After a 98-day on-site prayer vigil, the Committee to Protect Glen Cove yesterday announced a victory in its struggle to protect the sacred burial grounds of Sogorea Te/Glen Cove.

According to a committee press release, the Yocha Dehe and Cortina tribes on July 19 established a cultural easement and settlement agreement with the City of Vallejo and the Greater Vallejo Recreation District, setting a legal precedent for granting Native peoples jurisdiction over their sacred sites and ancestral lands. The cultural easement would forever guarantee the tribes legal oversight in all activities at the site. In exchange, the tribe would agree to pay the city $100,000.

The deal allows for a scaled-back version of the waterfront park project to proceed. Terms include elimination of a formerly planned restroom facility and relocation of a “downsized” parking lot to an area tested to confirm that it contains no human remains or cultural remnants.

While the specifics of the deal leave some ambiguity about how GVRD’s park development project can and cannot proceed, Committee to Protect Glen Cove member Corrina Gould (Chochenyo/Karkin Ohlone) said she had faith that the tribes would take the necessary steps to protect ancestral remains from being disturbed.

“We appreciate and are humbled by the vast support that we have received in protecting our ancestors,” Gould said. “It is our responsibility to continue to do the work to make certain that all of our sacred places are protected.”

The 3,500-year old site continues to be spiritually important to California tribes. On April 14, local Native Americans and supporters began a 24-hour prayer vigil at Glen Cove to prevent the Greater Vallejo Recreation District from bulldozing and grading a large portion of the sacred site and constructing bathrooms and a parking lot.

The two city agencies will vote on the agreement later today. The Committee to Protect Glen Cove said a closing ceremony for the encampment will be held on July 30.

For background information, read our past news stories on the struggle to protect Glen Cove, as well as our sacred site report, Shellmounds of the Bay Area.