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.
Are you interested in supporting the efforts of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band to protect Juristac by writing a letter on behalf of yourself or your organization, or getting a resolution passed at your school, city, institution or club? See the tips for doing so at the bottom of this page.
Letters from Cities, Electeds, Political Parties and Organized Labor:
- City of Sunnyvale (NEW)
7/7/2022 resolution, adopted unanimously— 2 pages [ view PDF ]
"…The City of Sunnyvale urges the County of Santa Clara to deny approval of permits for the proposed Sargent Quarry Project…[and] find funding for a conservancy agency to purchase and preserve Sargent Ranch/Juristac as open space."
- City of Santa Clara
12/14/2021 resolution, adopted unanimously— 3 pages [ view PDF ]
1/25/22 letter from Mayor Lisa M. Gillmor to Santa Clara County— 1 page [ view PDF ]
"The City Council of the City of Santa Clara supports the efforts of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band to preserve Sargent Ranch/Juristac as open space in perpetuity and to regain access to their cultural and spiritual sites at Juristac."
- City of Santa Cruz
2/11/2020 resolution, adopted unanimously— 2 pages [ view PDF ]
"The City Council of the City of Santa Cruz urges the County of Santa Clara to deny approval of permits for the proposed Sargent Quarry Project."
- City of Morgan Hill
1/15/2020 resolution, adopted unanimously— 2 pages [ view PDF ]
"The City Council of the City of Morgan Hill urges the County of Santa Clara to preserve the entirety of the Sargent Ranch lands as open space."
- California Democratic Party
11/25/2020 adopted resolution— 1 page [ view PDF ]
"The California Democratic Party supports the efforts of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band to preserve Sargent Ranch/Juristac as open space and to regain access to their cultural and spiritual sites at Juristac…[and] opposes any projects that would compromise any cultural and sacred sites"
- Santa Cruz County Democratic Party
8/28/2019 resolution (passed 22-0, signed)— 1 page [ view PDF ]
"The Santa Cruz County Democratic Party supports the efforts by the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band to protect their historic site, Juristac; and joins with the Santa Clara County Democratic Party in urging relevant government agencies to deny Sargent Ranch Management Company the permits to operate its proposed quarry."
- Santa Clara County Democratic Party
2/13/2020 letter & 7/11/2019 resolution— 2 pages [ view PDF ]
"The Santa Clara County Democratic Party urges the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors, Planning Commissioners, and other relevant government agencies to affirm the cultural, spiritual, and conservation values of Juristac by denying Sargent Ranch Management Company the permits necessary to operate its proposed quarry."
- Anna M. Caballero, Assemblymember, 13th District, California Legislature
11/29/2018 letter, 1 page [ view PDF ]
"I strongly urge the County of Santa Clara to deny this mining application and take every opportunity possible to help the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band preserve their sacred land."
- Ash Kalra, Assemblymember, District 27
1/14/2020 letter, 1 page [ view PDF ]
"I think we can all agree that preserving our few remaining open spaces should be a priority for all elected officials in the County of Santa Clara. Let us stand together to preserve our open space, indigenous land, and wildlife corridors by opposing the proposed sand and gravel mine project."
- Monterey Bay Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO (NEW)
5/4/2022 resolution, 1 page [ view PDF ]
"The Monterey Bay Central Labor Council urges the County of Santa Clara to deny approval of permits for the proposed Sargent Quarry Project."
- Green Party of Santa Clara County (NEW)
4/12/2022 letter; 1 page [ view PDF ]
"The Amah Mutsun people have nurtured and protected the fragile ecosystems of Juristac through traditional ecological knowledge. A sand and mine would have a massive environmental impact, causing loss of habitat, destruction of open space, and ecological devastation. "
Letters from Tribal Governments:
- 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."
