Letter: Mining project would destroy native culture

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Hello, my name is Lucia Nowak and I live in Santa Barbara, Calif. I’m currently a junior in high school and a proud sister of my brother who has Down’s syndrome. Because of my relationship with my brother and all that he has gone through to be able to have access to his community, I want to do my part and be a voice of others who are also experiencing hard times in their communities. 

Because of recent events, I am writing to protest against the mining project that is both a cultural and an environmental threat to the Amah Mutsun tribe’s sacred land. History has taught us that European colonization changed the lives of Indigenous North Americans. For example, the colonization caused Native Americans to lose their land, not able to practice their religion, and enforced laws against them. This shows that colonization across North America is bad because it took the rights away from these people which violated their culture. In addition, colonization led to slavery, a caste system, and it brought new diseases. 

The Amah Mutsun Tribal Band is protesting against the mining project south of Gilroy because they want to protect their lands. For example, if the Juristac mining project gets approved, some potential consequences would be destroying their home and religious land. This is not OK because it could cause permanent damage to the land.

As I previously mentioned, mining on sacred land would have negative effects. For example, when California became a state in 1850, the attack on native Californians intensified in some places to the point of genocide, and many tribal people suppressed their identities simply to survive. This shows that Native Americans were forced to give up their culture or be killed. In addition, because so many people suppressed their culture, it started dying. In order to prevent more people from losing their culture, the mining project cannot happen. 

Thank you for reading this letter. It’s very important to me that we all do our best to preserve people’s cultures and their way of life. I hope you publish this article to inform people so that history doesn’t repeat itself.

Lucia Nowak

Santa Barbara

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