Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Indian Country Today: California Legislator Seeks Tribal Input on Sacred Sites Protection Bill

Eagle Rock, located in the McCloud River canyon in Northern California, is sacred to the Winnemem Wintu and has been desecrated with graffiti and carvings.

Marc Dadigan - February 19, 2013

This October, not far from Bishop, California five petroglyphs sacred to tribes in the area including the Paiute, Shoshone and Mono were stolen by vandals using chainsaws and ladders. Government officials compared the crime to cutting holes in the Wailing Wall.

On the other end of the state, about an hour from the Oregon border, the Winnemem Wintu’s sacred Eagle Rock, which is still a ceremonial place in use by the tribe, has long suffered desecrations by vandals carving initials into or spray-painting the rock.

Throughout the state, tribal leaders say sacred sites and burial sites are far too vulnerable to vandalism and destruction via development, and California State Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles) agrees.

Gatto recently introduced a “placeholder” for Assembly Bill 52, which states his intent to enact legislation to improve the protection of sacred and cultural sites by requiring developers to consult with the appropriate tribes “prior to project initiation.”

“I think the state of California has not been great custodians of our history,” Gatto said. “After everything we’ve put our Native people through, it would be really wrong and a travesty if we allowed sacred sites to disappear.”

Gatto said he expects his office will spend the next two months consulting with tribes around the state, including federally unrecognized tribes, about what language would make the bill most effective...

You can read this entire article at http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2013/02/19/california-legislator-seeks-tribal-input-sacred-sites-protection-bill-147710

People who are interesting in providing input on the bill may contact legislative aide, Katerina Robinson at katerina.robinson@asm.ca.gov.

Mike Gatto is the Chairman of the Appropriations Committee of the California State Assembly.  He represents Burbank, Glendale, La Canada-Flintridge, La Crescenta, Montrose, and the Los Angeles neighborhoods of Los Feliz, Silver Lake, Atwater Village, and portions of the Hollywood Hills and East Hollywood.   www.asm.ca.gov/gatto

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