- Chief Caleen Sisk, Winnemem Wintu Tribe
4/03/2020 letter, 2 pages [ view PDF ]
"As California Indian people, we have lost too much, and cannot afford to move one inch when it comes to our remaining intact sacred places. I ask that you do whatever is necessary to ensure that the sacred Amah Mutsun landscape of Juristac is protected."
- Rudy Ortega, Jr., Tribal President, Fernandeño Tataviam Band of Mission Indians
12/19/2019 letter, 1 page [ view PDF ]
"We, the Fernandeño Tataviam Band of Mission Indians (FTBMI) strongly urge for the protection and preservation of the Mutsun cultural heritage by rejecting the proposed Sargent Quarry Project."
Letters from scholars, faculty members, authors, filmmakers and other professionals:
- Northern California Environmental Justice Network of Community-Academic Partnerships— Signed by over 70 affiliates from Stanford University, San Jose State University, Santa Clara University, the University of San Francisco, UC Berkeley, UC Santa Cruz, UC Davis, and others.
6/9/2020 letter, 7 pages— [view PDF]
"We share the serious concerns of the Amah Mutsun about the proposed permit, and several of our collaborators are working with the Amah Mutsun on protecting Juristac from destruction by mining as a key environmental justice issue. In this context, we urge the County of Santa Clara to deny approval of permits for the proposed sites, and to support the efforts of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band to preserve the Juristac/Sargent Ranch lands in perpetuity as a site of significant cultural, spiritual, and ecological significance. "
- University of San Francisco faculty— Adrienne Johnson, PhD, David Silver, Calla Schmidt, Maggie Winslow, Vijaya Nagarajan, Dana Zartner, JD, PhD, Stephanie Siehr, Stephen Zavestoski, Melinda Stone, Ph.D., Carol Spector (Librarian), Brian Dowd-Uribe
11/5/2018 letter, 3 pages— [view PDF]
"Given the minimal economic potential of this mining project, the irreparable damage such an undertaking would cause to the landscape, and the impact this would have on the Amah Mutsun peoples’ historical, cultural, and spiritual connections to this land, we respectfully urge you to deny approval for the quarry."
- 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."
- 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."
- 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."
- Santa Clara University faculty, staff, students & affiliates— Signed by 369 affiliates: Maria Eugenia Flores Gomez, Chad Raphael, Chris Bacon, Ed Maurer, Tseming Yang, Iris Stewart-Frey, Zsea Bowmani, et al.
6/30/2020 letter, 20 pages— [view PDF]
"We are writing to express our strongest opposition to the application for a mining permit for Juristac/Sargent Ranch, located south of Gilroy…In our Jesuit tradition, we are called to protect the environment as God’s Creation, including its biodiversity and water resources, from irreparable harm. The proposed mining operation, planned as a 320-acre open pit sand and gravel mine, with overburden piles, roads, and processing facilities, represents such irreparable harm…Shorter-term economic gain will in no way compensate for losses of these natural resources."
- Gavilan College— signed by Gavilan College Anthropology Program, Child Development and Educational Studies, English Department, Social Sciences Department, and 10 individual instructors
12/30/2020 letter, 2 pages— [view PDF]
"As employees and students at Gavilan College who live and work in close proximity to Juristac, we find this particular project to be of great concern…As contemporary occupants of Ohlone territory, we are committed to fostering civic engagement and equity. Thus, we support the preservation of sites–such as Juristac–that are deemed indispensable by the historically marginalized members of the greater Bay Area."
- California Institute of Integral Studies— Judie Wexler, President, Elizabeth Allison, PhD, Michelle Glowa, PhD, Targol Mesbah, PhD, Alka Arora, PhD, Craig Chalquist, PhD, Jocelyn Chapman, PhD, Annette Williams, PhD, Sean Kelly, PhD, and 18 others.
4/24/2020 letter, 3 pages— [view PDF]
"Spiritual ceremonies and dances have been conducted in this area for millennia, imbuing the landscape with power and sanctity. In a just and inclusive society, it is essential to respect diverse values and traditions. Just as it would be offensive to destroy a church to make way for a gravel mine, it would be equally offensive to destroy this sacred site for an open-pit mine."
