Chumash cemetery unearthed in Los Osos

March 21, 2013


Members of the Chumash community want sewer collection system excavation halted in Los Osos where Native American remains were unearthed at what is believed to an ancient cemetery.

Chumash leaders are asking that the area remain intact until the size of the cemetery is determined and solutions to avoid destruction of the area are investigated. They said they do not want the sewer project stopped; they want the excavation of their cemetery to be reevaluated.

“We are going to ask the county and the coastal commission to review their policies to help assist us in protecting our ancestors,” Gino Altimarno said.

Far Western Anthropological Research Group was awarded an $898,105 sole source contract to survey the entire project. In order to protect cultural resources, an archeologist and most likely descendants are also on site.

In this case, the most likely descendent are employees of Far Western and the archeologist is married to one of its principals, said Cavanaugh, a Chumash who was on the site.

“They were shoveling dirt with human remains on the street and then picking up skull fragments and grave items off the street,” Cavanaugh said.

Far Western project manager Pat Nicolson said she did not want to comment on the allegations.

The county broke ground for the new sewer collection system on Oct. 8, and the first two burials were found on March 11, another on the March 12 and a fourth on March 13. In the same area, an intact burial was discovered and reburied about 10 feet away in 2004.

Of the five burials, two include intact skeletal remains and the others had portions of bones and artifacts, Cavanaugh said.

Following the discovery, Far Western Archeology decided to do a rapid reburial with plans to excavate the graves, dig below and rebury the remains below the sewage pipelines. Members of the Chumash community strongly voiced their opposition placing the execution temporarily on hold.

“Any most likely descendants need to be respectful of our ancestors and not destroy them for any reason,” Marcus Lopez said. “Any destruction of a site is not good for the Chumash community.”

Members of the Chumash community said they would like the decision to be inclusive of their community and not determined by several descendants with a financial stake in the decision.

Niles Q

The rumor has always been that Los Osos was built on an Indian burial ground and that’s why it’s always seemed cursed over this sewer project. It was called the curse of Chief Buchon, as I always heard it.

Now we have evidence that it was true all along (though no one should be surprised).

The county should abandon this project immediately or risk the wrath of the spirit gods and bring discontent and disharmony down on the heads of all who live in Los Osos, oh wait, they’ve already got that…


and so they have all been cursed with a $300.00 a month fee to poop. That’s a heck of a curse if you ask me.


It’s really more the pee than the poop that is causing the problem, but the main point is that the cost now is around $165/mo. A heck of a curse for not building the sewer 30 years ago when it was almost free.

Niles Q

You hit that one on the nail head. Discontent and derision has led to where the good folks in Los Osos now find themselves, butt deep in a far too expensive sewer that could have been built in the 1970s at little cost to them.

Of course by now they’d be looking at an expensive upgrade or replacement…

My little comment at the top of this thread was supposed to be a joke, but I should have realized people in Los Osos lost their sense of humor over the project long ago.

But it should really come as no surprise that NA artifacts, even bodies have been unearthed. I lived in two different homes in LO back in the late 1980s and early 90s and each had an Indian midden in either the front or back yards. You can’t turn a shovel full of dirt in that town without unearthing middens or some kind of artifact.

We used to find a lot of arrowheads in the Elfin Forest too back then.


After the August 5, 2008 San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors Los Osos Wastewater Treatment Project Update Chairman Patterson requested that local environmental groups prepare an informational document that analyzes the environmental benefits and impacts of the collection systems under considerations for Los Osos and include a recommendation for an environmentally preferred collection system.

This is a must-read for anyone living in Los Osos today & witnessing the massive environmental

impact which could easily have been avoided had the County followed the advice offered by the Northern Chumash Tribal Council and six other environmental groups.

The Executive Summary is available online, just google ‘Statement of Key Environmental Issues Los Osos Wastewater Treatment Project: Collection System’.

Some “Background” info they offered in the report stated “Having been a district of Chumash villages for thousands of years. Los Osos is situated on top of land that is of great sacred and cultural significance to the California Native American Chumas.

