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Emergency Action to Protect Indigenous Burial Site

Monday, April 22, 2019
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
Event Type:
Protect Ohlone Burial Sites
Location Details:
Santa Cruz Mission Hill railroad tunnel, Chestnut Street, Santa Cruz

The Tunnel doesn't have an address, but 701 Chestnut Street is right next to it. We are Not meeting at that address, but on the sidewalk near it.


Roaring Camp Railroad is digging on Mission Hill without permits, without impact studies, without monitors. Artifacts have been destroyed and human remains may have been desecrated. Unearthing of an unidentified bone did not stop work. The City has tried to order work stoppage, but bureaucracy is tying its hands. Tribal representatives have asked for the work to stop, but it has not.

The railroad tunnel travels through Mission Hill, just feet directly below the mass grave at the mission. The church parking lot is on top of that. The distance between the tunnel and the parking lot, is between 10 - 15 feet. The entire area of mission hill is saturated with history, remains, and artifacts and deserves respect.

This railroad tunnel has been collapsing for decades and there are first hand accounts of remains and artifacts coming through the ceiling only to be covered up again in a railroad bureaucracy. It would be nice if the days of disrespect on that hill came to an end. The past can't be changed but the future can be.

Calling all social justice warriors this Monday at Santa Cruz Mission Hill railroad tunnel near 701 Chestnut Street, Santa Cruz. Peaceful event limited to public spaces. Aiming for a critical mass of people between 12:15 and 12:45. There will be media coverage. Mission Hill is legally protected land. No business should be above the law.

Please join us for a peaceful, brief demonstration in front of the South Portal to the Mission Hill Railroad Tunnel, where Roaring Camp Railroad is literally acting as if it is above the law. Indigenous Rumsen and Chumash activist Kanyon Sayers will join us Monday.

This is a situation where every government agency feels its hands are tied. Where good laws, laws that protect the natural and cultural environment, need grassroots help to succeed. Be a law abiding citizen; Uncle Sam Needs You to Protest!!!

--Stand Up for Environmental Law!
--Stand Up for Protecting Indigenous Peoples’ Graves!
--Stand Up for the Past; Rise Up for the Future!
--Stop Roaring Camp from defying National, State, and Local Environmental Laws and Other Statutes!
--For Years, Roaring Camp’s work to rebuild Mission Hill Tunnel has impacted the the Most Sensitive Archaeological Area in the County, including Mission Santa Cruz, with its archaeological sites and the hundreds of unmarked burials of Ohlone who died there.
--Work on the Tunnel has proceeded without government oversight; without permits; without review of engineering; without environmental/archaeological studies; without archaeological or Tribal monitors; without any sort of mitigation plan.
--Work on the Tunnel has disturbed numerous historic and prehistoric resources; yet nothing has been reported to any agency.
--There are reports that work on the Tunnel in decades past caused damage to the Indigenous graves located above it.
--Just Last Week, an unidentified skeletal fragment Did Not halt work.
--Roaring Camp argues that because it is a private railroad that the law doesn’t apply to it the same way it would almost any other property owner.
--Even if this is so, the City (for several years, now) has urged Roaring Camp to utilize an archaeologist.
--Support Your Local Government’s Effort to Ensure that the Letter and the Spirit of Environmental Law is Upheld.
--Support Local Democracy in the Face of Corporate Loopholes!
--Make Every Day Earth Day; Make Every Day a Day of Remembrance!

There will be a demonstration on Monday and a demonstration on Tuesday. We are hoping for a critical mass of protesters between 12:00 - 1:00 PM. Even if you can only make for between 12:15 - 12:45 PM, your presence would make a great difference. We need to prove that there are enough people ready to support this issue. We don't need to suck up your entire afternoon on a workday/weekday! If you can stay longer, that's great! Otherwise, we can keep you in the loop via email. There will be other ways to help, too!

We will gather on the sidewalk along Chestnut Street, near the South Portal of the Tunnel, where the construction is taking place. The Tunnel doesn't have an address, but 701 Chestnut Street is right next to it. We are Not meeting at that address, but on the sidewalk near it.

If you are interested, please contact us at tunnelvision8 [at] or just show up! We'll have extra signs.

This is a grassroots action.
Added to the calendar on Sat, Apr 20, 2019 10:14PM

Comments (Hide Comments)
by Vickie Hinkley
I was there today. Are you firm on doing it again tomorrow? Tuesday 4/23 ?
by Barry Scott
The burial site is on the north end of the tunnel not the south end.

Construction is limited to replacing all the burned up wood from the tunnel fire that was started by campers last year.

The contractors are also are putting in 6 foot long rock bolts into the Hill to support the bank so they can reinforce with concrete the end of the portal to prevent the tunnel from collapsing on the train.

While burial sites must be revered and respected, this is not an instance in which a protest is warranted.
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