top
South Bay
South Bay
Indybay
Indybay
Indybay
Regions
Indybay Regions North Coast Central Valley North Bay East Bay South Bay San Francisco Peninsula Santa Cruz IMC - Independent Media Center for the Monterey Bay Area North Coast Central Valley North Bay East Bay South Bay San Francisco Peninsula Santa Cruz IMC - Independent Media Center for the Monterey Bay Area California United States International Americas Haiti Iraq Palestine Afghanistan
Topics
Newswire
Calendar
Features
From the Open-Publishing Calendar
From the Open-Publishing Newswire
Indybay Feature
Hundreds Rally in San Jose for Protection of Sacred Tribal Land from Mining Project
by Amah Mutsun Tribal Band
Over 400 people gather to call on Santa Clara County to deny approval of proposed mine on sacred lands
sm__rally_for_juristac_santa_clara_county__mg_1226-6.jpg
SAN JOSE, CA— Hundreds gathered in front of the Santa Clara County Government Building in San Jose on Saturday to stand with the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band in calling on the County to deny permits for a proposed mining project that threatens the tribe’s most sacred site.

Over two dozen speakers representing a broad range of communities, organizations, and California tribes spoke to the crowd, including Amah Mutsun Chair Valentin Lopez, 27th District Assemblymember Ash Kalra, Theodora Simon of the American Civil Liberties Union, and Gerardo Loera of the Indian Health Center of Santa Clara Valley. (Full speakers list below.) The Rally was co-sponsored by 70 local organizations, all of which had representatives in attendance.

“This company wants to tear down our most sacred site and sell the sand and gravel. The County’s regulations allow the destruction of the most sacred site of a Native American tribe. Can you believe that? Their regulations are fine with it. But we can’t allow that to happen,” Chairman Valentin Lopez said.

“If this was a Catholic, Jewish or Muslim or any other religion’s sacred site, they would never even consider doing that,” Lopez continued “They only want 8% of the Vatican, they only want 8% of Mecca, what’s the big deal here?’ That is a big deal. That is a big deal to our tribe. And luckily, it’s a big deal to everyone here, and we thank you for that.”

“Today is about our cultural responsibility to take care of the land,” Veronica Martinez, Amah Mutsun tribal member who acted as MC of the main stage. “This rally is a call to let us do just that. And it’s a call for cultural survival.”

Uwismak Singers, the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band’s traditional singing group, opened and closed the rally with ceremonial songs. Many of the 75 tribal members who were present at the rally gathered on stage at the end of the event to conduct a small ceremony to bless a bundle containing over 21,000 petition signatures.

The Amah Mutsun Youth Group presented the bundle of 21,000 signatures to the crowd, explaining that the tribe had intended to deliver the petitions to the County during the rally, but that no County staff member including the staff in the building that day were willing to receive them. “We will honor and deliver these petition signatures on our terms, not theirs,” Amah Mutsun youth leader Hannah Moreno told the crowd. “We are still here, we are fighting for our land, we are fighting for Mother Earth. We belong here, we need to stand together.”

“I’m honored to stand with each and every one of you to fight back against, once again another effort to take land away and to diminish and denigrate our indigenous communities,” 27th District California Assemblymember Ash Kalra said in his address to the rally. “This right here is absolutely beautiful. To see this turnout at your County building. To see this turnout, showing up to protect Juristac.“

“Let’s keep in mind there are folks in this building, there are folks on the board [of Supervisors], who are supportive,” Kalra said. “We want to let them know that you have a whole community with you. You have a whole community with you that’s going to lift you up and allow you to lead with justice and with righteousness. I want to thank you for being that community, I want to thank you for being that mountain of support that’s going to protect this land.“

“We can’t afford to continue bulldozing and fragmenting lands with high ecological and cultural value,” scientist Tiffany Yap of the Center for Biological Diversity said in her remarks. “A sand and gravel mine does not belong here. It will destroy these pristine habitats and degrade much of the needed wildlife connectivity.”

“This open pit mine would not only dig giant pits in the hillsides of Juristac it would also block animals like mountain lions from being able to migrate. That is why every single environmental organization in the area is opposing this quarry,” Alice Kaufman of Green Foothills said, “And let me say, it’s completely ridiculous and offensive that a project like this in the year 2022 was even proposed. That in spite of everything they’ve been told for the last seven years about the spirituality of the site and the importance of it for wildlife, this company is still trying to get their project approved.“

Alice Kaufman also announced for the first time the Statement of Opposition to Sargent Ranch Quarry that is co-signed by more than 100 elected officials, prominent individuals and organizations. “This is about a Southern California corporation trying to squeeze as much profit as possible out of this landscape. End of story. But our community is joining together to tell them no way.”

