Fall 2018 Newsletter


UC Berkeley archaeologists Gabriel Sanchez (left) and Mike Grone (center) display a monkeyface prrickleback (Cebidichthys violaceus) to the Native Stewardship Corps. Photo courtesy Abran Lopez.

UC Berkeley archaeologists Gabriel Sanchez (left) and Mike Grone (center) display a monkeyface prrickleback (Cebidichthys violaceus) to the Native Stewardship Corps. Photo courtesy Abran Lopez.

Dear Friends,

For the past three years our Native Stewards have participated in two six-week summer field schools with UC Berkeley on the coast of Santa Cruz. One of the sites they worked on was approximately 7,500 years old. As part of this research, there were two graduate students who were studying how our ancestors stewarded and used ocean resources. Of particular interest to them were seaweed, sea mammals, shellfish and small fish such as sardines and herring. These two researches, Mike Grone and Gabriel Sanchez, are now finalizing their studies. Their research is critical to our Amah Mutsun Land Trust (AMLT) because not only did our ancestors actively stewards the lands within their territory, but they also stewarded the coastlines. The knowledge gained from this research will help AMLT restore our traditional understanding of marine environments and looking after the native species that Creator entrusted to our care.

In July, I attended a Strategic Coastal Planning and Organizing meeting for California Tribes at the Scripps Institute in San Diego. It is our goal to work with these tribes, and others, to share knowledge and to support each other’s efforts to help restore the coast of California.

With regard to another important initiative of our land trust, we are continuing our strong efforts to protect Juristac, one of the most sacred sites to the Amah Mutsun. In early 2017, our Tribe requested formal Tribal Consultation under AB 52, with Santa Clara County (SCC) regarding the mining permit application at Juristac, now known as Sargent Ranch. As part of this consultation process, our Tribe requested that a confidential ethnographic study be conducted to show the cultural and spiritual significance of Juristac to the Amah Mutsun. Although this study is not yet finalized, the draft report clearly shows the significance of Juristac. We believe the report provides the evidence needed for both the SCC Planning Commissioners and the Board of Supervisors to deny this mining permit request. We continue to ask for the public’s support in opposing the approval of this mining permit. To support our Tribe we ask that you sign our petition here and ask others to do the same. We will soon announce additional actions you can take to help us in our efforts.

The AMLT Native Stewardship Corps (NSC) continues to grow and expand. In addition to employing more stewards than ever before and increasing the number of weeks in the field, this year we established within the NSC an internship program for tribal youth. It is important for our Tribe’s long-term success that our youth know of the work of our AMLT while they are in school so they can work towards possible career opportunities with our Tribe. Our goal is to show them that no matter what their academic interests are, there will always be a place for them within AMLT. On most nights, during our work periods, we would have an after-dinner talking circle around a fire and talk about Mutsun history, culture, spirituality and historic trauma. Most importantly, we talked about our vision for the future of our Nation and our land trust and how we hope our AMLT will allow our members to return to our territory so we can fulfill our sacred obligation to Creator to take care of Mother Earth and all living things. Returning to our traditional territory, re-establishing our relationship with the land, and understanding our past and our future is bringing tremendous healing to our members. Our generations of prayers are being answered and we continue to pray.

Finally, we’d like to thank all the people who have donated to our AMLT. It is your donations that allow the Amah Mutsun to protect and conserve our cultural sites, to conduct research to restore our indigenous knowledge, to educate the public on our past and our future, and to steward the lands of our traditional territory as our ancestors did for thousands of years. Please consider becoming a monthly donor to our Land Trust.