Patrick Kruer, Chair
ATTN: Mr. Mark Delaplaine
California Coastal Commission
45 Fremont Street, Suite 2000
San Francisco, CA 94105-2219
RE: Foothill-South Toll Road CZMA Consistency Certification (Hearing Date, Oct. 11, 2007) – OPPOSITION
Dear Chairperson Kruer and Members of the Commission:
“Panhe is one of the few remaining Acjachemen sacred sites where the people can still gather for ceremony in an area that
is secluded and exists in a pristine, natural state.”
It was not long ago, fifteen years or so, that Ronnie Bracamontes was buried at Panhe. My father Joseph Bracamontes was
present at his cousin’s burial. This is a piece of the living history of the Acjachemen, Juaneno people. It counters the
falsehoods expressed by the TCA below:
“The TCA (Transportation Corridor) Authority claims ‘ there are no areas within the disturbance limits that are currently
being used by living Native American representatives of the Juaneno,’ yet our members have always used Panhe and
continue to gather for ceremony, community events and to pay respect to the Ancestors buried there.”
My father and I have traveled from Los Angeles to participate in gatherings where sage is burned and talks of protecting
our loved ones go on for hours. Stories of bonfires and ghost dances that draw the sacred spirits to the group are shared.
We walked down the trail and saw trees planted by many tribal members when they were young. The trees are tall filling
the sky with histories of our youth and now aged through time with our elder’s wisdom.
But still the shameful image of the colonialist philosophy of the TCA continues to perpetuate the false statements that we
are extinct. Saying it or writing it in a statement does not make it true. We are here! Can you see me? Can you hear me?
I to want to be part of this sacred land; lay me to rest at Panhe next to all my cousins.
Light the biggest bonfire, that it may burn the modern hand of time. Send the modern creations of super cement freeways
and toll roads alike, back through the ages of time; a time when the gentle hand of Mother Nature ruled and the sacred
lands remained untouched by the interlopers.
History has many parallels. Everyday when we walk out the front door, we have a choice to accept history as it is or to
change history. But when governments have laws that perpetuate slave labor, unjust laws, laws that are cruel, frightening,
laws that create panic through a type of mental torture and treat people like animals, history makes itself. History is there
to warn us, but if we do not heed its warning, it will repeat itself, and the old tale of what happens when the poor are
miserable will come to pass again. And when people are miserable and afraid it is easy to control them, easy to exert
power on them, even easier to convince them that they are inferior.
Chairperson Kruer and Members of the Commission, the life of a living
Culture is in your hands. The lives of those passed remain sacred and the land they occupy is ours.
Will you help us in making history today? Will you keep back the modern hand of time and keep the toll road a way from our
sacred land? Will you be our friend and end all the rumors that we are gone, vanished into thin air never to be seen? Explain
to the world, we are here. We are not inferior.
Please protect Panhe and San Onofre State Beach by opposing the Foothill South Toll Road.
Voting member of the
|Letter to Commission for Panhe
(September 27, 2007)