- Dana Zartner, JD, Ph.D., School of Law, University of San Francisco
11/10/2019 Memorandum on International and Comparative Law Support for the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band’s Request for a Ban on Sand and Gravel Mining at Juristac, 28 pages— [ view PDF ]
"International law supports the necessity of considering the impacts on the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band of granting these mining concessions, even though the Tribal Band does not own or reside on the land in question, and is not asking to own or reside on the land. International legal principles recognizing rights to culture, rights to spiritual practice, rights to self-determination, and rights to free, prior and informed consent all apply to situations such as these whether or not the land is owned or occupied by the indigenous peoples."
See also: Justice for Juristac: Using International and Comparative Law to Protect Indigenous Lands (article in the Santa Clara Journal of International Law, 2020)
- 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. "
- Leonard & Nancy Becker, Sacred Sites International Foundation
7/18/2019 letter, 1 page [ view PDF ]
"We are writing because we have the highest level of concern about a proposed gravel mining development on the land known as the Sargent Ranch. We strongly oppose the destruction of this pristine sacred land for a project of minimal economic gain because this is the ancestral sacred landscape called Juristac by the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band."
- 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."
- 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."
- 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."
- Kaitlin Ruppert, Registered Professional Archaeologist (NEW)
1/18/2022 letter / 4 pages [ view PDF ]
"…I have been to numerous sacred sites worldwide. There is something profound and humbling when entering such sacred locations. You can feel the love and devotion of those who hold these locations close to their hearts…Imagine someone wanting to destroy these sacred locations to build an open-pit sand and gravel mine for a profit. Imagine someone wanting to tear down Notre Dame Cathedral in order mine the resources which are beneath her foundation for money. Can you imagine the despair all those who worship at Notre Dame Cathedral would suffer from hearing that someone wants to demolish their sacred site for financial gain?"
- Rewa Bush, Santa Cruz-based environmental educator
2/10/2020 letter / 2 pages [ view PDF ]
"The construction of a gravel mine at Juristac would be a decisive blow to the continuity of Mutsun culture and curtail their ability to perform the rituals and ceremonies necessary for the functioning of their cosmology and community wellbeing. We cannot stand by and allow this to happen to members of our community."
- 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 student governments and faculty senates:
- Stanford University Undergraduate Senate
2/25/2020 resolution, 2 pages [ view PDF ]
"The Undergraduate Senate supports the efforts of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band to preserve Sargent Ranch/Juristac as open space in perpetuity and to regain access to their cultural and spiritual sites at Juristac…and urges the County of Santa Clara to deny the permits for the proposed Sargent Quarry Project."
- Associated Students of Foothill College
1/21/2021 resolution, 2 pages [ view PDF ]
2/2021 update: Also adopted by Foothill College’s Classified Senate [ view PDF ]
"The Associated Students of Foothill College urge the County of Santa Clara to deny the permits and proposal for the Sargent Quarry Project."
- De Anza College Student Government
3/1/2021 resolution, 2 pages [ view PDF ]
"The De Anza Student Government supports the efforts of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band to preserve Sargent Ranch/Juristac as open space in perpetuity and to regain access to their cultural and spiritual sites at Juristac…[and] call upon the De Anza College Academic Senate, De Anza College Classified Senate, and Foothill-De Anza Community College District Board of Trustees to publicly support the aforementioned;"
- UC Santa Cruz Undergraduate Student Union Assembly
3/2/2021 resolution, 2 pages [ view PDF ]
"The Undergraduate Student Union Assembly urges the County of Santa Clara to deny the permits for the proposed Sargent Quarry Project…[and] urges the University of California Santa Cruz to support these efforts by the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band."