Botttom line is they all clearly advised against digging deep trenches for the collection system, recommending a shallow line-boring with much less soil disturbance for obvious reasons.

Yes, it’s too late now, but read it and be enlightened & perhaps then be in wonderment.


Just imagine the soil disturbance in your own yard to dig up your old tank and replace it with a new one (and for all back yard tank owners, that would be into your front yard). Tanks last 25-20 years and most in this town would not pass inspection. Ripley himself said in 2004 that 95% of the tanks needed replacement. Plus the cost of hooking up the tank to your electrical system, replacing your driveway, fences, wall, walkways and landscaping would be YOUR cost alone, not the projects!


SlowerFaster: Lumping all Natives together just shows your ignorance. The Chumash nor Salinans committed human sacrifice nor any other tribes in what is now America that I’ve heard of and I’m Native! The Mayans and Aztecs are completely different and in another country. You should brush up on your history before making false statements to try to spread your own distorted views.


There is a wonderful article on traditional Chumash healing (medicine) at It says, among other things, that “Healing involves first healing the spirit, then healing the body.”

It appears that a few of those who have commented on this story, those who have expressed hostility and insensitivity, need their spirits healed.


800,000 $ people, this is the amount that was given to a group to watch dog for Indian remains, if the Indians are so concerned about their ancestors remains then they can pay for this, now they’ll be able to stop construction for weeks costing the taxpayers more money on top of the enourmous fees they’ll be paying already, I’m not saying destroy the site but the money we the taxpayer put out for this type of stuff needs to stop.


Can you name the Tribe that got $800,000 for monitoring remains sites? Thank You

native man

No tribe is getting $800,000 that is what they allotted for cultural resources. Most of this money goes to the archeologists. How would you like it if they went to your families graves and started throwing remains out of the hole. What they are doing is breaking the law. The law states that intact burials are not to be removed


That money is to pay for work to comply with federal and state environmental laws of which monitoring is a comparitively insignificant part. The monitoring aspect keeps people involved and informed which keeps projects like this out of court thus savinging significantly more money in the long run and allows the projects to be completed faster.


Mr. Slanders; if you’re such a Bible expert why are you taking verses literally that are meant to be symbolically? How do you twist what Jesus told the people that were stoning Mary Magdalene on the streets when He told them about judging others? Your Holier than thou attitude speaks volumes. Another Jesus answer to a question from the Apostles,”you’ll know them by their works.”

Ted Slanders


I wasn’t aware that you need a decoder ring to read the bible? Where do you get the authority to interpret the “specific passages” that I have brought forth relative to this story? Show me!

” The Christians that cannot accept the literal meaning of biblical passages will vehemently disregard the logical fact that what God said once, He did not mean for His creation to take in many different and contradicting ways through interpretation” (Ted Slanders 3:16)

Historically, there is absolutely no need to conveniantly “interpret” the scriptures. In it’s time and place, the scriptures were to be read LITERALLY. It looks like you’re a member of the anachronistic Burger King apologetic school of Christianity, where it’s adherants want their bible their way. NOT!

“For the time will come when men will not put up with SOUND DOCTRINE. Instead to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” (2 Timothy 4:3)

Learn the history of the scriputures, and until then, run along you minion of Satan, you’re not welcomed by promoting your Devil Speak regarding true Christianity!


If you ask me it’s nothing but a whole load of crap….


Probably not what you would say if it were your ancestors.


lol…………………………..I hear that there are Native Americans buried on The Righetti property in Morro Bay. Oh geeeeeez Betty and Noah what are we going to do now?


What we’re going to do in Morro Bay, now that we have an ethical Council majority that doesn’t answer to special interests, is to show respect for other cultures their religious beliefs. What a concept.

This means, at the very least, involving the local Chumash representatives directly in any work with the potential to impact their sacred sites, rather than using some outside firm that gets paid for helping move a project along no matter what.

It’s a simple matter of basic human dignity and respect. The Chumash culture is ancient, much older than our own, complex and fascinating. For me, their history as a seafaring people and their ties to the Polynesians are intriguing.

