While Long Beach State celebrated the groundbreaking of the new Parkside North Dormitory, the Native American community protested the dumping of dirt from the construction at Puvungna.
Despite blowback from the Native American community about dumping that occurred last week, the university has gone forward with more dumping on the 22-acre parcel.
“We don’t bring machines like that, and these people think that that’s OK,” said Maggie Acosta, who is part of the Apache and Yaqui tribes. “[It’s] a complete disregard for what we’re about and what we do here, and I don’t understand that.”
According to Jeff Cook, CSULB associate vice president of strategic communications, contractors inspect the dirt before and after it is transported to Puvungna.
“There are monitors both at the student-housing site as dirt is excavated as well as on the parcel east of Bellflower where the dirt is being relocated,” Cook said in an email.
Around 20 people gathered at Puvungna Friday morning to pray while the dump trucks started coming in. On the other side of campus, around 150 people attended the groundbreaking ceremony, according to construction manager Lisa Salgado.
After the ceremony, trucks transported tons of dirt from the construction site as the Native people watched.
“We work so hard for this land and seeing this, it just hurts,” Xilone Mayahuel said. “It’s the only place that we have, and they’re destroying it.”
Community members were preparing for the annual Ancestor Walk and Bear Ceremony scheduled for next week. Acosta said they just cleared a space for the dancers to walk barefoot on, and the dust might complicate that.
President Jane Close Conoley said a parking committee is considering adding 500 temporary parking spots in the area near the Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden. The suggestion is still under review and has not been finalized.
The Native American community is planning a peaceful demonstration Sept. 28 at the corner of Bellflower Boulevard and Seventh Street at 10 a.m.
— Rachel (@rachlbarnes) September 27, 2019