August 12, 2007
Almost every person on earth has been to a burial site in his or her lifetime. Very few, if any, would rush to think about
damaging or destroying those sacred lands. But throughout American history, and even today, desecration of Indigenous
People’s sacred lands is a common occurrence in the landscape of the colonial mindset of the government and their
For Panhe, the Acjachemen/Juaneno Village that existed ten thousand years ago and is still used today for gatherings and
prayers, this history of desecration is quickly becoming a problem in the present day as it is about to be destroyed by a
projected toll road. This issue of defending burial sites, like Panhe, far out shadows the political fighting taking place over
federal recognition. This movement takes us to a timeless place of universal thought about how we are ultimately and
unwaveringly the same. I took pictures at Panhe that show us gathering as a single group, proving a united front is possible
when it comes to protecting our sacred land and religious freedom. Our willingness to stand up for our rights and freedoms
in order to protect our history and culture far exceeds any petty arguments over federal recognition. Should we win this
battle, it would have huge ramifications on other Indigenous Peoples struggling to protect their sacred land.
How would America feel if we decide to build a toll road over the Lincoln monument, John or Robert Kennedy’s grave, or the
Arlington Cemetery? You can be sure the President, the Supreme Court, Congress and the moral righteousness of the law
would protect the sanctity of these historical places. But justice belongs to all people and we have every right to have our
sacred ancestors buried at Panhe left to rest peacefully without being dishonored.
Today feels like a new kind of Manifest Destiny has started all over again. There is no respect for our land, our culture or us.
The US government is still intent on breaking every dignified law on earth to humiliate us all over again.
Americans have been the curators of the false history about Columbus “discovering” a continent. It was the beginning of
the end for our ancestors who were already here. But imagine if we, the first people of this continent, started a reverse
First, in keeping with the present day stereotype of California Indigenous People, would be to build more casinos, only in
Washington D.C. Then we would dig up Abe Lincoln, knock down that big cement thing of him, and give his bones to
somebody who could prove they were his ancestors. If somebody did step forward, we’d say we don’t really recognize him
or her as a group worthy or deserving of our acknowledgement.
Last, Kennedy’s grave. Oops, I mean all the dead Kennedy’s with bullets in their heads. This will help give us proof that
America was such a barbaric culture, built on false pretenses that they had a democracy for the people with free speech,
etc. So free, they killed their own leaders.
This sounds really all too ugly for me. Why can’t people feel the pain of the Indigenous People every time a sacred burial
land is disturbed? I am ashamed to write about those images of Abe, John, Bobby, but that is exactly what is happening at
Panhe. The great and united people, the Acjachemen, Juaneno Tribe are waiting for all of you to show us respect and
dignity. Those resting at Panhe are calling out to us, in the hope that we will never forget them and that we will stand up
against those that wish to harm them.
To Rebecca Robles firstname.lastname@example.org and Angela Mooney
D’Arcy email@example.com thank you for making people think about what they are doing to the living Indigenous
People, who have watched this injustice take place over and over again. Your work to protect Panhe is greatly appreciated.
You are examples of what it means to be true leaders, because you embrace us all.
|United Coalition to Protect Panhe