Their leaders, along with those of many other disenfranchised native cultures around the world, have found strong support in the recent United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. One of the Declaration statements that seems particularly appropriate here is this one:

Recognizing the urgent need to respect and promote the inherent rights of indigenous peoples which derive from their political, economic and social structures and from their cultures, spiritual traditions, histories and philosophies, especially their rights to their lands,territories and resources.


SOOOOOOOOOOO Mbactivist1…..what are you going to do about all the remains on the Righetti Property? Call Bruce Gibson? LOL!!!


No, person who has been threatening to sue the City if the new plant is put on the Righetti property (Yes, it’s pretty obvious who you are). If the plant ends up going there, rest assured that the City will work cooperatively with the Chumash to ensure a win-win outcome. It’s just amazing what can be accomplished when you work cooperatively with people instead of ignoring or dismissing them.

I’m sure they would work cooperatively with you too if you stopped threatening and showed any sign of wanting to work with them. The good of the community is at stake, and it is certainly possible to come up with a plan to build a plant that is not ugly and does not smell bad. Thus, there would be no negative impact on your property values. Such plants exist in many places and could be built here too. They actually cost less than the old technology. Your continued campaign against the site makes it appear that your real objective is to sabotage the Council majority out of spite.

My apologies to other Cal Coast News readers for getting somewhat off topic here, but this person’s comments needed a response.


Sorry the Righetti property is way out of line for a sewer plant, the costs for construction are too high to make this work, for just one problem there are many more.


Maybe, and maybe not. Let’s wait for the formal investigation of potential sites by someone who is not biased. No site is going to be perfect in every way. The Council and the CSD (if they decide to work with the City) will have to weigh the pro’s and con’s and make an informed decision on what is best for residents.


Yes “Myself” explain all of that to our local inept puppets that reside on our local government. boards. FRIGHTENING


Thanks mbactivist1…… both ROCK!!!!!!!! We are riding our bikes, planting our gardens, merging on our neighbors rights, searching for our family trust funds…… …..etc….etc……….lets all play patty cake an call it a day. That is after you read all of Cal Coasts News “Uncovered” ……….We remember the good ol days before you all arrived and we thrived in our community. …………….been her since 1947.

Niles Q

I don’t know about the Righetti Ranch site and Natives being buried there (I heard Hugh Harlan was buried there, though) but the corridor of Hwy 41 is for sure a Native American-Chumash site. Caltrans widened the highway about 10-11 years ago as it runs into Morro Bay and unearthed an entire Indian village buried under and alongside the roadway. It was a huge find and cost a bundle to deal with.

As I recall, several sets of remains were also dug up and reburied somewhere else (on the power plant property I think).

To accuse the city of Morro Bay of not cooperating with the Chumash or Salinans in every project they’ve ever done is a flat out lie. The Native peoples rule the roost in this entire state when it comes to preserving archaeological sites.

It isn’t surprising at all that they found remains and such in Los Osos. I’ve lived in two separate houses in Los Osos over the years and each one had an Indian midden in the backyard or front yard. You can’t turn a shovel full of dirt in that town and not unearth some kind of artifact (assuming old shells deposited in what were essentially garbage pits are artifacts).


God I just wish we had some REAL: leadership in our county and cities. Thanks to Cal Coast News they have “UNCOVERED” what our local “LEADERSHIP” is really all about. …What a joke.


Yeah…because the American Indian really hit the jackpot. We can tell by their high rates of education and low rates of drug/alcohol abuse that they are a thriving and growing community. It is true that a very small and select group have become wealthy off of the gambling business…but most still suffer from prolonged discrimination and catastrophic losses occurred over multiple centuries.

Ted Slanders

If we’re a Christian Nation, as so many Chrisians proffer, then why are the Christians allowing the Chumash Indians to stop the progress of this sewer line? The Chumash historically are not Christians in any way whatsoever, therefore, why placate to them concerning this pagan burial site as seen in the eyes of Christianity?

The true Chumash culture had Shamans that talked to spirits in the sky, which goes directly against Christianity (Deut 18:10-11) They allowed their women to become priests and chiefs which goes against Christianity as well. (Timothy 2:11) The Chumash give credence to the Summer Solstice and astrology, to name just a few of their ungodly notions, which really goes against Christianity!

