Tribe losing permission to climb Morro Rock after news of reburials of unidentified remains

June 26, 2012

Solstice ceremony at Morro Rock

By KAREN VELIE

Two sets of human remains, thought to be Native American, have been buried atop Morro Rock by a Salinian Tribal Council member, Salinian tribal members say.

Amid news of the reburials of the unidentified bones, discovered near Cambria and Cayucos, the Native American Heritage Commission plans to repeal an agreement that allows members of the Salinian tribe to climb Morro Rock, a spot sacred to the Salinian and Chumash tribes.

Northern Chumash Tribal Council spokesman Fred Collins said he is appalled by what occurred at Morro Rock.

“Burying remains up there is against all the public resource laws,” Collins said. “We are hoping they are never allowed to climb the rock again so these things do not happen.”

The reburials took place over a five year period and were carried out by John Burch, a Salinian Tribal Council leader, tribal members said. The first set of remains was allegedly found in a cave in Arroyo Seco, north of Cambria. The second set was found near Toro Creek in Cayucos. Both locations are sites where Native Americans lived. But no one has determined that the remains were of Native Americans.

Burch denied, in an interview with CalCoastNews, that he placed the remains on Morro Rock.

“There are no remains up there. Your information is wrong,” Burch said.

But tribal members, a Catholic priest and emails from the state of California say otherwise.

Father Larry Gosselin, with Mission San Miguel, said he blessed the remains after Burch asked him to do so. Some members of the Salinan and Chumash tribes do not see Catholicism as being a Native American religion.

Burch climbed Morro Rock carrying the human remains in a backpack, Salinian tribal members said. He placed the bones in two spots, cracks in Morro Rock and placed stones over them, tribal members said.

Burch told tribal members that he had permission from State Parks and the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s department to repatriate the remains, they said. However, State Parks Superintendent Brooke Gutierrez said that her agency did not give Burch permission to repatriate remains on the rock.

“We will be working with the sheriff’s department on this issue,” Gutierrez said. “Our job is to protect and preserve the Rock.”

California law requires that county coroners inspect remains and the California Native American Heritage Commission be notified before reburial. That was not done and it is not clear whether the remains are Salinian, Chumash, or even Native American at all.

State law makes it a felony to dig up or posses Native American remains without following required procedures.

Six years ago, members of the Salinan Nation first received permission to climb Morro Rock through a memorandum of agreement between the tribe, state parks, and the Native American Heritage Commission. At the time, the Chumash argued that the site was sacred and solstice ceremonies should, instead, be held at the base of the rock.

Collins said reburials are supposed to be private ceremonies, not the public events they have become with Burch inviting the media.

“It has created a lot of conflict in our community,”Collins said. “We look at John Burch as a splinter group of Salinans. Burch doesn’t respect Chumash territory.”

Several members of the Salinan Nation, who asked to remain unnamed to avoid difficulties with tribal members, are also concerned with the failure to follow tradition at last week’s solstice ceremony where Aztec dancers performed for almost 200 nonnative attendees.

In light of the recent solstice ceremony and allegations of unapproved reburials, Native American Heritage Commission Director Dave Singleton said his agency plans to revoke the agreement which allows tribal members to climb Morro Rock.


51 Comments

  1. givemeabreak says:

    Oh my god !, Say it aint so!! Someone please call Betty and Noah! lol

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  2. SmilingJack says:

    Saw the pictures of the Morro Rock climb on the Salinian Tribe website. Mr. Burch won’t be in front of any cameras doing that again, since the State shut that circus down. So he and Molina will have to dream up something else to make Burch look like a hero. Maybe in front of the news cameras when they get indicted.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  3. givemeabreak says:

    How come the NUT jobs that are part of Save Cerritos Peak in Morro Bay just dont file a lawsuit? Maybe they should all scurry up to Cerritos Peak!!!…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 5

  4. Ted Slanders says:

    Enough of this cowboy and indian stuff!

    If one of the Salinan folk fell from Morro Rock because of their ungodly Christian beliefs, and being in a hashed out stupor, guess what? They would sue the Park System and who pays for the outcome? Yes, we do! Subsequent to the lawsuit, then that individual buys another Buick!

    Why do true Christians even give the Salinan Indians any merit since their pagan beliefs are similar to the Chumash and are directly opposed to ours? Who in the hell could believe what they do relative to their “Great Spirit” creating the universe in three floating disks; the Sky World, the Middle World, and the Water World?

    Not only is the above acceptances comical, but the funniest one is that they believe their Water World was made from the urine of the many frogs that lived in it! Huh? Preposterous to the true Christian mindset!

    Our beliefs are more acceptable and easier to swallow relative to our Adam and Eve narratives in the Old Testament. We believe in the beginning that there was Adam and Eve, and that our God damned all humanity through the ages because an inexperienced woman, seduced by a talking snake, ate the forbidden fruit of knowledge in disregard of a whimsical prohibition, and then our ever loving and forgiving God drowned nearly ALL creation in a fit of wrath over the misconduct of his own progeny. Notwithstanding, Eve was created from one of Adam’s ribs!

    Now, what is more believable? Correct, our godly narratives of the beginning of the human race instead of the outlandish Salanan/Chumash version! Praise Jesus!

