By Ray Beckerman
Man's inhumanity to man and other living things threatens the whole human experiment. Let's fight it, and try to build a future.
Saturday, September 8, 2012
Support Indigenous People's Voices in East Bay Regional Park District Planning
Support Indigenous People's
Voices in East Bay Regional Park District Planning
Ohlone, Miwok and Yokut Peoples need your support. For more than a
decade, tribal leaders have been attempting to push The East Bay Regional
Park District (EBRPD), which maintains and
operates a system of regional parks within the San Francisco Bay Area, to
take appropriate steps towards the protection and management of cultural
sites and resources within their work area.
particular concern is the EBRPD's decision to turn Brushy Peak--the site
of the Ohlone, Miwok, and Yokut origin stories--into a recreational
preserve against the wishes of the concerned Indigenous peoples.
Buried Voices, a new documentary
film by Michelle Steinberg, provides a great deal of insight into this
struggle. As the film shows, the EBRPD refused to consult or accommodate
the Ohlone, Miwok or Yokut in any meaningful way.
we now have an opportunity to change that. A public comment period on the
EBRPD's 2012 Master Plan (PDF) is open
until October 11th. We have until then to pressure the EBRPD into
adopting more responsible policies that are in line with the minimum
standards outlined in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of
Master Plan shapes the organization’s policies. Despite stating that they
would actively include Indigenous voices in the revision process, EBRPD
has made no attempt to do so, explains a recent appeal for support by
Michelle Steinberg, Corrina Gould and Vincent Medina. "As is, the
language in the proposed update fails to offer a
concrete guideline for the agency’s protocol in the treatment of
Indigenous sacred areas and does nothing to ensure that meaningful
consultation with Indigenous communities will be a top priority. In fact,
EBRPD’s conduct around the update of this document precisely reflects why
their policies are in need of radical revision."
this point we are asking supporters to take several critical actions ...
to help us hold EBRPD accountable for their continued lack of attention
to the concerns of Indigenous people and encourage them to create a
responsible position for the future."
1) Please write letters to EBRPD prior to
October 11th to insist that they give Indigenous people a defining voice
in how the District manages their sacred sites. The more specific that
you can be in reference to the proposed revisions, the better. The
template found at the end of this message identifies the key issues.
Sending an original letter is ideal if you have time to revise it in your
own words. Please save a copy of whatever you send for future
Hard copies of your letter should be sent to:
of Directors and General Manager Robert Doyle Master Plan Policy Update
East Bay Regional Park District 2950 Peralta Oaks Court PO Box 5381
Oakland, CA 94605-0381
2) Please join us at the first of six
public meetings on September 11th at 7pm at Richard Trudeau Training
Center, Redwood Regional Park, 11500 Skyline Blvd, Oakland, CA 94619. We
hope to have a strong turnout to encourage the district to put Indigenous
people’s concerns at the forefront of their revision process. A complete
schedule of upcoming meetings can be found at: http://www.ebparks.org/Page50.aspx.
recently read the Draft Master Plan revisions and would like to add my
comments. The language in the Cultural Resources Management section of
the draft Plan revisions is too general. EBRPD needs to use more specific
phrasing when defining how they will involve local Native peoples in the
preservation of their cultural resources. Indigenous people from this
region must be equal partners in the management of their sacred sites and
that is up to the Master Plan to ensure. Furthermore, cultural and
natural resources cannot be seen as separate entities as they are
inextricably linked for Native peoples who must have a guiding voice in
the stewardship of both.
following are suggested modifications to the Cultural Resource Management
section. Changes are found in red lettering.
The District will manage, conserve and when practical restore parkland
cultural and historic resources and sites with local Native American
communities, to preserve the heritage of the people who continue to
inhabit this land.
Native American communities will determine the level of public access to
their cultural and historic resources. The District will research the
practices being employed and generally accepted as best management
practices by State and Federal Parks and SB18 to minimize the impact of
public use and access on these resources, and to interpret the
significance of these resources on a regional scale when appropriate.
The District will include Native American and other culturally associated
peoples in discussions, at least 90 days prior to making any changes
regarding the preservation and land use planning of sites and landscapes
significant to their culture.
The District will accommodate requests by historic groups, Native
Americans, and other culturally affiliated groups to maintain and use
cultural sites and to play an active role in their preservation and
language should be adopted into the Natural Resource Management component
of the plan, as what the EBRPD defines as natural often has cultural
significance to Native peoples. EBRPD should commit to convening an
advisory board of local Indigenous people to oversee the decision-making
that pertains to their sacred places.
including these modifications to its Master Plan, East Bay Regional Parks
will be making significant changes to its historical relationship with
the Indigenous people whose land they now occupy. It would demonstrate
the desire of EBRPD to become partners with those who have the longest
continuous investment in this land.