In the late 1700‘s when the Spanish Catholic Padres arrived in this area to build their missions to spread the Gospel, they would beat the Chumash into submission, amongst other vile things that cannot be mentioned herein that make the pedophile priests look like boy scouts, to follow Christianity instead of their heathen religion. Now, subsequent to this historical fact, some Chumash to this day are Catholics in the name of Satan, of which this sect are not true Christians!

With the facts above relating to the Chumash not being Christians, and since the Christians are the chosen people of this world, as 1 Timothy 2:9 so dictates, then the Chumash should take a back seat to Christianity in this situation. Therefore, their ancestors should simply be buried below the sewer line so they can be in their sacred area, and be done with it, period.

Within the same vein as the Christian protesting in wanting prayer in school and the teaching of Creationism, sexual abstinence, being against gays and woman’s rights, etc., then Christians should show up to this burial site and protest vehemently that they’ve had enough of the Chumash that run against Christianity’s doctrine, barring the fact of Deut 13: 6-10, and getting in the way of progress!

The Chumash were awarded their Casino which hopefully should be enough of a reparation for the wrongdoings they’ve been given over the years by a Christian Nation. Besides, it’s a quid pro quo situation in that their Casino takes money away from the weak-minded Christian, and gambling is done for money, which goes directly against the Christian doctrine. (1 Timothy 6:10) Simply put, the two factions should be even.

In the Christian mind-set, with haste, finish the sewer line with their remains underneath and move on.


I wonder if the Chumash Shamans go around boinking little boys like the modern day apostles of Christ do on a regular basis. I think not.


Typical eurotrash attitude. We have arrived….kill those in the way of progress holy progress and if you are lucky enough to escape us, we”ll starve and freeze you out. Oh yeah..and forgive my sins God.


Talking to “spirits in the sky,” isn’t any goofier than some neolithic semitic goat herder talking tom spirits in a burning bush!!


My question…Brother Ted…is WHAT does the Holy Scriptures have to say about , uh, POOP ?

I mean, THAT’s the more encompassing enigma, since everyone has to do IT.

I defer to your superior liturgical enlightenment, in this regard.

Ted Slanders

Brother Slowerfaster,

The true Christian, that actually reads their bible, understands that when out camping at Big Sur, or anywhere within God’s Central Coast, and you have to use mother natures toilet facilities, then you are to cover up your crap. This is because He doesn’t want to see it or step in it as He walks amongst your campsite!

“And you shall have an implement among your equipment, and when you sit down outside, you shall dig with it and turn and cover your refuse. For the Lord your God walks in the midst of your camp, to deliver you and give your enemies over to you; therefore your camp shall be holy, that He may see no unclean thing among you, and turn away from you.” (Deuteronomy 23:13-14)

The last thing you want to do is not cover your excrement, because you take the chance of the Hebrew-Christian God getting mad at you and spreading it upon your face!

God said; “Behold, I will corrupt your seed, and spread dung upon your faces, even the dung of your solemn feasts; and one shall take you away with it.” (Malachi 2:3)

I give the alumni here at CCN very important godly information, and Jesus and I expect you to use it.


It was not originally a Christian nation here – before it was America built on Euro beliefs and government systems, the indigenous people lived here somewhat peacefully. Only when they began to be pushed out of their ancestral lands which to them is a spiritual tie to the land, did they begin to fight for what they knew was theirs through thousands of years and then was being ripped away from Europeans who really had no right to do that. Only by the greedy crown of Spain did the land become what is now known as America. Tell us all how you would not fight for your home or land if someone came in pushing you around, burning down your home, killing your children or spouse or taking what is yours. Would you stand by and do nothing?

I am from this coastal land as well and native. I’m not Chumash but Salinan and understand exactly what other natives have to deal with. The same hypocrisy that you speak now as a Christian, is the same as was done to our ancestors. Funny how some speak the word of God, yet don’t apply it to themselves. Not all Christians are like you. I am one myself and would not put someone down for their cultural beliefs or the color of their skin. Why don’t you go and spew your hatred on a religious blog where you can fight with some of your own.

