Tag Archive | "Hearthside"

Native Americans Are Not Artifacts, City Council Told


Ruben Aguirre, member of Tongva Nation and a descendant of the original occupiers of the Bolsa Chica upper mesa, told the Huntington Beach city council what he thought of the record of California Coastal Homes (previously known as Hearthside), the developer that  won city council approval to build 22 homes on a 5 acre parcel, one of the last two remaining spots of undeveloped but sacred Native American land located on the mesa, part of the Bolsa Chica wetlands ecosystem located in the city near Warner Avenue and Pacific Coast Highway.

Digging for artifacts on the Bolsa Chica mesa

Digging for artifacts on the Bolsa Chica upper mesa in 2001. Photo: Scientific Resource Surveys

The public hearing attracted hundreds of opponents and council members received 664 communications regarding the project, at least the vast majority of which were opposed. Nobody spoke in favor of the project at the except city staff, the developer and the city council majority of 5, who voted for the project. The vote included changing the parcel’s 26-year-old open space-park zoning designation to residential and exempting the developer from completing a rigorous Environmental Impact Report, which opponents say is required under state law.

The Surf City Voice will being reporting on this story periodically.

Ruben Aguirre’s comments are printed below and his city council presentation can be seen and heard in the video.

“I am here for my ancestors. That’s why I’m here. This gentleman, developer, you know him by name now, he had our ancestors prisoners for I forget how many years, in trailers and boxes. Now, I think any of you that would have your ancestors in boxes or in trailers, stored as artifacts, you would not stand for. When it comes to greed and money, that’s all they worry about, these developers. You as a council have the right, and you know in your hearts if it’s right or wrong, when there’s development or anything you have to do to take care of our wetlands, all the open space out there. I go over there and I pray, constantly. I am waiting for one of them to come and tell me I can’t pray there. I would like to see that for them to stop me from praying. That’s our sacred place, sacred land for all Native Americans that can come there. And its cogstones and its burials.  Where’s all these things? Where are they? Who has all of them? Where are they? Who has them? What right do they have? Because they found them or because this archaeologist, these grave robbers, grave diggers—and I will say it right out and I will say it in front of them: that’s what they are. And to make excuses, or this developer pays their own archaeologist, so they’re going to lie. You know, they keep on digging and bringing out remains, funerary objects; but it’s all artifacts, so they take them to museums, like I say, they put them away, you know? We are not artifacts. Native Americans are not artifacts. We are human beings just like everyone else here.”

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Free the Bolsa Chica Mesa Now? Not likely, but there’s always ‘purposeful grading’


By John Earl
Surf City Voice

The upper Bolsa Chica mesa’s mile-long ridge demonstrates the mixed grandeur of the Surf City region with a wide view of the Santa Ana river basin below, where the largest wetlands restoration project in California is locked between urban sprawl and the Pacific Ocean.

The mesa has changed a lot since its first human settlers arrived over 9,000 years ago to create the Acjahemen Nation. Soon, it will change again by the hands of a more powerful, corporate, nation.

Parts of the mesa have revealed some of the most important archaeological discoveries made in America. More discoveries are sure to come, archeologists say, but their exact locations and how to best preserve them are in dispute. Buried somewhere on its northeast corner, in the area of two undeveloped side by side lots, are the only remaining accessible human records of its mysterious past.

To many Native Americans, the entire area is a holy site that should be left alone out of respect for their ancestors. “That whole area was a major village [with] a high concentration of everyday life activity,” Tongva tribal leader Anthony Morales told the Voice in 2008.

The Tongva are the descendants of the second wave of human inhabitants of the Bolsa Chica mesa. They started arriving between 2,000 and 3,500 years ago. The Ajachemen and Tongva consider the site to be very spiritual and sacred.

Native Americans protest Brightwater on the upper Bolsa Chica mesa. Photo: Surf City Voice

For California Coastal Communities, the bankrupt but legal owner of one of the lots and the representative for the owner of the other (both lots are located on the SE corner of Bosla Chica Rd. and Los Patos Ave.), development of the corner may provide some of the financial salvation, if not the spiritual or scientific enlightenment, that it needs. Read the full story

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Joe Carchio on the Ridge: ‘I think maybe it should remain sensitive.’


Joe Carchio, interviewed by the Surf City Voice on May 4, 2010.

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