The following is a sampling of letters written to the County of Santa Clara in support of preserving Juristac. Additions will be made to this page periodically.
Letters from scholars, faculty members, authors and filmmakers:
- UC Santa Cruz faculty— Jon D. Daehnke, Ph.D., Amy Lonetree, Ph.D., Lisbeth Haas, Ph.D., Tsim D. Schneider, Ph.D.
5/24/2017 letter, 1 page— [ view PDF ]
"The Amah Mutsun continue to have a relationship with and responsibilities to Juristac. Development of this site will forever affect this relationship and irreparably sever their access to this place of importance…We urge you to follow both ethical and legal mandates and work directly and collaboratively with the Amah Mutsun to find ways to preserve Jursitac and to provide avenues for them to access and care for this most sacred site, both now and into the future."
- Christopher McLeod, Sacred Land Film Project
10/26/2017 letter, 2 pages [ view PDF ]
"I write in strong opposition to the proposed Sargent Quarry Project that would harm 320 acres of Amah Mutsun traditional lands and destroy the sacred site known as Juristac…The State of California has long infringed on the rights of the state’s indigenous peoples, stealing their lands, destroying their sacred sites, undermining their cultures and financing genocidal campaigns of murder. It is time to finally recognize this history, put a stop to this unacceptable behavior and respect the state’s first residents. The very survival of the Amah Mutsun culture is at stake."
- UC Los Angeles faculty / Fowler Museum at UCLA— Wendy G. Teeter, Ph.D., Benjamin Madley, Ph.D., Mishuana Goeman, Ph.D., Kyle T. Mays, Ph.D., Shannon Speed, Ph.D., Paul Kroskrity, Ph.D., Ananda M. Marin, Ph.D., Randall Akee, Ph.D., Jessica Cattelino, Ph.D., Teresa McCarty, Ph.D., Angela Riley, J.D., Carole Goldberg, J.D. and Keith Camacho, Ph.D.
8/21/2017 letter, 2 pages— [view PDF]
"We strongly urge you and the developers to reconsider the proposed extractive sand and gravel mining operation and to enter into government-to-government consultation with the Amah Mutsun to ensure that this irreplaceable location is preserved."
- Steven Newcomb (Shawnee, Lenape), co-founder of the Indigenous Law Institute, author of Pagans in the Promised Land: Decoding the Doctrine of Christian Discovery
7/2/2018 essay, 9 pages [ view PDF ]
"The current struggle by the Amah Mutsun to protect their sacred area from the Sargent Ranch Management Company is a present day result of the Christian empire’s religious warfare against the so-called “infidel” nations of the North American continent."
- Benjamin W. Porter, Ph.D.—Director, Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology, UC Berkeley
9/27/2017 letter, 1 page— [ view PDF ]
"As Director of the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley, I am saddened by the distress caused to the Amah Mutsun Tribe by the proposed Sargent Quarry Project in Santa Clara County. If this project proceeds as currently envisioned, it is my understanding that it will threaten the integrity of Juristac, a site of great importance to the Amah Mutsun people."
- Flora Lu, Ph.D.— Professor, Environmental Studies Department and College 9/10 Provost, UC Santa Cruz
10/8/17 letter, 2 pages— [ view PDF ]
"The proposed desecration of Juristac is yet another example of the legacies of settler colonialism, which—through violence and dispossession—has imposed changes in land use regimes, decimated the abundance of flora and fauna, and ruptured people’s connection to place…You have the power to influence whether the culture, traditional lands, and spirituality of the Mutsun people will be respected and protected, or whether shortsighted corporate interests will perpetuate the trauma that they have suffered. "
- Martin Rizzo, Ph.D., Dept. of History, UC Santa Cruz
8/16/2017 letter, 2 pages— [ view PDF ]
"I am a historian whose research and writing has focused on the history of Indigenous peoples of the Monterey Bay region, and I urge you to reconsider the proposed development. This is an opportunity to do right by the people who have called this land home for thousands of years, a rare opportunity to forge a better and more respectful relationship with the Amah Mutsun, who have already witnessed the vast majority of their sacred sites and homelands developed and destroyed."
