The beautiful San Francisco Bay Area has been a mecca for humans for millenia. With it’s amazing moderate climate, spectacular views from the hills, lush year-round greenery and diversity of wildlife, it’s no wonder so many flock to live in this collection of cities. Unfortunately, throughout the mid-18th to mid-19th centuries, Spanish colonization of this area of the countrydecimated the population of original inhabitants of the area, the Ohlone people.
Throughout time, the Ohlone have been promised land grants to regain control over their original territories (18th century Spanish missions petitioned for this on behalf of Native folks, only to assign themselves as administrators), but have been denied those rights time and again due to bureaucracy, politics, racism and the interests of the United States and the State of California over the cultural and religious rights of the Ohlone.
One of the most notable pieces of land once part of Ohlone territory is the city of San Francisco. And while there is no foreseeable future of the Ohlone regaining those particular territory rights, they have been granted the right to be addressed whenever the State of California decides to move forward with development projects that potentially impact Native people’s cultural and religious rights as tied to land. California State Senate Bill 18 states that cities and counties of California must communicate with California Native American tribes before implementing plans for development of open space for the purpose of protecting Native American cultural places. The intent language of the bill states that city and county officials must:
- Establish meaningful consultation between tribal governments and local governments at the earliest possible point in the planning process
- Provide information available early in the planning process to avoid potential conflicts
- Enable tribes to manage and act as caretakers of cultural places.
In the interest of keeping the city and county of San Francisco accountable to some of the longest – and most culturally/spiritually invested- residents of this area, Mayor Gavin Newsom must hold meaningful dialogue with Ohlone Native people living in San Francisco regarding any future development of Candlestick Park/Hunters Point Shipyard. The plans consists of a new stadium for the San Francisco 49ers and a mixed-use community with residential, retail, office/research & development/industrial, civic and community uses, and parks and recreational open space (full planning document found here).
My ally, Corinna Gould, from Indian People Organizing for Change, has asked that this letter she has written and sent to Mayor Gavin Newsom be passed far and wide. I would add that a quick call or email to the mayor’s office will help build the pressure needed to ensure that the city and county of San Francisco adhere to the law and include the Ohlone people in this decision making process. The mayor’s office contact information has been included below.
Please take a moment and send an email or make a call today!
Corinna’s letter to Mayor Gavin Newsom:
Indian People Organizing for Change
10926 Edes Ave
Oakland, CA 94603
January 12, 2010
Mayor Gavin Newsom, SF
City Hall Rm 200
1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Pl.
San Francisco Ca 94102
Re: Planning Department Case No. 2007-0946E
Candlestick Park/Hunters Point Shipyard
REQUEST FOR IMMEDIATE MEANINGFUL CONVERSATION
Dear Mayor Newsom,
I am writing to you to ask that the City of San Francisco follow the law set out by the State of California to have a “meaningful conversation”, with the original people of your city, the Ohlone, prior to development. Senate Bill 18 is intended to bring in the local American Indians to talk respectfully with the city and county planners to determine if sacred sites are or could possibly be disturbed during a project. It is the City and Counties responsibility to contact the list of people on the Native American Heritage Commissions roster if they are going to adopt or amend a general plan. As the law passed in 2005 and the general plan was amended in 2006, the Ohlone people should have been contacted at that point.
As an Ohlone woman that has been working on Shellmound and Sacred sites issues for over 10years, I am asking that the City of San Francisco work with my relatives in order for us to continue to treat our ancestors in a respectful manner. A Public Hearing is not “meaningful discussion”. Please allow for the time allotted in the SB 18 law and bring the Ohlone people in for a meeting to discuss what the next steps should be.
Corrina Gould, Ohlone/IPOC Organizer
Mayor Gavin Newsom’s Office contact information:
Telephone: (415) 554-6141
Fax: (415) 554-6160
MAKE A QUICK CALL OR SEND AN EMAIL TODAY STANDING IN SOLIDARITY WITH THE OHLONE PEOPLE OF THE BAY AREA!!