Ancient Ohlone Village and Burial Site Uncovered in Santa Cruz

KB Home Development construction crew uncovered the remains of a young Native American boy at a 6,000-year-old burial site in Santa Cruz on Saturday.

On Saturday a KB Home Development construction crew set to build nine new homes on Market Street uncovered the remains of a Native American child on an ancient Ohlone village and burial site.

The remains of an adult were also uncovered on Friday, according to Ed Silveira, of the Villa Branciforte Preservation Society, who said this is the most historically significant event that's happened in Santa Cruz.

Silveira said KB Home knew they were building on a 6,000-year-old site, but that they went ahead with the construction nonetheless.

“We knew it was a 6,000-year-old site, so it was a no-brainer that there were remains there, but they chose to go ahead and do it anyway with the encouragement of the city,” Silveira said.

Silveira said there's also an area of the rare Spine Flower plant growing on the site, with only three of these plant species known to exist in California.

These historical findings were uncovered at an area known as the Knoll located in the Villa Branciforte side of Santa Cruz, which is one of the first three settlements in California. Numerous artifacts uncovered between the late 1700s to the 1830s have been found in the area.

As of now, Silveira and others are hoping to reach a mutual agreement with KB Home Development so they can can conserve the historical site before they start its construction tomorrow.

“There has to be a process that has to be done, so our goal is to see if there can be some kind of agreement so they don't build the nine homes on the burial site,” Silveira said.

There will be a gathering to stop construction at the Branciforte Creek site in downtown Santa Cruz on Pacific and Laurel at 12:30 p.m. Sunday, and from there attendees will walk to Grant Street Park at 2 p.m., with a last walk ending at the ancient burial site.

