300 years ago the Ohone roamed freely on what we call the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard. There were several hills all naturally formed. These hills were all leveled by the Navy to accommodate the activities the NAVY deemed best in the interest of the Nation - we all proudly call the United States of America. Sacred Burial grounds were destroyed and the sacred remains desecrated.
The Navy starting in 1866 took the 640 acres over by eminent domain. Much before that the land was stolen from the Ohlone. To date, 18 treaties signed by the United States and the First People of California have not been ratified. In 1991 the Muwekma Ohlone, the First People of the Bay Area exercised their Right of First Refusal following the Base Closure Act that placed a number of bases as access properties by the Department of Defense.
Not once have the City and County of San Francisco mentioned the Muwekma Ohlone and its exercising its Right of First Refusal linked to Hunters Point Naval Shipyard at any event or meeting. I have brought this fact to the attention of the Mayor's Office of Economic Development and the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency. Stated the fact before the San Francisco Board of Supervisors several times. Even briefed the Mayor of San Francisco - the Honorable Willie L. Brown in the presence of the Muwekma Ohlone Chairperson Rosemary Cambra, Espanola Jackson the Muwekma tribal liaison for San Francisco, a former Director of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission - Mr. Moran.
Around 1806 Lewis and Clark spurred by President Jefferson reached the West Coast and got their first glimpse of the Pacific Ocean as United States citizens. The First People roamed freely the land what we call California. The United States had not yet acquired California from Mexico. It is always so disheartening when again and again the First People get shafted. Then the First People helped Lewis and Clark. The strangers accepted the hospitality and were grateful when on more then one occasion their very lives were spared.
Soon, the land that the First People believe belongs to no one but to the Great Spirit was stolen and abused. Forests were cut down indiscriminately. The buffalo, the bear, the deer killed to extinction. It has always been about GREED and the finger can be pointed to those who pursue materialism to the detriment of universal values - many of them not written in books but guided by the eternal SPIRIT.
Several resolutions passed by the San Francisco Human Rights Commission, the Board of Supervisors of the City and County of San Francisco, United States Sixth Army, the State of California, other prominent organizations and institutions have affirmed the Muwekma Ohlone and their rights as the First People of San Francisco and the Bay Area.
The Muwekma were on the Federal Register till 1927 and then illegally removed by a Bureau of Indian Affairs agent named L.A. Dorrington. Today, the Muwekma have been placed on a priority list to be put back on the Federal Register. You may visit: www.muwekma.org and learn more about the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe and its petition in Federal Court to be put back on the Federal Register.
Today, one can freely climb the Bayveiw Hill by Executive Park and look down on the City and County of San Francisco. One can also take a good look at Hunters Point Naval Shipyard. The Shipyard is NOT in good shape - many dipliated buildings stand vacant. The Shipyard is one of the most polluted pieces of Federal Land in the Nation and placed on the Superfund List. Only the worst of the worst polluted toxic sites are placed on the Superfund Land List. Some how our San Francisco City officials cannot comprehend that the toxic sites much of it contaminated by radioactive material should be cleaned in toto before any of the parcels can be developed.
Hunter Point Naval Shipyard should NOT be developed for habitation unless it meets standards set by the California Environmental Quality Act. Other standards set by the Federal Government. Most of all standards that the environmental conscious constituents of San Francisco accept. The City and County of San Francisco can go ahead and make some plans now but as soon as the lame duck Mayor is out of office - most of the on going negotiations will go out the door. Lennar Corporation and Bechtel Corporation do not have the TRUST of the constituents of San Francisco and much more Bayview Hunters Point.
Several Shellmounds have been identified on Bayview Hill. Espanola Jackson a resident of Bayview, Mr. Sigg who worked as a gardener for San Francisco for over 35 years, Rosemary Cambra the Muwekma Chairperson, several others saved the Bayview Hill from development and helped facilitate San Francisco Park and Recreation to buy the land and save it for prosperity. Shellmounds are sacred burial grounds and much of Hunters Point Naval Shipyard contained Shellmounds.
The NAVY nor the City and County of San Francisco has deemed necessary to archeologically survey Hunters Point Naval Shipyard. This is a disgrace and an insult to humanity. Before any Implementation Plan can be formulated an archaeological survey is a must. I mentioned this before the Hunters Point Restoration Advisory Board not too long ago.
Today Lennar which has a very bad track record in Florida and other places has signed a pact with Mayor Willie L. Brown to develop Hunters Point Naval Shipyard. The shipyard is toxic with hot spots containing toxins, which have and can adversely impact the health of thousands. In some areas methane gas has accumulated and waiting to find some crevice to make its way - hit the atmosphere and explode.
Not long ago sporadic fires raged all over Hunters Point a few hundred feet from the Boys and Girls Club on Kiska Road. No one took responsibility for this fire and to this day many children and adults suffer from the after affects of this fire and its toxic smoke.
Fighting the Federal Government is a cumbersome task and taking the NAVY to court has not been easy. If the City and County takes responsibility to develop any parcel of land on Hunter Point Naval Shipyard they will bear responsibility for much of the adverse action perpetrated on the constituents of San Francisco and others who have been adversely affected by any exposure of toxic elements on the shipyard in the past, present and future.
From about 1946 to 1970 the Naval Radiological Defense Laboratory (NRDL) was active at the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard. Bombs assembled at Hunters Point have killed thousands in places during World War II. Experiments on humans and animals speak of a time when such actions were carried on in the name of patriotism.
Mostly African Americans fell prey to radiation. This community has been exposed to asbestos, lead, and other toxic material. Today at Hunters Point just a few feet outside the shipyard the African American community suffers not only from the toxins that spew into the air from the shipyard but the foul air from the raw sewage plant, the old energy plants, and the toxins from the diesel vehicles that ply the near by routes in the thousands.
Since 1974 the Naval Shipyard has been placed in a caretaker status and is managed by the NAVY from San Diego. Lennar and Bechtel Corporation hand in glove with San Francisco Redevelopment Agency are trying to take control of the shipyard to develop it. We have seen the writing on the wall and will continue to monitor the sad state of affairs.
The shipyard was once developed and as many as 10,000 personnel worked on the Hunters Point Shipyard. In 1974 the shipyard closed. The shipyard has some deteriorating infrastructure. In fact the City has permitted several businesses to operate on the shipyard. Yet it now want to term the shipyard " raw land ". The land was ripe not only with better infrastructure than that of the City and County of San Francisco but built with quality products to withstand a couple of decades of use.
January 13, 2003 at 100 Whitney Circle a dog and pony show was put on by the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency with the Hunters Point Citizens Advisory Committee trying to sell the constituents a ploy of sorts - "some community package" supposedly to benefit them. African Americans and others from Hunters Point and the Bayview have learned from lessons that happened at Fillmore. Today we are worse off then when Dr. Martin Luther King promised that all would be well. Then we knew our enemy today some of us have chosen to sell our own sisters and brothers. The Almighty Dollar can do many things but it should not bring down the community that has suffered so much and deserves the respect it has earned.
On the anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King once again we are reminded that we should be more then vigilant. Stand up for what is right as a community and watch out for those that disunite us.
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