|Remember where you live.|
Here is how this original inhabitance is briefly noted on the City of Sierra Madre's website under the moniker "Headline History" (link).
Roughly 500 A.D.: Tongva Indians, the original inhabitants of the Los Angeles Basin, arrive from the Mojave area. Their name has been translated to mean “People of the Earth”. Their main language is a Uto-Aztecan Shoshonean tongue, displaying roots in the Aztec empire and ancient Mexico.
1500: About 25 Tongva villages exist in what will become Los Angeles County. The population is about 300-500 people.
1769: The first Spanish settlers arrive in the region, encountering an estimated 5,000 Tongva living in 31 villages.
The issue of culturally inappropriate land usage could end up being an important one in the case of One Carter and the CETT incursion. Which, as we all know, is hardly the first of its kind. In a June 29, 2014 post dealing with issues important to this area titled "One Carter: Sierra Madre's Luxury Home Death Trap?" (link) we noted the following:
The One Carter area is also believed by some to be an ancient burial ground of the Tongva and Gabrielino Indian Tribes. Centuries of indigenous peoples may be buried there, and Representatives of this Tribe attended the One Carter hearings in 2005 to protest development at this site.
Wikipedia, in their article on the Tongva People (link), discusses just such culturally intolerant land use problems in the Los Angeles Basin. Here is a portion of what they have to say on this matter:
Land use issues - Controversies have arisen in contemporary California related to land use issues and Native American rights, including those of the Tongva. Since the late twentieth century, both the state and the United States governments have improved respect of indigenous rights and tribal sovereignty. The Tongva have challenged local development plans in the courts to protect and preserve some of their sacred grounds. Given the long indigenous history in the area, not all archaeological sites have been identified.
Which happily brings us to the point of today's post. Apparently in the past laws designed to protect Native American sacred grounds in California lacked the true legal potency needed to get that job done. Protection from the kinds of despoliation we could be soon be seeing at One Carter being a potentially grim example.
Fortunately for those of us in Sierra Madre concerned with preserving and protecting our hillsides, those days could soon be coming to an end. This from the legal services website Lexology (link).
Assembly Bill 52 to expand CEQA’s scope and impose new consultation requirements: On September 25, 2014, Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 52, which expands the reach of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) by requiring the lead agency on a proposed project to consult with any California Native American tribes affiliated with the geographic area. Further, the legislation creates a broad new category of environmental resources, “tribal cultural resources,” which must be considered under CEQA.
Prior to this legislation, tribal cultural resources were encompassed in CEQA’s categories for “historical” and “archaeological” resources. AB 52 creates a distinct category for tribal cultural resources, requiring a lead agency to not only consider the resource’s scientific and historical value, but also whether it is culturally important to a California Native American tribe. The bill defines tribal cultural resources as “sites, features, places, cultural landscapes, sacred places, and objects with cultural value to a California Native American tribe” that are included in or determined to be eligible for inclusion in the California Register of Historical Resources or the local register of historical resources. The definition also includes resources “determined by the lead agency, in its discretion and supported by substantial evidence, to be significant” pursuant to the criteria for listing in the state register. A “cultural landscape” may be a tribal cultural resource if it meets the above criteria and is “geographically defined in terms of the size and scope of the landscape.”
AB 52 also sets up an expanded consultation process. Beginning July 1, 2015, lead agencies are required to provide notice of proposed projects to any tribe traditionally and culturally affiliated with the geographic area. If, within 30 days, a tribe requests consultation, the consultation process must begin before the lead agency can release a draft EIR, negative declaration or mitigated negative declaration. Consultation with the tribe may include discussion of the type of review necessary, the significance of tribal cultural resources, the significance of the project’s impacts on the tribal cultural resources, and alternatives and mitigation measures recommended by the tribe. The consultation process will be deemed concluded when either (a) the parties agree to mitigation measures or (b) any party concludes, after a good faith effort, that an agreement cannot be reached. Any mitigation measures agreed to by the tribe and lead agency must be recommended for inclusion in the environmental document.
If a tribe does not request consultation, or otherwise assist in identifying mitigation measures during the consultation process, a lead agency may still consider mitigation measures if the agency determines that a project will cause a substantial adverse change to a tribal cultural resource.
I would hope that the City Council will add this to the list of relevant considerations in their continued negotiations with CETT regarding the fate of One Carter and the issue of McMansionization.
Perhaps in a pinch City Hall could consider becoming just such a "lead agency?"