Category Archives: Sherwood Valley Pomo

Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Reject CalTrans Programmatic Agreement

coyote-valley-tribeIn a major development in local Indigenous people’s efforts to secure justice in CalTrans’ treatment of their cultural resources in Little Lake Valley, the Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians have rejected CalTrans’ “programmatic agreement,” a document which is supposed to establish mutually-approved procedures for cultural resource management between Caltrans and the consulting tribes.

Click here to read the full letter!

The Willits News features a very good story this week about this subject.  It reads:

“A multi-year negotiation between local tribes and Caltrans officials concerning the identification and management of cultural resource sites located on the Willits bypass project and its mitigation area has reached another impasse, as one local tribe announced its refusal to sign an agreement over how such sites will be handled.

In a Sept. 2 letter from the Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians, Chairman Michael Hunter details various reasons the tribe withdrew from discussions regarding the “programmatic agreement,” (PA) a document which is supposed to establish mutually-approved procedures for cultural resource management between Caltrans and the consulting tribes.

Reasons listed include issues with adequate tribal consultation, disagreement over standards to identify and protect sites, conflict over proposed mitigation measures to manage and compensate for the multiple site damages that has already occurred, and a general lack of adequate communication and good faith in consultations.

The letter states: “We firmly believe that it would be an insult to both our heritage and our integrity to sign off on the proposed Programmatic Agreement and Post Review and Discovery Action Plan. These documents do not provide a genuine means for protecting our ancestral sites in the future, let alone compensate us for destruction and desecration we have experienced. For the past two years our Tribe has attempted to engage in genuine government to government.  Click here to read more. >>



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.”