CA State Parks Must Honor & Respect Indigenous People and Nature - Rename, Diversify, Heal

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It is time to finally honor the Indigenous People of California.

Stonewall Peak, named by Confederate sympathizers for General Stonewall Jackson, is one of the most prominent points in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park in San Diego County.

The mountain held a powerful place in the lives of the Kumeyaay. Before the world was wounded, a fearsome beast lurked within a granite overhang on the mountain's western side. The peak must be renamed by the Kumeyaay People themselves.

California State Parks needs to reject the commemoration of racism and honor the Indigenous People whose families continue to suffer from it.

Therefore, we call on California State Parks to:

1. Rename Stonewall Peak to reflect Kumeyaay values, not those of the Confederacy. In addition, collaborate with local Indigenous Peoples to replace all place names that dishonor civil rights, equality, and people of color with names that honor the legacies of the Indigenous cultures have enriched the land with their presence.

2. Go beyond performance actions (acknowledging racism, increasing diversity funding, etc.) to implement true transformation, including:
- structural changes to ensure diversity within public programs
- make parks more accessible and welcoming to people of color
- award more leadership/ranger positions to people of color
- honor Indigenous history throughout state parks
- recognize the forced removal of Indigenous People from park lands

3. The Kumeyaay did not use poisons, chain saws, and giant grinding machines, as State Parks is now using in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park to force Nature to comply with their demands. Indigenous Peoples worked with Nature because they respected its power - California needs to do the same and not use legal loop holes to avoid proper environmental reviews as was done with the "reforestation" project at Cuyamaca Rancho. Indigenous Peoples and other community members must be allowed to provide input as required under the California Environmental Quality Act which State Parks violated in 2009. Therefore, the Cuyamaca Rancho "reforestation" project needs to be stopped until a full environmental assessment has been completed.

Details about how State Parks is violating Nature at Cuyamaca can be found here:

PHOTO: Stonewall Peak. Foreground shows damage caused by an out-of-control prescribed burn - the spread of invasive, flammable cheat grass and damaged oaks that had survived the 2003 Cedar Fire.