- Evergreen Valley College Academic Senate (NEW)
11/2/2021 resolution, 2 pages [ view PDF ]
"The Academic Senate at Evergreen Valley College urges the County of Santa Clara to deny the approval of permits for the proposed Sargent Quarry Project"
- San Jose City College Academic Senate (NEW)
11/16/2021 resolution, 2 pages [ view PDF ]
"The Academic Senate at San Jose City College supports the efforts of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band to preserve Sargent Ranch/Juristac as open space in perpetuity and to regain access to their cultural and spiritual sites at Juristac […] and call upon other college constituency groups, and the SJECCD Board of Trustees to publicly support the aforementioned."
Letters from faith communities:
- Interfaith Clergy Alliance of South County—
Imam Ilyas Anwar, South Valley Islamic Community
Rev. Father Robert S. Brocato, St. Mary Catholic Church, Gilroy
Rev. Jan Bernstein Chargin, South Valley Unitarian Fellowship
Rev. Philip R. Cooke, St. John the Divine Episcopal Church of Morgan Hill
Rev. Patric E. Davis, Morgan Hill and Gilroy United Methodist Church
Msgr. Jeronimo Gutierrez, St. Catherine Catholic Church of Morgan Hill
Rev. Ronald E. Koch, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church of Gilroy
Bishop Chris Jensen and Bishop David Faulk, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Morgan Hill
Rabbi Debbie Israel, Congregation Emeth, South Valley Jewish Community
Rev. Father Jose Antonio Rubio, St. Mary Catholic Church of Gilroy
Rev. Frank Riley, Morgan Hill Presbyterian Church
Rev. Anita Warner, Advent Lutheran Church of Morgan Hill
Rev. Bill Wilson, Senior Minister, Gavilan Hills Unity Church of Gilroy
Pandit Ganesh Shasthry, Silicon Valley Hindu Temple San Jose/San Martin
Piya Sodsrimibool, Dhammakaya Meditation Center, Morgan Hill
10/2018 letter, 1 page— [view PDF]
"It is our hope and expectation that you will honor ethical and legal mandates and work directly and collaboratively with the Amah Mutsun to find ways to preserve the Juristac sacred site on the Sargent Ranch."
- Starr King Unitarian Universalist Church of Hayward, CA
Rev. Dr. Maria Cristina Vlassidis Burgoa, Minister
10/2/2020 letter, 2 pages [ view PDF ]
"As Unitarian Universalists, we understand that we are all stewards of our Mother Earth and we affirm and uphold the principle of the interconnected web of Life. As such, we understand that we preserve ourselves by preserving the land, by preserving sacred places, and by preserving long-threatened cultures — and that it is our moral responsibility to do so. "
- Temple Beth El of Aptos
Rabbi Paula Marcus
4/5/2021 letter, 1 page [ view PDF ]
"Juristac, the name given to these lands by the Indigenous people, represents a place of healing, ceremony and ancestral memory for a people who have suffered genocide and forced cultural assimilation. Desecration of these lands for a mining operation would perpetuate the historical injustices experienced by these people…As Jews we also understand how sacred sites help to define and sustain a people—their connection to their history, their cultural heritage and to one another."
- First Unitarian Church of San Jose
9/19/2019 board resolution, 1 page (+3 page attachment) [ view PDF ]
"The First Unitarian Church of San Jose supports the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band in opposing a sand and gravel mining and processing operation on the Amah Mutsun sacred grounds of Juristac in the drainage of Sargent Creek and the Pajaro River…[and] we encourage our fellow congregants to urge their district Supervisors to vote against this permit."
- 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."
- Sunnyvale Presbyterian Church (NEW)
2/17/2022 letter, 1 page [ view PDF ]
"As Presbyterians and people of faith, we understand that we are all stewards of Creation, responsible for the care of the land and preservation of sacred places…we stand with the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band in its effort to preserve this sacred site, which is integral to sustaining the sacred cultural heritage of the Amah Mutsun. We believe that Amah Mutsun spirituality is worthy of the same sacred respect provided to other religious and spiritual spaces in our County."
