June 24, 2010 (Santee) – California Attorney General Edmund G. “Jerry” Brown today filed a lawsuit on behalf of the California Native American Heritage Commission against Padre Dam Municipal Water District and its board of directors. The suit seeks a permanent injunction on construction of a proposed pump station, 2.5 million gallon reservoir, flow control facility and pipelines near Lake Jennings.  

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Court orders construction halt on Viejas sacred site

SAN DIEGO – A state superior court has issued a restraining order to stop construction on a $20 million water project after human remains were found in an area that the Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians says is a sacred burial ground and ceremonial place of their ancestors.

In a June 7 hearing, San Diego Superior Court Judge Judith Hayes ordered the Padre Dam Municipal Water District to avoid construction on around two-thirds of the two-and-a-half acre site where it is building a new reservoir and pumping station. The restraining order extends to June 25.

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Dan Bacher: MLPA Initiative Violates American Indian Religious Freedom Act, UN Declaration

Pomo girl, 1924

by Dan Bacher  

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative has brazenly violated the American Indian Religious Freedom Act (AIRFA) and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, passed by the UN General Assembly in September 2007.   

Passed by both houses of Congress, AIRFA became law on August 11, 1978, spurred by the American Indian Movement’s Longest Walk from San Francisco to Washington, D.C. that year. The act recognized the “inherent right” of American citizens to religious freedom; admitted that in the past the U.S. government had not protected the religious freedom of American Indians; proclaimed the “indispensable and irreplaceable” role of religion “as an integral part of Indian life”; and called upon governmental agencies to “protect and preserve” for American Indians their inherent right to practice their traditional religions….

The MLPA process has violated this historic law by banning the Kashia Pomo Tribe from practicing their religion by gathering seaweed and shellfish and conducting ceremonies at their sacred site, Danaka, in northern Sonoma County. In the Kashia Pomo’s creation story, Danaka (Stewarts Point) is the place where the tribe first walked on land.  

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