Dozens Protest Excavations — Native American concerns Campo Santo

Posted: January 10th, 2011

By JACOB ADELMAN Associated Press

LOS ANGELES—Officials with a Mexican-American cultural center being built in downtown Los Angeles plan to meet with representatives of the Roman Catholic archdiocese and Indian leaders over concerns that human remains unearthed during construction are being disturbed. . . .

The Archdiocese of Los Angeles owns the construction site that was once the location of a 19th century church and cemetery. Church officials say they were never told that extensive remains were found at the site. . . .

Read the rest of this AP story in the Mercury News . . .

El Pueblo Campo Santo Excavation

Robert Garcia / The City Project . . .

Excavation for LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes continues despite backlash from Native American activists and some archaeologists. . . .

While critics like UCLA’s curator of archaeology at UCLA’s Fowler Museum Wendy Teeter claim that the excavation does not comply with California health code law on cemeteries, according to a LA Plaza press release, “all professional archaeological and oestological procedures and regulations” are being strictly followed.

Excavation for LA Plaza’s garden began in October 2010, and shortly after breaking ground, archaeologists from The Sanberg Group discovered remains from the original cemetery of the neighboring La Placita Church dating from the first half of the 19th century. Records show that the cemetery and the remains within were relocated after its closure in 1844.

“The discovered human remains are in a very fragile state and are being treated carefully and with the respect they deserve,” said Sandy Schneeberger, Registered Professional Archaeologist and President/CEO of The Sanberg Group. “Based on the data recovered to date, the context of the remains appear to be consistent with those found in a historic Catholic church cemetery.” . . .

LA Plaza is set to open its doors in April, and will house a public walkway connecting Main and Spring streets and an outdoor garden with a memorial olive grove honoring those buried in the cemetary, which was the resting place for Native Americans, Spanish, Mexican, and European settlers.

Read the rest of this story in blogdowntown.com . . .

A small crowd — some claiming to have Native American and Spanish ancestors in the first cemetery — gathered on Main Street where a chain-link fence cordons off the construction site. The smell of burning sage wafted through the cool morning air as people placed an altar of shells, oranges and flowers on the sidewalk. Tiny cloth bags of tobacco, tied with yarn, dotted the links of the fence — offerings to the dead.

Read the rest of this story in the Los Angeles Times . . .

Dozens Protest Construction Of Cultural Center Downtown

According to protesters, nearly 700 people were buried at the site and they believe a third could be Native Americans.

Listen to the KNX 1070 CBS News Radio broadcast here . . .

Click here to read more information about Native American concerns regarding the excavation at Campo Santo in El Pueblo on The City Project blog