Tribes Sue Caltrans for Destruction of Cultural Resources

November 3, 2015
Indian Country Today Media Network

In the ongoing fight to protect cultural resources in what is now Mendocino County, California, two tribes have filed a lawsuit against the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), the U.S. Department of Transportation, and the Federal Highway Administration.

The Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians and the Round Valley Indian Tribe filed suit Thursday, October 29 in U.S District Court claiming Caltrans is illegally destroying cultural resources and Native American sites in violation of the National Environmental Policy Act and the National Historic Preservation Act.

Caltrans is building a six-mile bypass around Willits on Highway 101 that cuts through the heart of Little Lake Valley, lush wetlands and ancestral home of many Pomo tribal members in the area.

“Caltrans must not be allowed to demolish cultural resources and sacred sites simply to build a highway bypass,” the tribes’ attorney, Phil Gregory, said in apress releaseabout the lawsuit. “Imagine Caltrans treating a church with such disrespect. This case challenges Caltrans’ ongoing failure to properly protect the Tribes’ ancestral sites in constructing the bypass. Caltrans’ ground-disturbing activities are devastating ancestral Native American sacred and cultural sites.”... (To read the entire article, please click HERE)