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News Release

Amah Mutsun Tribal Band

On Saturday, September 10th the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band will join forces with hundreds of members of the public and representatives of 60 co-sponsoring organizations, calling on Santa Clara County to protect the sacred Native American site of Juristac by denying permits for the proposed Sargent Ranch Quarry.

A petition with over 20,000 signatures will be presented at the Rally, along with a statement of opposition to the quarry signed by over 100 elected officials, prominent individuals and organizations. A list of Rally speakers will be posted next week on the Rally for Juristac webpage.

WHEN: 

Saturday, September 10th, 2022, 1:00–4:00 p.m. (Speakers 1:30-3 p.m.)

WHERE: 

McEntee Plaza in front of Santa Clara County Government Building:
70 W Hedding St, San Jose, CA 95110

WHAT: 

Large public rally co-sponsored by 60 organizations. Dozens of speakers will include elected leaders, Indigenous leaders and elders, scholars, reps from environmental, human rights and faith organizations. Traditional Native American ceremonial singers from the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band will offer songs.

SCHEDULE:

1:00 p.m.–4:00 p.m. Rally at McEntee Plaza

1:30 p.m.–3:00 p.m. Program of speakers and tribal singers on main stage

The Amah Mutsun Tribal Band will join forces with hundreds of members of the public and representatives of 60 co-sponsoring organizations at the Rally for Juristac on Saturday, September 10; calling on Santa Clara County to protect the sacred Native American site of Juristac by denying permits for the proposed Sargent Ranch Quarry.

The Amah Mutsun Tribal Band will join forces with hundreds of members of the public and representatives of 60 co-sponsoring organizations at the Rally for Juristac on Saturday, September 10; calling on Santa Clara County to protect the sacred Native American site of Juristac by denying permits for the proposed Sargent Ranch Quarry.

Rally for Juristac CO-SPONSORS

★ ACLU of Northern California

★ Amah Mutsun Land Trust

★ American Indian Movement West

★ Anakbayan San Jose

★ California Native Plant Society, Santa Clara Valley Chapter

★ Center for Biological Diversity

★ Community Agency for Resources, Advocacy and Services (CARAS)

★ Earthworks Action

★ Extinction Rebellion SF Bay Area

★ First Unitarian Church of San Jose

★ Friends of Juristac

★ Green Foothills

★ Greenbelt Alliance

★ Human Agenda

★ Indian Health Center of Santa Clara Valley

★ Interfaith Clergy Alliance of South County

★ International Indian Treaty Council

★ International Indigenous Youth Council

★ Jewish Voice for Peace South Bay

★ Jews on Ohlone Land

★ Movimiento de Accion, Inspirando Servicio

★ Malaya South Bay

★ Mothers Out Front Silicon Valley

★ NAACP Santa Cruz

★ Nihonmachi Outreach Committee of San Jose

★ Northern California Environmental Justice Network

★ Novasutras

★ Orchard City Indivisible

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★ People Acting in Community Together

★ Peninsula Peace and Justice Center

★ Pie Ranch

★ Raging Grannies Action League

★ Regeneración – Pajaro Valley Climate Action

★ Resource Center for Nonviolence

★ San Jose Peace and Justice Center

★ San Jose Presbytery Peace & Justice Working Group

★ San Jose Strong

★ San José Unified Equity Coalition

★ Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society

★ Santa Cruz Climate Justice

★ SEIU Local 521

★ Sierra Club Loma Prieta Chapter

★ Silicon Valley De-Bug

★ Silicon Valley Democratic Socialists of America

★ Santa Cruz Democratic Socialists of America

★ Somos Mayfair

★ South Bay Indigenous Solidarity

★ South Bay Progressive Alliance

★ Starr King Unitarian Universalist Church of Hayward

★ Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) @ Sacred Heart

★ Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) Santa Cruz County

★ Sunrise Movement Silicon Valley

★ Sustainable Silicon Valley

★ tUrn Climate Crisis Awareness & Action

★ UCSC American Indian Resource Center

★ Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Sunnyvale

★ Unity with Nature Committee, Pacific Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends

★ Urban Sanctuary of San Jose

★ UU Church of Monterey Peninsula Social Justice Committee

★ Veterans for Peace Chapter 101

BACKGROUND: 

Juristac (“Place of the Big Head” in Mutsun language) is the heart of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band’s ancestral homeland, near Gilroy, California. For thousands of years, the Amah Mutsun lived and held their most sacred ceremonies at Juristac.

Today, much of the Juristac Tribal Cultural Landscape is contained within the scenic Sargent Ranch property. A San Diego-based investor group applied to Santa Clara County for permits to establish a 403-acre sand and gravel mining operation on the property, with three open-pit quarry sites up to 250 feet deep, a 62-acre processing plant, and a 1.6-mile long conveyor belt.

On July 22nd, Santa Clara County released a 650-page Draft Environmental Impact Report examining detrimental impacts the mine at Juristac would have on the environment and cultural resources. A 60-day public comment period is open now and ends on September 26th, offering the public an opportunity to review and submit written remarks on the Draft Environmental Impact Report.

The Draft Environmental Impact Report identified multiple significant and unavoidable harmful impacts that would result from the proposed mining project, including impacts pertaining to biological resources, air quality, traffic and tribal cultural resources (sacred sites) determined eligible for listing on the California Register of Historical Resources.

The Amah Mutsun Tribal Band has steadfastly opposed the planned mine at Juristac since 2016, calling for public support and joining in coalition with a wide range of organizations. The proposed mine at Juristac/Sargent Ranch would destroy scenic grassland and oak woodland habitats and disrupt a critical landscape linkage for regional wildlife.

The Santa Clara County Human Rights Commission, California Democratic Party and ACLU of Northern California are among a long list of organizations and institutions that have authored letters or passed resolutions opposing the planned mine at Juristac. Over 20,000 members of the public have signed the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band’s petition to protect Juristac, when the online and handwritten petition signature count is combined. The City Councils of Morgan Hill, Gilroy, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, and Sunnyvale have each unanimously moved to oppose mining at Juristac/Sargent Ranch.

“Juristac is the heart of Amah Mutsun spirituality and culture, and an open-pit sand and gravel mine would forever desecrate this sacred place,” said Valentin Lopez, Chairman of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band. “This mining project represents a continuation of the destruction and domination that our Amah Mutsun people have suffered for generations. The cultural survival of our tribe is at stake.”

The Amah Mutsun Tribal Band and many allied organizations are engaging in widespread community mobilization efforts during the comment period, culminating in the Rally for Juristac in front of the County Administration building in San Jose.

About the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band

The Amah Mutsun Tribal Band is comprised of descendants of the Indigenous peoples taken to the missions at San Juan Bautista and Santa Cruz during Spanish colonization of California’s Central Coast. The traditional territory of the Amah Mutsun encompasses all or portions of the modern counties of San Benito, Santa Clara, Monterey and Santa Cruz. Today’s tribe represents the surviving descendant families of 20 distinct historic tribal groups, and currently has an enrolled membership of nearly 600 people. 

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