Category Archives: Sherwood Valley Pomo

New Video: Ceremony For Pomo Ancestor Sites Destroyed by CalTrans

Following is a terrific video by Maria Gilardin, summarizing much of what has led up to the Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians and Round Valley Indian Tribes lawsuit against CalTrans.

Save Our Little Lake Valley is assisting the Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians with fundraiser for their lawsuit.  Although they have an excellent pro-bono legal team, the cost of taking on an institution like CalTrans in federal court is nevertheless quite high.  After watching the video, please consider donating.

“An unnecessary freeway bypass cut through ancestral sites of Pomo Indians near Willits, CA. This is a summary of their resistance, ceremonies and appeals for help. All leading up to the filing of a lawsuit in Federal Court in October 2015.”

Sign On to Support California Indian Tribes v. Caltrans


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 the United Pomo Nations Council

September 29th, 2016

We are writing to share an opportunity to build alliances with Native communities.  We are asking you to write in support of our efforts to protect the numerous ancestral village and cultural sites that both Caltrans and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) failed to adequately, survey, identify and protect. 

Click on this link to access a form letter that you can modify and send through email or postal service to state and federal agencies. 

As you may be aware, the Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians and the Round Valley Indian Tribes are suing Caltrans and FHWA for their failure to engage in good faith, open and transparent consultations with the Tribes and due to both agencies’ failure to ensure that adequate surveys were conducted for the over 32 sites discovered, largely by bulldozer, in the project area and mitigation lands of the  Caltrans Willits Bypass project. Caltrans recklessly destroyed an ancient village site and continued to fail to adequately protect discovered sites throughout the construction of the Willits Bypass.

Just recently, the Justice Department, the Army Corps of Engineers and the Department of Interior responded to the efforts of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and the Water Protectors at Standing Rock, North Dakota, and have called for nationwide government-to-government consultation with Indian Tribes regarding how current policies and regulations fail to afford adequate protection for Native American cultural resources negatively impacted by infrastructure development projects. The desecration caused during the construction of the Willits Bypass Project is an example of how state and federal agencies failed to properly consult with local tribes regarding their ancestral lands. 

Formal letter request from Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians: request-for-support-letters

Letter to FHWA from Coyote Valley: fhwa-letter-final-signed

Continue reading

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

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.

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.”

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