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Indybay Feature
Mon Oct 6 2014
Fight Continues to Protect Ancient Native Sites and Wetlands from Willits Bypass
Pomo Leaders, AIM Elders and Environmental Activists Shut Down Caltrans Construction
On September 23, Native American Tribal members, including direct descendants of the Pomo peoples who once populated the Little Lake Valley where Caltrans is currently building an oversized freeway, joined environmental groups in a protest on the north end of the Willits Bypass highway project. Protestors entered the construction zone north of town in the early morning hours, stopping the fast and furious flow of dirt-filled, double-belly dump trucks that have been working from dawn to dusk to cover the wetlands and archeological sites the activists seek to protect.

Elders and spiritual leaders from local Pomo Indian Bands and the American Indian Movement (AIM) lead the way to threatened cultural sites where prayers were offered for the ancestors. The AIM flag and drum were present near the construction area where Native American cultural artifacts have been discovered. The sites have been documented and fenced off by Caltrans, but are still slated to be destroyed by being permanently graded and buried under the Bypass as currently designed.

“I hear and feel our ancestors cry to save our villages from destruction. The white man’s history repeats itself. We pray that the Creator will hear our prayers”, said Priscilla Hunter, tribal representative for the Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians. “Caltrans placated the interests of local ranchers by giving them permanent grazing rights on the mitigation lands and built the viaduct over the railroad track to preserve it, but yet they don’t listen to the Indians’ concerns for protection of our ancestors’ culture or to our call for downsizing the northern interchange to avoid a large village site.”

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Previous Related Indybay Features: Destruction of Little Lake Valley Wetlands Finally Halted After Many Permit Violations | Earth Firster Occupies Wick Drain Stitcher to Save Little Lake Valley from Willits Bypass | Tree-Sitters Removed as Opposition to CalTrans Bypass Project Grows
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