Victory At Glen Cove: “A Win For the Ancestors”

By Rainforest Action Network
Singers at Glen Cove, California
Left to right: Wounded Knee DeOcampo (Me-wuk), Tony Cerda (Rumsen Ohlone), Mickey Gemmill, Jr (Pit River), Naiche Dominguez (Apache/Ohlone), Wicahpiluta Candelaria (Rumsen Ohlone/ Apache) at Segorea Te.

Nearly 100 days of continuous prayer on-site at Segorea Te (also known as Glen Cove) near San Francisco, California, has precipitated a precedent-setting victory for the protection of a sacred site and ancestral burial site near Vallejo, California.

Here’s the good news:

Yesterday, the Yocha Dehe and Cortina tribes established a cultural easement and settlement agreement with the City of Vallejo and the Greater Vallejo Recreation District (GVRD). The agreement sets a legal precedent for granting Native peoples jurisdiction over their sacred sites and ancestral lands. The cultural easement forever guarantees that the Yocha Dehe and Cortina tribes will have legal oversight in all activities taking place on the sacred burial grounds of Sogorea Te/Glen Cove. It also represents a significant step forward in enacting tribal sovereignty, as the first such easement under CA Senate Bill 18 to be negotiated at the city and recreational district levels.

morningstar and wounded knee
Morning Star Gali (Pit River) and Wounded Knee DeOcampo (Me-wuk) – Photo by Scott Braley

For more details, check out the Committee to Protect Glen Cove’s press release.

The historical and cultural value of the 3,500-year old site continues to be spiritually important to California tribes. On April 14th 2011, local Native Americans and supporters began a 24-hour prayer vigil at Sogorea Te to prevent the Greater Vallejo Recreation District from bulldozing/grading a large portion of the sacred site and constructing bathrooms and a parking lot.

Rainforest Action Network is honored to stand in solidarity with the Committee to Protect Glen Cove. We sent an email to our 100,000+ supporters featuring an action alert that helped garner over 1500 emails from RAN activists to decision-makers in the City of Vallejo, Greater Vallejo Recreation Committee, and Native American Heritage Council urging for respect of sacred sites and the Native community. RAN staff and volunteers also organized an awesome benefit event in San Francisco that raised $700 to support the ongoing prayer vigil at Glen Cove. We are so happy to have been able to help impact this important local struggle.

The role that an organization like Rainforest Action Network has in supporting the Native leaders who are protecting Glen Cove isn’t just a good deed to be proud of. It is our responsibility to respect and stand in solidarity with the Indigenous Peoples whose land we live and work on. Thank you and congratulations to everyone who has worked to protect Segorea Te!