    Pay them no mind, and maybe they’ll disappear into their spirit world and leave us true Christians alone.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 19 Thumb down 31

    • wowcowboy says:

      Wow your understanding of scripture is scary! Jesus would remind you not to judge others. Are we in Natzi Germany or the US? Your opinion shows what a piece of work you are.

      Thank you for showing your true christian colors. Your compassion toward others is overshadowed only by your old fashion narrow minded razal dazzle. True Christians lead with love you lead with hatred.

      You shouldn’t tell the stories of others when you can’t seem to get the true Christian thing right.

      Wow wee idiot!

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 17

      • Ted Slanders says:

        .
        wowcowboy,

        Oh my, another pseudo wanna be Christian is heard from. How many have I taken on in this forum of late? Jesus is obviously getting tired of of this faction too.

        Listen up, oh ignorant cultural Christian, our doctrine demands that we judge others, or haven’t you read this fact in our Judeo-Christian Bible as yet? Here, take your bible off of your coffee table for it’s looks, dust it off, and actually READ IT for a change instead of being spoon-fed your doctrine on Sunday mornings at church!

        For your future enlightenment. Remember the Lord Jesus Christ commanded, “Judge righteous judgment” (John 7:24). He told a man, “Thou hast rightly judged” (Luke 7:43). The most important judging passage is when Jesus told others, to wit; “Why even of yourselves judge ye not what is right?” (Luke 12:57).

        You judge things and others everyday. Tell your child like statement to a jury of your peers in a court room setting. Get it? Probably not. True Christians lead with the literal word of our God with absolutely no spin doctoring whatsoever.

        Listen, I have made you the fool with your perceived notions that as Christians we’re not to judge others. Therefore, to save yourself any further embarrassment in front of this forum, I suggest that you remain silent from this time forth, like many others have learned to do.

        Thank you.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 7

        • wowcowboy says:

          You just make yourself look like a hate monger and someone like you is pathetic I will pray for your blackened heart. You just fortify me more that you are a sad pathetic person who judges others. I would never be silenced by you Schmanders :-)

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 16

        • wowcowboy says:

          You just make yourself look like a hate monger and someone like you is pathetic I will pray for your blackened heart. You just fortify me more that you are a sad pathetic person who judges others. I would never be silenced by you Schmanders I will pray for you

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 15

          • Ted Slanders says:

            wowcowboy,

            We got it the first time, and there was no need for you to embarrass yourself twice with your double post.

            What part of the following statement that I made to you, don’t you understand?

            “Listen, I have made you the fool with your perceived notions that as Christians we’re not to judge others. Therefore, to save yourself any further embarrassment in front of this forum, I suggest that you remain silent from this time forth, like many others have learned to do.”

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 7

            • wowcowboy says:

              What makes you certain it is a mistake, clearly, you just make yourself look like a hate monger and someone like you is pathetic I will pray for your blackened heart. You just fortify me more that you are a sad pathetic person who judges others. I would never be silenced by you Schmanders I will pray for you. Nobody should ever be silenced by hatred, hatred is evil.

              Hear from ya soon :-)

              Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 12

    • pasovino says:

      Who in the hell would believe that the chrIstian god is a father, a son and a holy spirit all at the same time and that with a wave of his hand he made the earth in seven days! You are brainwashed into accepting myths that are familiar to you-like Adam and Eve! Who in their right mind would believe that!?
      “God drowned nearly ALL creation in a fit of wrath over the misconduct of his own progeny. Notwithstanding, Eve was created from one of Adam’s ribs! ” THAT SAYS IT ALL!

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  5. Myself says:

    The land at the western end of Toro Creek which Standard Oil owns has been farmed for a hundred years, some how the Indians managed to get to look around on some of this farm ground and aparently found a piece of bone, was it tested,most likely not, then they managed to get Standard to let them re bury the bone, where you ask, out in the middle of the farm field where it was not found it was found over by the creek, now that whole field may be taken out of production, no farming, no cattle grazing, does this make any sense to you, now its a sacred spot that field has been farmed and deep ripped to break hard pan for years now they don’t want you to set foot in it, what a farce.
    Also when these wanna be’s climb the rock for their sacred ritual of smoking hash its a wonder none of them have fallen off climbing down the next morning, they no longer need to be up there.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

    • justme says:

      So it’s not owned by anyone, only leased. We lose some wine harvest so some rummy who doesn’t get enough buzz somewhere has to go sober. Or, Standard oil loses revenue so some rich investor in the Ukraine or some place in the world doesn’t get to add to inflation by hoarding money but not producing anything.
      Hey, if the fricken bone wasn’t lifted from there, maybe there still are a hundred like it that already got tossed by some farmer named something “‘ini” who knows when?
      Cattle? also called land denuders. who crap up the creeks.
      So the local “Indians” (or what’s left of their gene pool) wanna let a spot restore, let it happen. It’s a monument, Genius.
      I’ts to those folks who were told only 80 yrs ago by those (maybe you’re family or even you if your old enough), to “F____off and die! LITERALLY !!
      This Chick just layed it out for ya. They were told basically, Hey, we won’t kill your ass if you promise not to be a family there, tell your relatives to stay away from you? No Babies! WTF? Just die, MF!

      Guys (or gals) like you STILL scare the hell outa ladies like this one named Penny, now she’s outa here with all that that REAL HISTORY. And now we’re back to listening to nighmares like you.
      Evolve and wakeup, it’s today now.

      This blog has filled up with ignorants, I’m with Penny, I’m bailin’ out too.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

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