Kumeyaay Tribes Protest Navy’s Plans to Build SEAL Center in Burial Grounds along Silver Strand

by on September 2, 2016 · 8 comments

in California, Civil Rights, Culture, Environment, History, Military, Organizing, San Diego

Kumeyaay protest Coronado 83116

Kumeyaay protest of SEAL training center along the Silver Strand, Wed., Aug. 31, 2016. Screen capture from U-T video.

Debi Baker at San Diego U-T wrote:

Dozens of Native American Indians staged a protest Wednesday [Aug.31] morning over the building of Naval Base Coronado’s new SEAL training center on what they say is a native burial ground.

The 12 tribes that make up the Kumeyaay Nation want the $1 billion project south of Silver Strand State Beach to be moved a short distance so as not to desecrate what members call a sacred site, said Cynthia Parada, a councilwoman with the La Posta Band of Mission Indians.

The 60-acre campus will add 1.5 million square feet of buildings to the base that includes spaces for SEAL Teams, logistical support buildings, training facilities, classrooms and more.

IIn 2002, human remains of a young boy said to be 7,000 years old were found in the area south of Silver Strand State Beach, Parada said.

The tribe was allowed to re-inter those remains, which included a part of a finger and of a tooth, and they believe that there are many more.

Parada said the Indians were told at the time by military officials that remains “would not be disturbed for another 7,000 years,” Parada said.

“They are going back on their promise,” she said. …

And Maggie Avants over at San Diego Patch wrote:

Members of Kumeyaay Indian tribes protested just outside Naval Base Coronado’s proposed Coastal Campus on Wednesday, along Highway 75, expressing their opposition to the U.S. Navy’s plans to build the Silver Strand Training Complex for Navy SEAL training.

Naval Base Coronado said in a statement Wednesday afternoon that at the request of Kumeyaay tribal leaders, a meeting has been scheduled for Friday morning. The meeting was scheduled prior to the protest taking place, base officials said.

In letters to the Navy, the Manzanita Band and the Viejas Tribal Government requested the Navy reduce the size of the training site to preserve an area they say is a 7,000-year-old burial site for their ancestors.

A councilwoman for the La Posta Band of Mission Indians, one of Kumeyaay’s 12 tribes, told the San Diego Union-Tribune that in 2002, 7,000-year-old human remains of a boy were found in the area south of Silver Strand State Beach. She also told the newspaper that when tribal members visited the military site in January, they found ancestral artifacts.

Naval Base Coronado says that throughout the design and construction of the project, the Navy “has remained committed to upholding environmental conservation and mitigation requirements” that were established as part of an environmental impact report for the project.

The Navy says it provided an additional 100-foot buffer around “all eligible archaeological sites and environmentally sensitive areas,” and that independent third-party monitoring of the design and construction takes place to ensure the Navy’s compliance.

The Navy also said it requested the names of qualified Native American monitors from the Kumeyaay to work beside the cultural resource monitors during ground-disturbing construction activities near the registered archaeological site. The Kumeyaay declined, according to the Navy’s statement.

“Following nine months of extensive leadership meetings, subject matter expert information exchange and on-site visits with technical experts designed to enhance the Kumeyaay’s confidence in the Navy’s environmental planning for the Coastal Campus, the Navy finds itself in the unfortunate position where the Tribes will not accept the technical analysis, regulatory compliance posture or the offer to work in cooperation using their own identified Native American monitors,” base officials said.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

retired botanist September 2, 2016 at 3:10 pm

The point that is easily missed whenever there is environmental review that involves culturally significant Native American area is that the developer is required to invite the NA community in “discussion” and “monitoring”, and sometimes even modifies design by “100 feet” or so, but very, very rarely avoids the area altogether- there’s always encroachment and overall loss of a significant cultural site. That is, now that young boy will likely be buried behind some military Seal Center outbuilding. How many Native Americans would actually be allowed access to grounds bordering a military training ground once its built? “nine months of extensive leadership meetings” kind of sums it up, doesn’t it? They really have no choice in the matter at the end of the day.


Citizen Cane Larry OB September 2, 2016 at 6:00 pm

Wasn’t that area completely underwater just a 100 years ago?


Citizen Cane Larry OB September 2, 2016 at 6:11 pm

Wasn’t there extensive dredging and movement of soils?


Milladro September 3, 2016 at 10:01 am

I worked at Siverstrand State Beach the last few years on a habitat restoration project. We studied and monitored rare native dune plants and restored small areas in the park. The strand itself is a natural phenomenon and was very similar 100 years ago, however certain areas were much narrower. Larry you are correct extensive dredging took place to create the highway and various housing developments. Loew’s is built on dredge for sure. Portions of the park on the bayside are dredge too. The Navy land to the south where the boys remains were found is wider and naturally more permanent. It makes sense that 7000 year old remains would be there.


Mercy Baron OB Mercy September 3, 2016 at 11:13 am

As a retired archaeologist, I’m saddened to see that once again, NA’s concerns are either ignored or put on a back burner. Haven’t we done enough to decimate the NA civilizations in this country? I guess not.


unwashedwallmartThong September 3, 2016 at 5:03 pm

A billion dollars. I thought the U.S. was done w/ war-like behavior. Korea–that was no fun. Viet Nam–got our butts kicked. Afghanistan–still there, still killing innocents, still losing. Iraq–don’t get me started. Minor wars, proxy wars & baby invasions like when the U. S. dropped in to Panama to snap up Manuel Noriega not included.
According to an article by David Axelson in the Coronado Eagle & Journal dated September 4, 2015, some guy w/ a normal name and a super-duper long title said, “In 2006 by Congressional mandate we had to grow the force.” [Name: Mark Walton] [Super-duper title: Naval Special Warfare Command Assistant Public Affairs Officer LCDR ]
That means the U.S. military is gearing up for the next invasion. I wonder who will be the lucky country to have U.S. forces invade & save them from themselves. Probably somewhere in Africa.
A billion dollars. I would almost rather see condos go up on both sides of OB pier. The U.S. won’t ever be done w/ war-like behavior because war is profit. We all know about Smedley D. Butler.
I wonder what Smedley would have said about charter schools.


Chris September 6, 2016 at 11:02 am

The real said part is how crappy the U.S. military treats their own veterans after they return from a conflict. It’s amazing how many get kicked out with no benefits (no VA, no access to any kind of veterans services) if they manage to get into some off duty incident while they have a case pending for benefits as a result of injury.


Chris September 6, 2016 at 3:07 pm

Interesting tho that Kenny Meza had no problem kicking his own people out to build the Hollywood Casino.


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