Congressional Bill to Protect Sacred Lands

July 15, 2003

Source: Indian Country Today

On July 15, 2003 the Indian Country Today reported that "for the second time in two years a bill in the California legislature is attempting to amend an existing law to protect at least a portion of California Indian sacred sites... Assembly Bill 974, authored by Assemblyman Joe Nation, D-San Rafael, is seeking to amend the California Coastal Act, which was enacted in 1976 to include protection of American Indian sacred sites in the coastal zone, as well as general archaeological or paleontological sites... The coastal zone includes all 1,100 miles, north to south, of the California Coast and extends anywhere from a few hundred feet inland to as much as 15 miles in some areas with deep river inlets and estuaries, though it usually averages somewhere between one to two miles inland... The bill has already passed the state Assembly on June 4 by a vote of 43 to 4 with 39 Democrats and four Republicans voting in favor of the bill. However, what is perhaps an interesting factor is the abstention of a large number of Republicans in the 80-member Assembly during the vote on this bill."