Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

February 24, 2012

Luiseno and Mission Indians: Halt Palomar College from disturbing burial site
Pauma Band Joins San Luis Rey Band In Objection To Grading Permit That
Authorizes Palomar College To Continue To Disturb Ancestral Burial Site And
Human Remains
Luiseno historical archive
Press statement
SAN DIEGO -- Today the Pauma Band of Luiseno Indians joined the San Luis
Rey Band of Mission Indians in its formal request to stop Palomar College
from grading activities that are sure to disturb and irreversibly damage
ancestral cultural resources, archaeological data and unnecessarily unearth
human remains.
The San Luis Rey Band of Mission Indians filed a lawsuit and a temporary
restraining order on Friday against Palomar College in San Diego County
Superior Court in Vista.  The injunction requests Palomar to cease
construction on the college’s main road, Horse Ranch Creek Road, to the
Fallbrook campus and some three large housing and commercial projects that
are planned at the intersection of Highway 76 and Interstate 15.   San Luis
Rey filed the injunction just after grading activities resulted in
inadvertent discoveries of human remains, significant archaeological
resources and distinct archaeological sites.
Despite the knowledge of the site’s well-documented historical
significance, San Luis Rey’s filing and new “inadvertent discoveries” of
human remains and significant archaeological features during grading,
Palomar College continued its construction activities.  Palomar did not
cease disturbances, did not consult with tribes, and did not revise its
plans or agreements despite the new “discoveries.”
The Army Corps of Engineers (ACE) issued a Section 404 Permit which allows
the project to proceed despite potential impacts to wetlands within the
project’s footprint.  Because the project relies on a federal permit,
federal law applies to the project.
“We have no choice but to join the San Luis Rey Band and halt this illegal
and immoral action of unearthing our ancestors without following the law
and protocol that applies to these types of projects,” said Bennae Calac,
Pauma’s Repatriation Officer and Secretary/Treasurer of Pauma’s Tribal
Council.  Ms. Calac further explained that “[i]n this case we have the
domino effect of poor project management and compliance:  failed tribal
consultation, insufficiently scoped archaeological assessments, erroneous
conclusions in the Environmental Impact Report (EIR), data recovery based
on an unapproved, unofficial Data Recovery Plan, zero evidence of a
curatorial services agreement that complies with the Archaeological
Resources Protection Act of 1979 that governs the repository and long term
curation of the archaeological resources collection and Section 110 of the
National Historic Preservation Act which governs the federal agency duty to
observe historic preservation practices, and the list goes on and on.
 Despite the fact that we have Native American monitors onsite, we remain
concerned that the licensed archaeologists that have given the green light
to continue grading and cause irreparable harm to the site are acting too
hastily.  The grading and resource extraction is occurring more quickly
than the archaeologists can identify and assess the resources.   Further,
the resources are being boxed and left onsite. If archaeologists are unable
to keep up with the inventory and assessment of the collection as it is
being discovered and if archaeologists opt to use a repository or curation
facility not properly staffed or otherwise inadequate (such as a
temperature controlled environment), then those very archaeologists and
perhaps even Palomar College have done a great disservice to the people of
California, the tribes that have and continue to provide guidance, and the
descendents of those buried.  The Palomar project sets a dangerous
precedent in the archaeological profession that is contrary to local,
state, tribal and federal regulations drafted to protect and learn from the
archaeological record.”
The proposed injunction would allow an appropriate modification of the
grading permit, in the least, to address the inadvertently found human
remains and resources, as well as allow for overdue tribal consultation to
take place and an appropriate curatorial services agreement be secured.
Ms. Calac concluded “[i]f the process was conducted correctly, an
injunction would not be necessary.”

Also see:
News article: Sacred site bulldozed:

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