SANTA CRUZ MOUNTAINS (KPIX 5) – A South Bay church has apologized for a messy ritual involving olive oil on Mount Umunhum over the weekend.
Members of Jubilee Bridge Church in Morgan Hill poured olive oil over the mountain’s high point rock summit on Sunday. The area is also a sacred Native American site.
The Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District said the group did not have a permit for the gathering. On the park district’s website, officials say group permits are not being offered, due to the high numbers of visitors to the area.
Crews were sent out to clean up the oil.
Responding to complaints posted on their Facebook page, pastors Adam & Michelle Bernal said, “We are truly sorry for the Organic Olive oil that was placed all over the rock on Mount Umunhum and accept full responsibility for the cleanup efforts that Open Space has taken to clean up the site. It was not our purpose or intent to disrespect or desecrate the Ohlone Indians or land in any way.”
The church went on to say, “We extend our apologies out first the Amah Mutsun tribe and all of the Ohlone Indians. Secondly we apologize and thank the Rangers and Open Space for the quick work that was done to clean up the rock and working with us to resolve this matter. Thirdly we apologize to all the community, we have heard your outcry’s and understand your concerns.”
Part of the former Almaden Air Force Station, Mount Umunhum was closed to the public for decades until last September.