- Urban Sanctuary of San Jose
12/6/2020 letter, 1 page [ view PDF ]
"We, the Board Members of Urban Sanctuary of San Jose, have agreed unanimously to oppose the proposed sand and gravel quarry at Sargent Ranch (Juristac.)"
- Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Sunnyvale
5/23/2021 letter, 2 pages [ view PDF ]
"Reintroducing traditional resource and environmental management as practiced before the arrival of Europeans would benefit us all. The Amah Mutsun deserve the right to reclaim their cultural traditions and practice their religious ceremonies, for which the land at Juristac was central. There is every reason to return these forests and mountains to those who cared for them for thousands of years, and for us to learn from their expertise. We urge you to see that this land is not developed, but preserved."
- Presbytery of San Jose Peace and Justice Working Group (NEW)
1/20/2022 letter, 2 pages [ view PDF ]
"The Peace and Justice Working Group of San Jose Presbytery stands in solidarity with the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band and encourages you to reject the application for this project. Instead, we make a plea to protect and preserve Juristac, their sacred site, and recognize that Amah Mutsun spirituality is worthy of the same sacred respect offered to other religious and spiritual spaces in our county."
- 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."
- 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."
Letters from local organizations:
- Gilroy Historical Society— Connie Rogers, President
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."
- Morgan Hill Historical Society
2/24/2020 letter, 2 pages [ view PDF ]
"By denying the proposed Sargent Quarry development, the Board of Supervisors has the opportunity to take positive steps for healing past wrongs…We need to listen and come alongside the descendants of the First Peoples of California and protect this sacred site, their ancestral home."
- Ecological Farming Association (EcoFarm) (NEW)
12/16/2021 letter, 1 page [ view PDF ]
"We recognize the key role of Indigenous communities in building sustainable, just, and healthy food systems, as well as acting as stewards of the land…As the earliest caretakers of Juristac and holders of invaluable traditional ecological knowledge, the Mutsun people are in the best position to conserve and protect these lands for the benefit of all."
- Assyrian Democrats of the Bay Area
12/7/2021 resolution, adopted unanimously— 2 pages [ view PDF ]
"The Assyrian Democrats of the Bay Area—as a voice of Progressives and Democrats in the Assyrian American community—supports the efforts by the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band to protect their most sacred ceremonial site, Juristac, to restore their culture, and to recover from their historic trauma. Denying Sargent Ranch Management Company the permits necessary to operate its proposed quarry will also have wider implications internationally making it known that preservation of cultural, spiritual and historical sites do matter."
- South County Democratic Club (of Santa Clara County)
1/25/2020 resolution, adopted unanimously— 1 page [ view PDF ]
"The South County Democratic Club supports the efforts of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band to preserve the portion of Juristac known as Sargent Ranch in its entirety as an open space and to regain access to their cultural and spiritual sites."
- Sunnyvale Democratic Club (of Santa Clara County)
1/20/2021 letter from Executive Board, 2 pages [ view PDF ]
"The Sunnyvale Democratic Club stands with the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band and its supporters, including environmental and community organizations, elected officials, and other civic leaders, in urging you to protect and preserve Mutsun cultural heritage by rejecting the proposed Sargent Quarry Project."
- Democratic Club of North Santa Cruz County (NEW)
5/10/2022 resolution, 1 page [ view PDF ]
"The Democratic Club of North Santa Cruz County passes this resolution in support of the efforts being led by the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band to protect its most sacred ceremonial site, Juristac."
- The Red Nation – California Freedom Council
2/8/2021 letter, 2 pages [ view PDF ]
"This is an opportunity for Santa Clara County leadership to stand with not only its Indigenous citizens, but with any citizen who hopes for a more sustainable future, a future that next generations will be proud of. By protecting Juristac and rejecting the proposed Sargent Quarry Project, you have the power to begin this necessary journey towards justice for all people."