Rachel DeSmet August 14, 2011 at 09:56 PM
Find another place to build~
Marguerite MacDonald August 15, 2011 at 12:34 AM
Quite frankly, I find it appalling that such desecration is allowed. Also, isn't there a law regarding full disclosure so anyone buying these homes would have to be told that they are going to live in homes build on a site where human remains were disturbed/removed? I for one would never even rent let alone buy a home that was located on what was once a burial site. Where is the decency and respect in this decision?
Yolonda August 15, 2011 at 01:51 AM
The city council already had their mind made up before the March 8 2011 meeting. My thought is that they were only thinking of tax revenu! Shame on them...
Kay August 15, 2011 at 04:49 AM
When did we as a community, including members of our City Counsil, find it okay to build on a cemetery, regardless of how it old it is. If that is the case, then let the city counsel send KB over to Oakwood Memorial Park and let them build there. Soquel could also use tax revenues. It is a sorry day when our humanity drops to this level. Mayor Connerty where were you today? We missed all of your city council members who supported this project with out a human thought other than Scrooge style revenue politics.
Dan Young August 15, 2011 at 02:56 PM
There is no excuse for allowing construction on a known historical site. And now that actual human remains have been found, it must stop. The native peoples who populated this area deserve to be protected. Prior to Spanish, Mexican and then European/international occupation, there were over 250,000 native inhabitants of California. After the Spanish/Mexican occupation, only between 9,000 to 13,000 remained alive (depending on your source). Let them rest in peace.
Kathy Pearson August 15, 2011 at 04:09 PM
This area NEEDS to be protected and respected. What needs to be done to stop construction? How can we help preserve this sacred area? Kathy Pearson
Valerie Frank August 15, 2011 at 04:29 PM
Thanks for all your heartfelt remarks all a very sad commentary on our dispassionate Council members. Santa Cruz seems to be like anywhere USA, "money talks everything else walks" a mockery of Liberalism. How long will our town let them hide behind this false front? Our "good old boy's network" is as thick as you will find anywhere USA!
HippieCowboy420 August 15, 2011 at 05:19 PM
Lowest of the LOW!
beavis August 15, 2011 at 05:20 PM
can we build a casino instead?
Kay August 15, 2011 at 05:49 PM
The spirits that rest on this sacred site are looking upon us with disgust. Mayor Connerty, members of the City Council...job well done.
beavis August 15, 2011 at 06:26 PM
According to native american tradition we should build a casino there instead
Santa Cruz Indigenous Solidarity August 15, 2011 at 07:31 PM
Please visit http://savetheknoll.org/ for more information and ways that you can show support for respecting the sacredness of this 6,000 year old Ohlone village and burial site.
Alex Hubner August 15, 2011 at 08:48 PM
Hasn't anyone ever read Pet Semetary?
Brian August 15, 2011 at 09:32 PM
once again ryan Coonerty and crew violates historical reference.... Did they do this out of accident? Or are they really this retarded?
HippieCowboy420 August 16, 2011 at 12:35 AM
Hajja Romi Elnagar August 17, 2011 at 05:57 AM
Isn't there ANYWHERE ELSE to build a house in Santa Cruz? This is ABSURD. People should have some RESPECT for native peoples.
Steve Premo August 17, 2011 at 11:23 PM
I believe in the preservation of archeological sites as long as necessary to study them, and I believe in respecting peoples' spiritual beliefs. Having said that, it is not uncommon for graveyards to be moved to accommodate development. One local example is the Holy Cross Cemetery. It used to be where the Holy Cross Church parking lot is today, and peoples' remains were exhumed and reburied at the new location on Capitola Road Extension. There are probably some people still buried under the parking lot. Are pre-Columbian Indian burial sites more sacred than white people's cemeteries? I get that it's a big deal to bulldoze a site from which we could get knowledge of the people who lived here before. I don't understand why modern cemeteries can be moved, but ancient burial sites cannot.
Leroy Rick August 17, 2011 at 11:49 PM
No human being on this earth is a non-Native. We are all Natives of earth. And around this planet, nearly every inch of ground contains the remains of dead Ancestors. If, by that account, a ground becomes "sacred", then this entire planet is sacred. But the process of human and biological remains reverting back to earth is a natural process that happens. I'd say, let them build on the site. And let us build ANYWHERE there is a need for facility. It is for us the living who benefit. Let the dead bury their dead, let us the living pull our asses out of the sand, and move on with life. You so-called "Natives" and those of who have gone native are just haters, most of you, when it really comes down to it. Grow up. This planet was built by a god. It is all sacred space. But we build our structures to accommodate the needs of us the living. We have to start somewhere, no? Let it go.
HippieCowboy420 August 18, 2011 at 12:00 AM
Steve Premo the relatives of those people @ Holy Cross were notified and gave permission to exhume and move their relatives and it wasn't from a 6000y/o Ancient Burial Site and they are a lot more sacred than white people's because our cemeteries are not at all SACRED at all!
Steve Premo August 18, 2011 at 12:06 AM
Hippy Cowboy, it was 1885, and the people who were reburied included missionaries, Indians, Spanish soldiers, Californio civilians, etc. The moving was probably not done by their families, and I'm sure many of their families were not notified. But seriously, you think cemeteries are not sacred if they're filled with white people, but are sacred if they're filled with Indians? How come?
Hajja Romi Elnagar August 18, 2011 at 12:26 AM
The Spanish enslaved the Indians in their "Christian" missions. Then, during the Gold Rush, white Americans killed thousands of Indians in cold blood, wiping out entire tribes. Today, American Indians are one of the most impoverished, if not THE most impoverished minority groups in AmeriKKKa. We lied to them with treaties and stole their lands. We killed their buffalo herds that they relied on for the necessities of life, nearly driving them to extinction. Did you ever hear the phrase, "the only good Indian is a dead Indian"? Whose the hater who says that? Or doesn't that count because the sacred white man can do anything he pleases, even if it means dropping depleted uranium on those dirty Arabs, or killing a few million "undeserving" red men? Maybe instead of disrespecting living people, we could start by respecting a few dead ones. Or would that be too much to ask of the all-holy Progress that is destroying this continent, which Indians preserved for thousands of years? (and NOT so that we whites could mess it up!)
Wendy Lang August 18, 2011 at 12:49 AM
I believe the decisions to keep building on open spaces is not well thought out. We need to conserve what land is left so trees and plants can provide oxygen for the community and food for all of Earth's creatures. We should begin thinking with our consciousness instead of with our wallets or bank accounts. We will not be around to spend if all of the resources are eaten up and everything passes on with nothing to keep it going. Let the burial ground remain sacred so the energy can live on in peace!
Steve Premo August 18, 2011 at 03:26 PM
Sorry, Hippie Cowboy, I was trying to engage you in an intelligent discussion. My mistake. I'm not really interested in a flame war, so have a good day!
Brian August 18, 2011 at 07:30 PM
well said mr rick. that said, I still have a problem with using up any more nature in santa cruz than absolutely necessary. Given the history of santa cruz and the ohlone population, i think its necessary to try and preserve as much archeological evidence as possible and show as much respect toward them as possible. Its just sad that any natural preserve is being desecrated in santa cruz by people that ask for more than they really need. Maybe instead of building on whats left of nature, build up on whats existing? Regardless theres only x space of nature left and Y is the real ?
Leroy Rick August 19, 2011 at 01:36 AM
Thank you Brian. I understand that keepng archeological remains intact and or preserving any significant evidence of prior human activity on certain spaces are important. The resulting situation is that they have competing importance among various stakeholders who have vastly different agendas. What does this mean? For one thing, it means that any (potential) solution has to be arrived at by a long drawn out process of negotiation, a type of negotiation that is democratic and one that respects as well as acknowledges all agendas. It may be difficult, close to impossible even, but there needs to be open, honest, respectable debate and discussion. I am not an American but I have lived in the US for over 20 years. And I see this kind of democratic, this Socratic method, of communal talk as prelude to difficult compromise as most relevant way forward.
Brian August 19, 2011 at 08:08 AM
Regardless theres only x space of nature left and Y is the imaginary ?
Psysub Hemp October 09, 2011 at 11:55 PM
Wow, that was intelligent.
patrick d lancelin October 30, 2011 at 04:42 AM
i went there today. later i was alone in my camper and i felt a child cry in my heart, this must be the quest. the knowl. patrick dlancelin
another white guy July 22, 2012 at 04:57 PM
You won't live in a house on a burial site, but you will always live on land taken by genocide... ...not to make light of the desecration of this burial site, but I think it is too often easy to forget where we're living and who and where we've been. 'You're property' is on land our ancestors stole and massacred for not that long ago. Maybe we could start re-thinking private property as a necessarily racist concept. -another white person
Jane July 23, 2012 at 03:45 AM
I think our community needs to be re-educated about our city's history. If more people knew the complete history I think there would be a much louder outcry for this despicable act.


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