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by Dan Bacher

The historic tribal
gathering at Stewarts Point (Danaka) on April 30 drew 145 people,
including members of the Kashia Pomo Tribe, members of other northern
California Indian Tribes, recreational anglers, seaweed harvesters and
environmental justice advocates. It was very moving to see everybody
there united in defense of indigenous food gathering and fishing rights.

This purpose of the event, hosted by landowner Archie
Richardson, was to bless an area where the Kashia Tribe of Pomo Indians
has gathered seaweed, mussel, abalone, clams and fish for centuries.
Danaka, an area that is sacred to the tribe, will close to all take of
seaweed, shellfish and fish the following day under new regulations
implemented through Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's Marine Life
Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative.

“We are here today to talk
about what the Fish and Game Commission is doing to us,” said tribal
elder Violet Chappell. “They’re interfering with our religion, the food
that we lived off before the white man came.”

The Fish and
Game Commission voted 3 to 2 in their meeting on August 5, 2009 to close
“Danaka,” in spite of moving testimony by Lester Pinola, past chairman
of the Kashia Tribe, to not close it because the tribe has used the area
for centuries.

Under Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's corrupt
and injust MLPA process, overseen by oil industry, real estate, marina
development and other corporate interests, the Kashia Pomo and other
tribes will be denied their right to harvest seaweed, shellfish and fish
off Danaka as they have done for thousands of years starting today, May

This is clearly a case of cultural genocide under the
guise of marine "protection" under the MLPA Initiative. Everybody who
cares about environmental justice must support the Kashia Pomo Tribe and
other coastal tribes in their battle to defend their sacred and
ceremonial food gathering sites.

A video of the blessing
ceremony by the Kashia Band of Pomo Indians, on the Richardson Ranch
lands at Stewarts Point, will be aired on MCTV Channel 3 on Wednesday,
May 5 at 8:30 p.m. and again on Saturday, May 8 at 8:30 p.m. The show
duration is 1 hour, 22 minutes, according to independent journalist
David Gurney who produced the video. Contact MCTV @ 961-1127 for
additional showtimes and stations.

Here is the link to the
Santa Rosa Press Democrat article on the event: http://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/20100430/ARTICLES/100439928/1349?Title=Pomo-grieve-loss-of-ocean-fishing-grounds.

For more information, go to Violet Wilder's facebook page: