Remember the California Coastal Commission is holding their monthly meeting on April 13-15th at the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors chambers. They only accept public comments the first few days and the public is welcomed to attend. There will be discussion at this meeting on the outcome of the beach fees.
February 22, 2016
California Coastal Commission
45 Fremont Street – Suite 200
San Francisco CA, 94105
RE: California Coastal Commission’s planned $8.00 fee and its impact on the Kashia Pomo
In the 1980’s, I lived in Timber Cove not far from the Kashia Pomo reservation. My family and I established a close friendship with some Pomo families and we are all still good friends. We have attended and still attend their ceremonies, funerals and we visit with each other often.
The spiritual leader, Mr. Lorin Smith, travels regularly to Bodega Head and has for as long as I’ve known him. Mr. Tom Smith, Lorin’s ancestor, is buried at Bodega Head. Lorin travels there to speak with his great grandfather.
If the California Coastal Commission plans on collecting $8.00 a day for people to visit coastal areas, few Pomo’s I know would be able to afford this fee, much less the $65 for a year. Consequently, they would not be able to visit their ancestral grounds.
These visits to the ancestors along the coast are vital to the Pomo culture which is a living culture. It is imperative that the Kashia Pomo have access to, at the very least, Bodega Head, Goat Rock and Stump Beach.
As for the importance of Goat Rock, Lorin told me that legends say the Kashia Pomo hoisted their dead to the top of Goat Rock with leather ropes where they returned to the sky. Myths, legends and stories passed down from generation to generation are important in keeping a culture alive.
The land around Stump Beach is where Lorin and his assistants find the herbs needed for healings, teas, and medicine. They also gather seaweed on the shore which they dry and eat. This too highlights the need for the rights of indigenous people to be respected.
Ultimately, this issue is about the rights of all people to freely access the nourishing qualities of the natural world. Our spirits, along with our mental and physical well-being must have this connection.
My husband is a surfer and calls the sea his “church.” He teaches at a school in Santa Rosa for mentally ill and emotionally disturbed adolescents. If he had to pay every time he surfed for coastal access, his well-being would be compromised.
He also takes students on field trips to the ocean. Most have never spent time on the coast. Being there calms and relaxes them.
This is of course, true for everyone who seeks solace on the coast for a break from our fast-paced world.
Pamela Stone Singer