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Glenn Cove--Sacred Indian Burial Ground
By Gary R Varner   

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An excerpt from Water from the Sacred Well by Gary R. Varner

Glenn Cove is not a typical “sacred site.” It is not a holy well, it is not a hot spring, it does not serve as a vortex nor is it associated with supernatural lore. However sacred it is. Glen Cove is located in Vallejo, California along the Carquinez Straight which empties into the San Pablo Bay. Glen Gove is an Indian burial ground belonging to the Patwin, Ohlone, Wintu, Yokut, Miwok and other tribes of the San Francisco Bay area. Glen Cove is also an endangered site.

A large village site and shell midden neaby has already been paved over and a shopping mall built on top of it.
Glen Cover is slated for development as a regional park with bathrooms and picnic tables scheduled. Periodic protests have been held with more planned in the future by Native Americans who wish for the site to be left alone in its pristine condition.

The site is truly beautiful. On a recent visit in August 2010, I observed a wide variety of native plants and fowl such as the Blue Heron, Egrets, large flocks of Red-winged Black Birds, Mallards and pelican. The top of the bluff overlooking the water is a massive burial site. The Greater Valley Recreation District, the entity planning the “improvements” wants to cover over the burial ground to preserve it. However, as one member of the Vallejo Intertribal Council said, “They want to give us a little area with a cap on top of it and say it’s a sacred site. As indigenous people, we believe our ancestors need to see the sun rising in the east, that’s why they’re always buried facing east, to see the morning star. They dug up grandma and left grandpa. That’s their ‘compromise.’ There is no compromise on sacred sites and burial grounds.”

Like many sacred sites of Native Americans, water plays an important part of what has truly made the site “sacred.” Today the local tribes continue to visit Glen Cove to conduct ritual and to pay respect to their ancestral dead. It is not too difficult to turn your back on the large houses surrounding this sacred site and see it the way the Native Americans did hundreds and thousands of years ago. As I was leaving the beach at Glen Cove, I noticed a large piece of ochre which had obviously eroded from the bluff. Ochre has been used for untold millennia to stain the bodies and bones of the deceased prior to burial. Insignificant on its own this piece of the earth was to me a direct link between people separated for 6,000 years.

 


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