Ted Slanders


Of course I would fight any invaders to my ancestral land. But, because of Christianity’s racism against other religious beliefs, is the unfortunate reason that your ancestors and other indigenous peoples in the Americas were looked down upon and tortured if they didn’t accept Christianity. The Catholic Padres converted the “neophytes”, aka, indians, to Christianity at all costs. A wonderful way to accept a new religion, huh?

Hypocrisy and Christianity go hand in hand, like apple pie and ice cream, because 99.99 of the Christian faith don’t actually follow ALL of the bible. I am sorry, but Christianity allows it’s adherents to “put someone down” for their beliefs if they’re not a Christian. The bible is full of pure racism and bigotry examples in this vein, and a few of which are listed below.

The 1st Commandment of “thou shalt have no other Gods before me” (Deut 5:4), condemns those who worship any other God than the Hebrew-Christian God. Pure racism. ( noteworthy, this command admits there were other Gods)

If one is not a Christian, then the true Christian is not to be acquainted with them.  “If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting.” (2 John 1:10)

If you hear of another city where another God is worshipped, then the Christian is to destroy it and burn it down, and kill all the people while doing so (Deuteronomy 13:12-16)

The Catholic Padre’s were under the godly command of spreading the Gospel to the world (Mark 16:15) and to accomplish this act at all costs, even torture, and breaking down the “neophytes” culture (Exodus 23:24). The true history of the Catholic Padre’s converting the “neophytes” of early California is sickening and abhorred to say the least. To the knowledgable of California’s history, it sickens them to view one of our Catholic Missions because of what actually transpired there back in the late 1700’s in the name of the Hebrew-Christian God.


Last I heard, this wasn’t about organized religion or even the Catholics. Point being is basically respect of each other. Respect of those that have passed before us. I don’t think this is a religious forum or one that should be used to condemn either direct descendants living now nor ancestral people that are no longer living as you are merely a human yourself and not perfect so you cannot see inside their hearts.Only God can do that and we will each be judged by HIM when it’s time.

We are in the here and now and perhaps direct descendants do not even have the same beliefs as their ancestors did. That does not nor should it condone any mistreatment given to ancestral remains found in present day. They should be respected as any other HUMAN remains that are given proper burials regardless of their belief system.

No human is perfect, even you. Let he that cast the first stone be one without sin. And another point, just because someone can memorize scriptures doesn’t mean that person is saved. They have to live it.

Ted Slanders


“Last I heard, this wasn’t about organized religion or even the Catholics. Point being is basically respect of each other.”

That’s the point I was trying to make with you relating to this story, hello??? The Catholic Padres gave your people NO RESPECT by torturing them, or letting them go hungry, amongst other atrocities, until they accepted Christianity by force! READ CALIFORNIA’S HISTORY REGARDING THE “NEOPHYTES” AND THE PADRE TRAIL!

If you’re worried about indian remains being unburied, then as just one example, look no further than Thomas Farnham, an early Anglo-American visitor to Mission Santa Barbara, where he was repelled by the evidence of massive death he found there. He noted the Catholic mission cemetery was so filled with dead Indians that their bones had to be exhumed periodically to make way for new bodies! Read the Indian history in California! Did the Catholics show respect for the Indian in this respect? NO!

Don’t give me that tired old yarn of “only God can see inside their hearts” BS, because we can visualize in seeing what the Catholic Padre’s did to your ancestors in making them become Christians!

If you’re a Christian now, then you sold out of your people’s historical ancestral beliefs, and basically at the same time by doing so, you’ve condoned the torture that your people experienced while being converted by the Catholic religion in the 1700’s. How utterly disgusting!

Therefore, don’t start judging me in any manner whatsoever subsequent to you giving up on your ancestral indian beliefs and swallowing the Christian religion at the expense of your past! Get it?

Yes, you have to “live” with your decision now of becoming a Christian. Can you spell “t-u-r-n-c-o-a-t?”

Your ancestors are turning in their graves!