- California Indian Environmental Alliance— Sherri Norris, Director
10/18/2019 letter, 5 pages [ view PDF ]
"We recommend that Santa Clara County deny the Sargent Ranch/Juristac mining proposal. It is clear that the proposed project impacts will be calamitous and will forever alter the sacred lands of the Amah Mutsun people."
- Center for Biological Diversity
2/7/2020 letter to City of Santa Cruz, 2 pages [ view PDF ]
"…Juristac provides hope. The area provides crucial connectivity for wildlife movement between the Santa Cruz Mountains and the Diablo Range. We can’t allow further habitat loss and fragmentation in this important linkage. We must preserve California’s unique habitats, animals, and plants while respecting the historical and spiritual significance of places like Juristac."
- Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) at Sacred Heart
11/29/2021 letter, 1 page [ view PDF ]
"This project not only would have a devastating and irreversible impact on the land and waterways, it also continues to commit harm to the sovereignty and cultural practices of the Amah Mutsun…We oppose any projects that would compromise any of the Tribal Band’s cultural and sacred sites."
- Silicon Valley Democratic Socialists of America
3/24/2019 resolution, 2 pages [ view resolution online ]
"In the spirit of ecosocialism, we stand in solidarity with Amah Mutsun efforts to challenge the pattern of profit-centered, exploitative, ecologically devastating economic “development” that has dominated the local region for over two centuries. The involvement of Indigenous ecological knowledge and holistic ethics is necessary on a global scale to help counterbalance market-driven interests that threaten the environment."
- Livable Sunnyvale
3/17/2021 letter, 2 pages [ view PDF ]
"Livable Sunnyvale stands with the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band and its supporters, including environmental and community organizations, elected officials, and other civic leaders, in urging you to protect and preserve Mutsun cultural heritage by rejecting the proposed Sargent Quarry Project."
- 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."
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."
Tips for letters and resolutions of support:
Letters and resolutions of support send a clear message to Santa Clara County decisionmakers that the public overwhelmingly opposes the proposed mining project at Juristac. This broad community support from across the social and political spectrum is essential to our collective efforts to ensure that the county supervisors vote to deny the mining project when the decision comes before them.
The Amah Mutsun Tribal Band is profoundly grateful for the outpouring of support and solidarity that we have witnessed to date. To be successful at protecting the sacred grounds of Juristac, our numbers must continue to grow, and our voices must grow stronger.
Outreach & inform— What organizations, institutions, clubs or businesses are you connected with that may be interested in passing a resolution or writing a letter in support of protecting Juristac? Could you offer an informational presentation about Juristac and the Amah Mutsun for the board, council, senate or club?
Draft a letter or resolution— In drafting a resolution or letter, you can draw language from the many eloquent example letters and resolutions linked to above. Feel free to also contact us at [email@example.com] for assistance or more resources in support of your efforts to pass a resolution.
Send it off— Address your email or resolution cover letter to the Santa Clara County Supervisors and Planning Commission, asking them to deny approval of the Sargent Quarry Project, preserve Juristac, and recognize that Mutsun spirituality is equal to other religions of the world. Please also CC us or send a copy of your letter or email to [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Get the word out— After getting a resolution adopted, or sending a letter to the County, be sure to spread the word about the action you’ve taken! For instance, you could post a photo of the letter or resolution on social media accounts, or send an announcement out to your organization’s email list, including a link to the Protect Juristac petition.
Follow up— Consider next steps. Would you be interested in organizing an educational event regarding Juristac, and inviting an Amah Mutsun tribal member to speak at it? Would your organization be interested in working in coalition with the Amah Mutsun and other groups to protect Juristac? Are there places you could put up Protect Juristac yard signs, business signs, magnetic car signs, stickers, or a banner? Request these materials by emailing [email@example.com].