- Jennifer Scheper Hughes, Ph.D., Dept. of History, UC Riverside
9/20/2017 letter / 1 page [ view PDF ]
"I am writing as a scholar of religion and expert in the field of religious studies, and section committee chair for the American Academy of Religion, in support of the Amah Mutsun and their religious rights as granted under the constitution of the United States of America…I am recommending that Santa Clara County not approve or proceed with this project."
- UC San Diego faculty— Ross Frank, K. Wayne Yang, Gabriela Caballero, Daphne V. Taylor-García, Thomas J. Csordas, Julie S. Burelle, Kathryn Walkiewicz, Gloría Chacón.
9/13/2017 letter, 2 pages [ view PDF ]
"Destroying forever an important place that is both sacred and historically significant for the Amah Mutsun is not commensurate with the adverse effects that other entities may feel as a result of a development project."
- UC Santa Cruz Arboretum— Martin Quigley, Ph.D. (Executive Director), Brett Hall (Director, Native Plant Program), & Rick Flores (Curator, CA Native Plant Collection)
9/12/2017 letter, 2 pages [ view PDF ]
"We are botanists, ecologists, ethnobotanists and horticulturalists with expertise in California native plants, traditional ecological knowledge, conservation, and land management. We strongly urge you and the developers to reconsider the proposed extractive sand and gravel mining operation and enter into government-to-government consultation with the Amah Mutsun to ensure that this irreplaceable location is preserved."
- Elias Castillo— Author of A Cross of Thorns: The Enslavement of California’s Indians by the Spanish Missions
10/1/2017 letter, 2 pages— [ view PDF ]
"To allow the desecration of this site by allowing sand and gravel mining on it would be an abominable decision by the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors. It would further the destruction of American Indian faiths and set a precedent to continue that shameful path against Native civilizations that have already suffered atrocities, murder, lies and dishonesty."
- Marcelo Garzo Montalvo, Ethnic Studies Department, UC Berkeley
6/5/2018 letter / 1 page [ view PDF ]
"I urge you to take this opportunity to contribute to a long-term healing process in your local community…All Californians benefit when Native people’s authority and participation in their ancestral cultures is honored. Today, you have an opportunity to defend California’s cultural and ecological health for generations to come."
Letters from other California Native Nations:
- Chalon Indian Nation / Chalon Indian Council of Bakersfield
2/11/2018 letters, 1 page each [ Tribal Council PDF ] [ Elders Council PDF ]
"Our traditional homelands and sacred sites are located to the south of the Mutsun Tribe’s traditional territory, in San Benito County, in the areas along the San Benito River, the Gabilan Mountains, and the Pinnacles National Park region. We are writing to you in support of the Amah Mutsun people and the preservation of their sacred site at Juristac…Rejecting the proposed quarry project would send a positive message to other neighboring communities that you support the self-determination of the original inhabitants of California, and that the preservation of traditional, sacred sites matters to all. We hope that you will do the right thing and preserve Juristac for future generations."
Letters from local non-profit organizations and people of faith:
- Connie Rogers, President, Gilroy Historical Society
10/18/2017 letter, 1 page [ view PDF ]
"The [Amah Mutsun] lived in at least four small villages near Gilroy and their heritage is very much tied to the land. Specifically, the Sargent Ranch is a sacred site, their ancestral home, on which they should be able to practice their religious rights. The proposed sand and gravel-mining project will disrespect and infringe on these rights."
- Francis A. Quinn, Bishop Emeritus, Diocese of Sacramento
12/5/2017 letter, 1 page [ view PDF ]
"I join with others in appealing to Santa Clara County not to violate this sacred location of California Indians by proceeding with the proposal to allow sand and gravel extraction on this location…Because [the Amah Mutsun] have been denied these rights in the past, I am joining with others in strongly advising that these liberties be protected in the current case of the proposed sand and gravel quarry."