Santa Clara County’s public comment period on the Sargent Quarry Project that threatens Juristac is still open, but ends in just two weeks, on September 26th. This is a crucial window of time in which the public may submit written remarks on the Draft Environmental Impact Report for the mining project. After the final Environmental Impact Report is certified, the County’s planning department will rule on whether to approve or deny the Conditional Use Permit for the mine. This decision is expected in early 2023 and the Tribe and allies will continue to take action to call for the protection of Juristac and demonstrate the breadth of public opposition.

“Our traditional stories tell us that if all the people get together, and they follow a plan, and do it the correct way, we can overcome anything,” Amah Mutsun Vice Chair Ed Ketchum told the crowd. “We can overcome this evil that’s upon us now, and we can protect Juristac. No sand pit!”


Photo: Members of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band. Credit: Raven Marshall
§Veronica Martinez
by Amah Mutsun Tribal Band
sm_2_rally_for_juristac_santa_clara_county_dsc01736-13_veronica_martinez.jpg
Photo Credit: Tyler Suttle
§Uwismak Singers, the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band’s traditional singing group
by Amah Mutsun Tribal Band
sm_3_rally_for_juristac_santa_clara_county_dsc01487-45.jpg
Photo Credit: Tyler Suttle
§
by Amah Mutsun Tribal Band
sm_4_rally_for_juristac_santa_clara_county_mg_0529-20.jpg
Photo Credit: Raven Marshall
§Tedde Simon
by Amah Mutsun Tribal Band
sm_rally_for_juristac_santa_clara_county__mg_0542-19_tedde_simon.jpg
Photo Credit: Raven Marshall
§Corrina Gould
by Amah Mutsun Tribal Band
sm_rally_for_juristac_santa_clara_county__mg_0566-18_corrina_gould.jpg
Photo Credit: Raven Marshall
§Sherri Norris
by Amah Mutsun Tribal Band
sm_rally_for_juristac_santa_clara_county__mg_0859-17_sherri_norris.jpg
Photo Credit: Raven Marshall
§Ray LeBeau
by Amah Mutsun Tribal Band
sm_rally_for_juristac_santa_clara_county__mg_0866-16_ray_lebeau.jpg
Photo Credit: Raven Marshall
§Roxanne Ganoa
by Amah Mutsun Tribal Band
sm_rally_for_juristac_santa_clara_county__mg_1036-15_roxanne_ganoa.jpg
Photo Credit: Raven Marshall
§Elizabeth Rodriguez
by Amah Mutsun Tribal Band
sm_rally_for_juristac_santa_clara_county__mg_1057-14_elizabeth_rodriguez.jpg
Photo Credit: Raven Marshall
§
by Amah Mutsun Tribal Band
sm_rally_for_juristac_santa_clara_county__mg_1081-12.jpg
Photo Credit: Raven Marshall
§Hannah Moreno with Amah Mutsun youth group presents petitions
by Amah Mutsun Tribal Band
sm_rally_for_juristac_santa_clara_county__mg_1133-9_hannah_moreno_with_youth_group_presents_petitions.jpg
Photo Credit: Raven Marshall
§
by Amah Mutsun Tribal Band
sm_rally_for_juristac_santa_clara_county__mg_1160-7.jpg
Photo Credit: Raven Marshall
§Ed Ketchum
by Amah Mutsun Tribal Band
sm_rally_for_juristac_santa_clara_county_dsc01501-42_ed_ketchum.jpg
Photo Credit: Tyler Suttle
§
by Amah Mutsun Tribal Band
sm_rally_for_juristac_santa_clara_county_dsc01505-41.jpg
Photo Credit: Tyler Suttle
§Roman C. Rain Tree
by Amah Mutsun Tribal Band
sm_rally_for_juristac_santa_clara_county_dsc01521-36_roman_c_rain_tree.jpg
Photo Credit: Tyler Suttle
§Gerardo Loera
by Amah Mutsun Tribal Band
sm_rally_for_juristac_santa_clara_county_dsc01532-35_gerardo_loera.jpg
Photo Credit: Tyler Suttle
Add Your Comments
We are 100% volunteer and depend on your participation to sustain our efforts!

Donate

Donate Now!

$ 135.00 donated
in the past month

Get Involved

If you'd like to help with maintaining or developing the website, contact us.

Publish

Publish your stories and upcoming events on Indybay.

IMC Network