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Vallejo City Leaders, Tribes To Settle Burial Grounds Dispute

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Glen Cove Waterfront Park

Glen Cove Waterfront Park. (glencovevallejo.com)

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VALLEJO (CBS SF) — A dispute over proposed improvements to a Vallejo park that contains an Indian burial site is on the verge of being settled.

The Vallejo City Council is scheduled to approve an agreement Thursday evening between the Greater Vallejo Recreation District, the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation and the Cortina Band of Wintun Indians.

The two negotiating tribes also must approve the agreement.

The district planned to build a bathrooms and a parking lot at the 15-acre Glen Cove Waterfront Park at the end of Whitesides Drive in Vallejo.

Local Native American groups camped out at the park for nearly 100 days beginning in mid-April to protest what they considered a desecration of the 3,500 year-old, shell mound sacred burial site. The encampment drew some complaints from the park’s neighbors.

The two Wintun Indian tribes were officially recognized by the American Heritage Commission as the most likely descendants of the Native Americans buried at the site.

The compromise that will go before the council tonight involves the execution of a cultural and conservation easement and a settlement agreement and memorandum of understanding.

Under the agreement, the bathrooms will be eliminated and the parking lot will be downsized and re-oriented or relocated away from the sacred sites on the property.

There also will be no handling of human remains without formal consultation with and approval of the tribes, no motorized vehicles, dumping or salvage and no new construction, roads or trails.

The park also will be closed and all Native American groups must immediately leave the premises.

Corrina Gould, spokeswoman for the Committee to Protect Glen Cove, said the cultural agreement is an important victory, but the committee still has concerns.

“We will be communicating this to the tribes, and we have faith that they will take all necessary measures to ensure that ancestral remains and cremations are left undisturbed,” Gould said.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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