovereign native people, in order to organize for our common good, to maintain and foster our tribal culture, to protect and conserve our land and natural resources and to promote the general welfare of our people and to secure the rights and powers inherent in our sovereign status do hereby establish and adopt this document.

    WHEREAS, it is therefore the duty of the Coyote Valley Tribal government pursuant to the Tribal Constitution to preserve and protect our cultural resources and traditions in order to safeguard the general welfare of the Tribe; and

    WHEREAS members of our Tribe are lineal descendants of the Little Lake Band of Pomo whose ancestral territory included the Little Lake Valley, the current site of the Willits By Pass project of Cal Trans and the Federal government; and Continue reading