Members of the Save Puvungna Coalition are looking forward to their day in court, which is scheduled for Monday, December 12, 1994, in the Los Angeles Superior Courtroom of Judge Jerold A. Krieger. The trial is expected to last a week or more.
It has been over a year since the Preliminary Injunction was issued, ordering that Cal State Long Beach officials be “restrained and enjoined from causing any further disturbance and from barring appropriate Native American access to the land at issue,” the 22 acres of Puvungna along Bellflower Boulevard on the Cal State Long Beach campus. Refusing to deal with the facts of the case, Cal State officials have resorted to legal maneuvers, appealing the Injunction all the way to the California Supreme Court. These appeals have been rejected, and Cal State is now forced to deal with the facts of the case and the reality of the Indian opposition to their planned strip mall on the sacred site of Puvungna.
Meanwhile, the bill for Cal State Long Beach’s “Indian War” continues to grow. The total acknowledged by campus officials has grown to $1.6 million, as they allocated another $250,000 from the campus General Fund to pay their share of the legal expenses. The General Fund is the state allocation from the taxpayers and student fees and is intended to be used for instruction and instructional support.
California’s Native American Heritage Commission and the individual Indian plaintiffs have been busy working with lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Constitutional Law in preparation for the trial. This has been a difficult process. The lawyers for Cal State, apparently realizing that they have no case, have resorted to tactics which amount to heavy-handed harassment. Plaintiffs have been required to prove their Indian ancestry and heritage, to list all the times they have prayed at Puvungna, to list all their friends and relatives who have practiced the Chungichnish religion, as so forth. Although the intent of such questions may be to wear down the plaintiffs , the result has only been to strengthen their resolve to preserve Puvungna.
The movement to Save Puvungna continues to grow in spite of the hostility of campus officialdom. The Indian Peace Caravan to Chiapas, the Southern California Indian Student Alliance, the Australian Indigenous Performing Arts Coalition, a delegation from the Salish people of Idaho and Montana, and many others have visited Puvungna and joined the spiritual vigil of the Tongva people.
The Save Puvungna Coalition continues to hold regular meetings on the first and third Wednesday evenings of every month, and is continuing to hold its regular prayer at the sacred site.
To find the Puvungna prayer vigil and strategy meetings: Enter the CSULB campus from Bellflower Blvd onto State University Drive, take your first left onto Earl Warren Drive, then another left into the parking lot. The fenced off Organic Gardens will be up the hill to your left, the prayer vigil and strategy meetings will be off to your right, in the Eucalyptus Grove near the northwest corner of the Parking Lot.
Mark your calender for the Puvungna Trial
Monday, December 12, 1994
Los Angeles Superior Court, Department 84
111 North Hill Street, Los Angeles
For the latest information call the Puvungna Hotline:
At a hearing this morning to deal with the University’s failure to comply with the discovery process, Judge Keiger took the Puvungna case off the court calender. Although the plaintiffs and ACLU have been fully complying with discovery, the University’s lawyers have refused to answer any questions or produce any witnesses. As a result, the case has been taken off calender while the judge considers what actions are necessary to compell the University to comply. This is essentially a sanction against the University, since the injunction will remain in effect and the University alleges that the injunction is costing them money. As soon as we learn more about the new trial date, we will put it on the hotline.
For the latest information, call the Puvungna Hotline 310-985-5364
This document posted: July 18, 1995.