- Sister Deanna Rose von Bargen, RSCJ— Society of the Sacred Heart Sisters, Redwood City, CA
9/24/2017 letter, 2 pages [ view PDF ]
"The spiritual significance of this site to these indigenous people is equivalent to what Jerusalem means to the Jewish people, or Guadalupe near Mexico City, to Catholics and others of the country of Mexico. I urge you, the Board of Supervisors of Santa Clara County, to work with the Amah Mutsun in a joint effort to reclaim their sacred site, Juristac, for their benefit and everybody else’s."
- Molly Fay Vallejo McGettigan Arthur, Women for Earth and Birth
10/29/2017 letter, 1 page [ view PDF ]
"The State of California, from its very beginnings, has ignored the rights of its indigenous peoples, stealing their lands, destroying their sacred sites, undermining their cultures and financing genocidal campaigns of murder. It is time to finally recognize this history, put a stop to the current perpetuation of harm that a quarry pit imposes on the sacred land and start to respect the state’s first people…"
- Conscious Elder Network, Elder Activists for Social Justice
2/12/2018 letter, 1 page [ view PDF ]
"We would hope that the elected officials who hold the future of our next generations in their hands recognize their responsibilities to them. The appropriate action is to stop this mining operation cold, in perpetuity, protecting us all— and that should be done with the Amah Mutsun in a joint effort to reclaim their sacred site, Juristac, for their benefit and everybody else’s."
- Gregory Rolin, Morgan Hill resident
2/24/2018 letter, 1 page [ view PDF ]
"I am a Christian. In my religion, Juristac is not sacred, but I have a deep respect for the fact that it is sacred in the spiritual tradition of the people that lived in the place I call home long before anyone else came here. I would not want someone to destroy the Jordan River, or mine large volumes of material from beneath Bethlehem, Nazareth, or Jerusalem. I would hope that a same sort of respect that I would want people to have for my religious beliefs would be extended to every religious belief, including the sacred spaces of the native groups that are today represented by the Amah Mutsun tribal band."
International letters of support:
- Maui Solomon, Chairperson, Hokotehi Moriori Trust (New Zealand)
1/28/2018 letter, 2 pages [ view PDF ]
"I am familiar with the history of the colonisation and brutal treatment of the Amah Mutsun over the past several hundred years. The fact that these injustices have not been addressed or redressed is a scar on the conscience of the USA and the State of California…Sadly, their history mirrors the treatment that was meted out to my own Moriori peoples here on Rekohu (Chatham Islands), New Zealand, so my people can relate strongly to the struggles that they face. But like the Amah Mutsun we have survived to tell our story and rebuild our culture and identity and to protect the little sacred land that now remains in our hands.
Your Board has an opportunity to say ‘enough’ and prevent yet another injustice from occurring by stopping the mining of these sacred lands. As the great Civil Rights Leader, Martin Luther King Jr once said, ‘injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.’"
- Hannibal Rhoades, The Gaia Foundation (United Kingdom)
10/11/2017 letter, 2 pages [ view PDF ]
"We are aware of the State of California’s long history of infringement on the rights of native peoples like the Amah Mutsun, their ancestral lands and sacred natural sites. We join the Amah Mutsun in calling upon the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors to acknowledge these difficult truths and to make different choices in the present than were made in the past with regards to native peoples rights, lands and sacred sites. In line with the growing international consensus that native peoples’ access to- and the health of- sacred sites is a pre-requisite for the realisation of their rights, both international and constitutional, we recommend that you do not approve or proceed with the Sargent Quarry Project."
- Cynthia Ong, Executive Chairperson of LEAP (Malaysia)
10/10/2017 letter, 1 page [ view PDF ]
"The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples requires governments to obtain Free, Prior and Informed Consent from indigenous peoples before embarking on any development project that would affect their territory. I stand in solidarity with the Amah Mustun. I am asking for the Santa Clara County to respect the Amah Mutsun and their rights, and to not approve or proceed with this project."