Tribes object to earthmoving

Debbie Ramsey

Managing Editor

Members of local Native American tribes have shown their concern and disagreement regarding earthmoving that has begun in the northeast area of State Route 76 and Interstate 15 as the precursor to construction of a new road to serve a future community college campus and housing developments approved by the County of San Diego. The tribes have pointed out to the county on numerous occasions that the area contains ancient gravesites of tribal members.

According to John Fox of Rez Radio on Pala, Bennae Calac, secretary/treasurer of the Pauma Yuima Band of Luiseno Indians, said on Feb. 23 that “construction began very early, at sunrise, with the removal of stakes marking off sites that were not to be disturbed due to the presence of artifacts and human remains from an ancient Luiseno village.” Fox said Callac has called on all tribal members in San Diego and Riverside counties to support the peaceful demonstration that has been going on.

“Mona Sespe from the Pala tribe reports those sites began being covered over… before state-appointed American Indian cultural experts arrived to monitor the work,” said Fox. “Preservationists claim developers are violating the law, but the hearing for a temporary restraining order requested by the San Luis Rey tribe has been delayed for a week.”

The Pala Band of Mission Indians issued a statement Feb. 23 that they “stand in solidarity” with the San Luis Rey Band of Mission Indians and the Pauma Band of Luiseno Indians in opposition to the “disturbing of ancestral tribal sites” by the construction of the Palomar College campus.

The main road, now under construction, would connect the new Fallbrook campus with at least three large residential and commercial projects proposed by developers.

“[These] will undoubtedly create irreversible damage to an ancestral burial site that must be protected,” said Pala Chairman Robert Smith.

“To excavate our ancestors without abiding by the law and protocol that applies to this particular project is deeply disrespectful and a violation of our rights as tribal people,” said Smith. “The legal framework that is in place to protect our irreplaceable tribal heritage must be adhered to. Further consultation and cooperation with the tribes is necessary to prevent any further desecration to our ancestors.”

Smith said the Pala Tribe “will pursue legal action against Palomar College if necessary to protect a site so rich in historical significance and ensure that our ancestors’ remains are treated with the respect they deserve.”

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5 Responses to "Tribes object to earthmoving"

  1. Anonymous Fallbrook Resident of 30 Years   March 2, 2012 at 2:24 am

    So dig ’em up and put ’em elsewhere! If the land isn’t currently being used for anything that is going to be of use to society, and it’s not on a preserve or on part of the reservation then by all means do something with it that is going to create jobs for people, or at least some work for those that still have a job. If the land had such historical significance, maybe the Indians should have bought it from the county, you know, with that nice monthly stipen they all receive for something that was not done to their current generation. If the state and federal government want to start saving some money, maybe they should start by cutting off the funds to the tribes, make them work for their money like the rest of us, instead of their kids getting free money and using it to buy expensive cars and drugs! I have worked for several tribes and their casinos in southern California and I can tell you right now, the Indians are nothing but a bunch of spoiled, troublemaking…. I first realized this when i got informed to not detain a tribal member after they had stabbed and robbed a person in a drug deal gone wrong at their tribal housing! I was told if I wanted to keep my job I’d keep my mouth shut! And again when several members of the tribe were three sheets to the wind and all got in their BMW’s and Mercedes’ and was told it was against the rules to report them to chp for a DUI. Because it was their land and they can do what they want. The line has to be drawn somewhere.

    So, this “protest” is nothing more than Indian tribes trying to get more out of the government.

  2. Concerned   March 2, 2012 at 10:25 am

    For Anonymous Fallbrook Resident: The Mexicans and the majority are illegal are no different. Look at what is happening to our schools and hospitals. They come into our schools not knowing English and the teachers then are to blame for the low scores. Try getting into an ER and having to wait while they use the hospitals for their medical care because they have to be served according to the law.

    At least the Indians are on their own land and not swarming around Fallbrook committing crimes and terrorizing residents.

  3. De Luz Neighbor   March 2, 2012 at 10:28 pm

    Anonymous, you’ll need to go dig up your grandma and grandpa. Just get them out of the ground and out of the way. I bought the cemetery and have big plans. You can leave ’em there if you want. Won’t hurt the leach field at all. By the way, the earthmoving starts yesterday.

  4. Arm Chair Fossil Hunter   March 10, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    Flat out I have respect for those how have gone before me. On my land I have precious remnants from the past. To pick up an ancient tool and ponder how those folks lived keeps be connected to my own life. I will only be here for a short while. So much has be paved over and destroyed from our past. Animals, Plants cutural riches…

    I understand progress and a comunity college sounds like a good idea. why however can’t the different parties work together. Have the state or county or even the Comunity College carefully excavate the site and allow the tribe to take care of their own.

    A missed opportunity all the way around.

    Sad really. To bad the developers got to act in a manner that is so disresepctful to those who have gone before us….They got guns at Arlington.

  5. enrique   July 15, 2012 at 9:01 am

    i think its great, the project. i live very close to it. i also get the native american concerns. perhaps the area should be excavated and a museum/memorial be built on the campus to honor the native americans buried there and educate the students and visitors as to the history of this area.


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