Help Save the Ancestral Saltwater Geechee Lands on Sapelo Island, Georgia
This petition had 1,447 supporters
Please help with the passage of a Georgia Senate Resolution that will create the Senate Preservation of Sapelo Island Study Committee
2 WHEREAS, Greater Sapelo Island of McIntosh County, Georgia, is this state's fourth largest
3 barrier island and the home of important endangered wildlife, treasured historical structures,
4 and the vanishing culture of a significant community consisting of the Geechee Gullah
5 people; and the Preservation of Sapelo Island and the Culture and Traditions of the Geechee Gullah People.
This Bill presented by Senator Donzella James will help preserve the unique Sapelo Island environment and set aside the traditional land of the Geechee Gullah people and save that land for the benefit of their members and to further preserve their culture.
Here is the information on the proposed Senate Resolution Georgia-2013-SR11-Introduced.pdf (Senator Donzella James) for the 2013 Georgia General Assembly. Greater Sapelo Island of McIntosh County, Georgia, is the State’s fourth largest barrier island and the home of important endangered wildlife, treasured historical structures, and the vanishing culture of a significant community consisting of the Geechee Gullah people.
Approximately 97 percent of Sapelo Island is owned by the State of Georgia and is managed by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, while the remaining 3 percent of the island is under private ownership.
The Geechee Gullah people are the direct descendants of the slaves of Thomas Spalding who was the original landowner of Sapelo Island and following the conclusion of the Civil War, ownership of designated lands on the island were legally transferred to theses original freed men and women.
In 1983, Georgia law established the Sapelo Island Heritage Authority for the purpose of preserving the culture in the endangered historical areas of Sapelo Island. Since that time a severe erosion of Geechee Gullah culture and heritage has continued to the point that it is in a state of near extinction and extensive, unregulated commercial development of the island, without ethical review or oversight, threatening not only the Geechee Gullah people but also the island’s natural resources and wildlife.
Such development has been for the personal gain of the few at the expense of all of Georgia’s citizens; and title to lands of the island is a matter of legal dispute, and the state’s current ownership may be the result of unjust enrichment at the expense of the Geechee Gullah people.
Sapelo has an abundance of historical property and archaeological sites that are in need of state funding for renovation and promotion as tourist attractions. Much of the island is composed of natural areas which need to be under particular land use policies and protected as habitats for wildlife, nesting birds, and turtles in order to protect the beauty and tranquility of this special state resource.
Many concerned citizens, environmentalists groups, business and property owners, and the original Geechee Gullah residents are gravely concerned about the future of this beautiful island and the survival of its Native People.
Before it is to late and the portent environmental, archaeological and historical heritage of the island are lost forever, the State of Georgia needs to immediately undertake an extensive study and proposal development regarding the funding, governance, and future of Sapelo Island.
Since much of the historical areas of Sapelo Island are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Federal Statutes regulate the development of those sites; 36 CFR 60.
Please read the following links:
Please help us by signing our petition to stop illegal land acquisition, of Sapelo Island, by state, county and private individuals in violation of individual Constitutional rights and violation of Federal Statutes.
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