California Cultural Issues
Mati Waiya, founder and Executive Director of the Wishtoyo Foundation, has been working with state legislators and other officials on topics involving cultural heritage and sacred sites preservation issues in the state of California.
He was invited to participate on Governor Schwarzenegger's Environmental Transition Team, contributing to future policy plans for cultural resource preservation in the state. Mr. Waiya appeared before the Senate at the Confirmation hearing for for Cal. EPA Secretary Terry Tamminen, and performed the blessing for the Governor's 2007 Inaugural ceremony in January.
Angela Mooney-D'Arcy is Wishtoyo's Director of Cultural Resource Programs, overseeing a multitude of concerns involving preservation of sacred sites. She teaches courses through U.C.L.A. on tribal lands preservation issues and has formed a Tribal Internship Programs, which focuses on cultural lands issues, creation of a California Indian's Cultural Protection Guidebook, prepared research papers on cultural issues and continues to investigate current events that impact the sacred lands of California's Native peoples.
Cultural Preservation Updates:
California's Tribal Water Summit - Updated March 2007
In December, Angela Mooney D’Arcy found out about the first ever California Tribal River Summit, and thought it would be a great opportunity to introduce Wishtoyo’s programs to Native American communities across the state, especially our efforts to establish a Tribal Water Alliance in California. The Tribal River Summit was generously hosted by the Wiyot Tribe, whose territory in northern California extends from Little River down the coast to Bear River and inland to the first set of mountains.
The summit was educational and inspirational. Its purpose was threefold: to initiate a conversation among tribal representatives from across the state about water issues as they impact tribal communities, to create a resolution to submit to the National Congress of American Indians entitled “Protecting and Restoring Tribal Rivers,” and to be a stepping-stone for future California Tribal Water Summits in California .
One segment was an opportunity for participants to meet one another and display information about their tribes’ and organization’s projects. Wishtoyo displayed information on our Malibu Nicholas Canyon Stream Restoration and Chumash Demonstration Village , the Calleguas Creek Water Monitoring Program, the Santa Clara River , Tribal Marine Protected Areas, the Ventura Coastkeeper Program, and the Native American Legal Internship Program (see below). The Tribal MPA White Paper and the Native American Legal Internship Program materials were of high interest and the first to run out.
The Tribal River Summit was so inspiring that Wishtoyo, through its newly developing Tribal Water Alliance, will host a second Tribal Water Summit at Nicholas Canyon later this year. Details coming soon!
Santa Clara River - Updated January 2007
The Santa Clara River is one of the most important river systems in the state, and with almost 1,600 square miles it is the longest free-flowing river in Southern California, traversing through the ancestral lands of the Tataviam, Chumash and Serrano peoples, rich with the cultural and archaeological histories. Reburials and naming and healing ceremonies are still conducted along the river and three traditional cultural sites listed on the Sacred Lands Inventory maintained by the Native American Heritage Commission are located within one or two miles of the river.
The watershed is home to over four hundred known archaeological sites and is facing severe threat from illegal dumping from development projects being approved without due consideration to the ecological and cultural cumulative impacts to the river. These include unlawful discharge of construction waste, agricultural waste, debris and trash.
Angela Mooney-D’Arcy has been working with a coalition of groups to protect the Santa Clara River through community organizing, coalition- building with tribes, litigation and outreach to the international Indigenous community.
Forge Lodge - Updated June 2006
The Wishtoyo Foundation received notice of a proposed development in the city of Malibu that, if approved, would likely impact Chumash cultural resources and possibly disturb Ancestors. The proposal would have allowed owners of an upscale Malibu restaurant to build a small hotel on a currently undeveloped portion of the lot.
Angela Mooney-D’Arcy testified at the California Coastal Commission hearing in June 2005, successfully advocating to postpone a vote on the project until the next hearing in August 2005. One Commissioner stated she would not approve the proposed project unless a government- to-government relationship had been established in a respectful manner with the Chumash tribe and appropriate consultation had taken place. The Coastal Commission ultimately voted unanimously, 10-0, to deny the required permit.
This was a major victory for all California Indian coastal peoples because they will be able to cite to the Commissioner’s language from both of the transcribed public hearings to support future cultural resource protection and tribal consultation efforts within the coastal zones of California .
Indigenous Cultural Resource Protection in California - Updated June 2006
In collaboration with the Tribal Learning and Community Educational Exchange Program at UCLA, Angela is co-teaching a graduate and undergraduate course on cultural resource protection in the American Indian Studies Department at the university. Students learn about cultural resource protection struggles faced by California tribes and legal and community organizing tools available in the fight to protect Indigenous sacred sites, burial grounds and cultural property.
California Indian government officials, nonprofit directors, state and local government representatives, Native American grassroots organizers and others speak to the students about current issues in cultural resource protection at the tribal, international, national and state levels.
By combining readings, presentations on applicable laws and guest speakers, this course is able to provide the students with a holistic view of Indigenous cultural resource protection in California.
Legal Internship Program - Updated June 2006
As part of Wishtoyo’s commitment to empowering Native youth on cultural resource protection issues, we have created the Native American Legal Internship Program. The purpose of this program is to assist Native American law students in environmental and cultural resource protection legal education through hands-on experience working on Wishtoyo’s many cultural and environmental resource projects.
Wishtoyo has hosted interns from the Dine, Cowlitz, Cherokee, Chippewa, and Acjachemen tribal nations over the past three years, and through their passion, legal writing and research skills and enthusiasm they have helped to create a comprehensive approach to cultural resource protection in California .
Ms. Mooney-D’Arcy acts as project coordinator and intern supervisor for the program. In this capacity she has assisted potential summer interns with development of fellowship, grant and other funding applications, created detailed project descriptions and timelines for the students, provided written comments and other guidance on student papers and arranged site visits for the interns to present on their projects directly to Wishtoyo Foundation’s Executive Director.
Projects undertaken through the internship program include: Drafting cultural resource comments on the proposed Riverpark development project, researching potential causes of action against the city of Malibu regarding the city’s failure to comply with cultural resource laws, analyzing proposed cultural resource legislation, creation of white papers on the Native American Heritage Commission and the California Historical Resource Information System, and Land Trusts and general sacred site advocacy.
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