Spring 2018 Newsletter
AN INTRODUCTION FROM CHAIRMAN VALENTIN LOPEZ
A lot has happened since our fall newsletter was published. On December 13th, 2017, our AMLT signed a Cultural Easement agreement with Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District for the 36-acre top of Mount Umunhum. This easement grants to our Tribe permanent rights to help steward the mountain top for natural resource conservation, cultural relearning and public education.
It is the goal of our AMLT to develop a native garden on Mount Umunhum and to share with the public the traditional land stewardship practices that our ancestors applied to our territory for thousands of years. We also plan to hold ceremonies on Mount Umunhum. Some of these ceremonies will be open to the public and others will be closed. We will announce the dates of the open ceremonies on our website and we hope you will attend.
This summer we have at least twelve weeks of stewardship work planned with our Naive Stewardship Corps. We are also planning to increase the number of tribal stewards from eight to fifteen. Some of these hires will be student interns. These interns will be Amah Mutsun Tribal members who are either junior or seniors in high school or college/university students. The interns will work varying amounts of time depending on their summer breaks. We’re excited about our internship program. These interns will experience working on the land, participating in ceremonies, spending time with other tribal members, and learning our tribal history, culture, and environments. It is our hope that these interns will return after they graduate and become active members and leaders within our Tribe. Most of the stewards' work this summer will be at the Quiroste Valley Cultural Preserve, where they’ll begin fuel reduction work and help restore coastal prairies to their pre-contact condition.
On April 19th, I attended the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues as a delegate of the American Indian Movement – West. I spoke regarding our Tribe’s efforts to protect our most sacred site, Juristac, from a proposed sand and gravel mining project; you can watch the video here. I spoke of how our Tribe experienced three brutal periods of colonization, including the Mission/Spanish period, the Mexican period and the California/American periods. These periods included genocide, slavery, brutality, forced religious conversion, rape and much more. I said that our Tribe does not ask for, nor do we expect, an apology. Rather, what we ask is for all people to help dismantle the systems of oppression that the colonizers built and that governments and institutions maintain and benefit from today.
In my speech I specifically asked Santa Clara County to deny the mining permit for Juristac. You can learn more of our Protect Juristac campaign by visiting our website, signing and sharing our petition, and attending the public events that will start soon. The vast majority of our sacred and cultural sites have been destroyed. Our Tribe knows that we must fight to protect our sites or there will be no sites left. We will not allow our ancestors to be ignored, forgotten or erased from history.
Finally, we are happy and honored to announce that both Steve Abbors and Tribal Member Abran Lopez are the two newest additions to our AMLT Board of Directors. Steve recently retired as the General Manager of Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District and Abran Lopez has been a member of our AMLT Stewardship Corps for five years. We have no doubt that their addition to our Board will make our AMLT stronger and help us achieve our goals of returning to the path or our ancestors and fulfilling our obligation to take care of Mother Earth and all living things.
suruuruy yuu tumsan ak kannis, Prayers and blessing,