For over two weeks, indigenous peoples and supporters have occupied Glen Cove, a “sacred gathering place and burial ground that has been utilized by numerous Native American tribes since at least 1,500 BC,” located on the outskirts of Vallejo, California in the Bay Area. The occupation of Glen Cove comes after years of attempts to halt the desecration of the area by the local recreation district (GVRD), which wants to develop it in to a public park. GVRD wants to construct a parking lot and bathrooms, pave new paths, cut down trees, and bulldoze/re-grade a large part of the area that likely contains human remains. Glen Cove is sacred to many Native Peoples as a burial and ceremonial ground. According to the support site, protectglencove.org:
“Archaeologists working for the University of California first surveyed the Glen Cove site in 1907. Since that time, hundreds of intact skeletal remains and cremations have been documented, along with thousands of sacred objects, tools, and other artifacts. Many sacred items and skeletons unearthed at Glen Cove have been stolen by archaeologists and are housed in the Phoebe Hearst Museum of Anthropology at UC Berkeley.” Many of the homes and structures that have been built in the local area literally sit on top of grave sites and indigenous warriors defending the land have made it clear that the proposed development of the land equals nothing less than the further destruction and colonization of Native people.
On one side of this struggle sit the upper class: comprised of the developers, the government, and their police. For them, Glen Cove is simply a piece of land that is waiting to be developed and “improved”. The developers are keen to frame their planned desecration in the best light possible, while not actually listening to or respecting the requests of local Native people. As Miwok Elder Wounded Knee states, “Because they want to seem politically correct, the developers are becoming familiar with the language so it sounds good for them to say ‘protecting and preserving,’ but it’s all a show. ”
On the other side is the resistance; those who have occupied the land and dedicated themselves to protecting it. They’ve erected communal kitchens, information tables, and a sacred fire and meeting space. These brave occupiers daily face down police and city workers. What they want is not to take control over the land and it’s management. They do not want to develop the land in a different way. Instead, their battle cry is that nothing be done to the land at all – that the land stay as it is naturally, that their ancestors’ resting place is respected.
As anarchists who desire a revolution against all forces of domination; who fight for the destruction of the systems of violence and coercion which maintain class society, we find solidarity with the occupation of Glen Cove. We find strength in the communal and militant resistance happening in Vallejo; in the spirit of those who risk their freedom in order to protect their ancestors and the living earth for future generations. We find comrades in those that negate this civilization and insist that a radically different relationship with the land must be forged for all. In a time of ecological and economic crisis, struggles like this are vital – they show that resistance is possible as are new human relationships and ways of life.