SHNS: A new alliance of seven American Indian tribes on Thursday demanded a role in restoring Hetch Hetchy Valley, an idea under study by a team of state officials.
Calling themselves the Tribal Forum of Indigenous Peoples, the group formed in April in response to growing public debate about the future of Hetch Hetchy. The reservoir in Yosemite National Park serves San Francisco, and it has again become a serious target for conservationists.
It was during a workshop by the state research team Thursday that the tribal group announced that if the valley is restored, they want a role in the work.
They also want to be in charge of managing the restored valley, because they fear that hidden cultural resources will be destroyed.
“Our concern is for the protection of what’s there, the burial sites, grave goods and village sites,” said Jay Johnson, a member of the group and a Miwok and Paiute Indian who was born in Yosemite Valley.
“As long as the water is there, our villages are protected. If the water is removed, that’s going to be one of the biggest issues that we’ve ever faced. Right now I would oppose any type of development other than restoration.”