Friends of Puvungna, #ProtectPuvungna
On July 30th, the California Native American Heritage Commission (NAHC) will consider and could vote to conduct a formal investigation regarding actions by California State University Long Beach (CSULB) that are damaging and preventing access to the Sacred Site of Puvungna on the university campus. The California Native American Heritage Commission has the right and the responsibility to investigate the ongoing and proposed destruction of this Sacred Site and the impact that California State University Long Beach’s actions do and will have on the health of tribal peoples with a cultural and spiritual connection to it. The fact that California State University Long Beach and the California State University (CSU) are willfully ignoring the California Native American Heritage Commission’s 1993 determination and recommendation regarding the site presents an existential problem for Puvungna and for other sacred sites as well.
The Commission has determined that any digging, excavation, or grading would result in damage to the sacred/religious site. Therefore, the Commission recommends complete avoidance of the site as the appropriate and only acceptable mitigation measure. California Native American Heritage Commission, June 1993
We request that the California Native American Heritage Commission investigate the dumping, the ongoing abuse of ceremonial areas and the land/plants/ wildlife, and the denial of access, including fencing off of a portion of the site as a staging area for construction crews and efforts to restrict and/or charge fees for spiritual gatherings and onsite parking. These actions cannot be excused as mistakes, nor seen as isolated incidents in the past, as they are integral to California State University Long Beach’s collaboration with the campus Committee on Native American Burial Remains and Cultural Patrimony and famed architect John Paul Jones, to erase this sacred site and tribal cultural witness area by adding soils, parking, and multiple buildings and grading and digging out areas to create water storage and wetlands (see Jones’ Puvungna Master Plan, Phase 1).
Friends of Puvungna supports the lawsuit filed by the Juaneño Band of Mission Indians, Acjachemen Nation – Belardes and the California Cultural Resources Preservation Alliance to 1) address California State University Long Beach’s failure to consult with tribal councils having cultural ties to Puvungna as required by law, and 2) to compel the University to remove soils and construction debris illegally dumped on the site.
On July 18th, Friends of Puvungna gathered at the Bellflower Boulevard entrance to California State University Long Beach. Prayers, tribal dances, and songs were part of a rally to bring awareness of the crisis. Chants of Protect Puvungna! were met with honks of support from passing motorists. We encourage the press and the general public to contact the California Native American Heritage Commission and to attend the July 30th meeting.
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