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276[sacredlandscapelist] Re: Gematria

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  • Seth Melchert
    May 16, 1999
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      Barry Carroll wrote:
      > wow i know the location well. that giant neon sherwin williams "cover the
      > world sign" was animated and was spectacular. there was a spot were you
      > could sit and watch the paint pour frona can ,rundown over the globe and
      > drip. psychedelic. we used to sit and smoke.
      > i'm not clear why you are damning the anthropologists? please explain.
      > fantastic to learn that it was a mound site.B


      I do not singularly damn the anthropologists, but I was wanting to be a
      little even-handed instead of just criticizing one over the other. I
      confess, I see many ways of looking at this. In the eyes of many native
      americans, anthropologists are no less invasive of their sacred past
      than any other European, be they developers, writers, or new age
      mystics. As an example (and speaking of brouhaha's), Ishi's brain (Ishi
      was the the last living member of a obscure tribe in northern Califonia,
      found in the early 1900's and brought to San Francisco for a number of
      years) was recently discovered pickled in a jar in the back of the
      Smithsonian Institution. After some acrimony it is being returned to
      California for a respectful burial by representatives of California
      natives. Thus, whether their ancestral grounds are being dug up for
      academic or economic pursuits, it is still a matter of digging up sacred
      ground. It is a touchy subject.

      A builder/colleague of mine, Gene deSchmidt had an encounter with this
      some years ago. He has done extensive work at Tasajara Hot Springs, an
      extremely remote retreat site run by the San Francisco Zen Center in the
      back country of Big Sur south of here. They were excavating for some
      building with a backhoe when they turned up with the remains of a torso.
      They stopped work immediately (as dictated by California law) and
      notified some state bureau. The next day two native representatives
      showed up (one was part Esalen, the native band in that area), quite on
      edge and not friendly at all. Apprently such discoveries happen on a
      daily basis, and the usual response from the culprits is, shall we say,
      not cooperative.

      In the highly charged meeting Gene tried hard to receive the
      representatives with dignity and deference. They were walking around the
      site, looking over the bigger picture of the place. Passing through the
      garden, a Gloden Eagle suddenly swooped down in front of them (as I
      recall, Gene said it was nearly close enough to reach out and touch)
      quite literally "spread eagle", and dropped a killed rabbit at their

      After a stunned moment, the native reps dropped their animosity and
      declared that this was a sign that (for a change) builder and property
      owners were conducting themselves properly, and they resolved the
      situation quickly. The body was given a burial next the to site where
      Suzuki Roshi was buried, near the garden where the eagle had appeared.

      Gives me goose bumps just to think of it again.

      OK, a bit of a digression, but I hope illustrative of my
      response...anytime we are dealing with the sacred, different rules may
      apply, and I do not wish to jump in condemning one group faster than

      > >
      > >speaking of mounds and all, there is a small local brouhaha right here
      > >in the Bay Area, Emeryville to be precise. A short distance from my home
      > >is the site of the old Emeryville shellmound - I mentioned it in passing
      > >here some time ago. It once measured something like 60 feet high, 300
      > >feet long, with a large flat top. It is attributed to the Ohlone, the
      > >local native residents of this area at the time of European invasion,
      > >but it was not in use by the locals, so who's to know who really built
      > >it. As I mentioned before, it was one of some 400 some known mounds to
      > >ring the Bay, but was certainly to largest. It's located on the banks of
      > >Temescal Creek.
      > >
      > >Anyway...after being used as a platform for an amusement park around the
      > >turn of the century it was eventually bulldozed. Anthropologists from UC
      > >Berkeley barely had a chance to survey the contents. Well, Emeryville is
      > >rapidly shedding its industrial identity and has become a mecca for
      > >malls, high tech and bio tech companies, condo's, upscale lofts, etc.
      > >There is a large (upscale) furniture outlet coming to the old Sherwin
      > >Williams paint factory site. Turns out it is smack dab on the old mound
      > >site. When excavation started turning up bnes - lots of bones - work was
      > >halted. Seems that a single Ohlone representative was consulted who
      > >promptly gave permission for the construction work to proceed, damn the
      > >anthropologists...beter to have the bones of ancestors crunched by
      > >machines than be picked over and stored by post-docs and intellectuals.
      > >
      > >As of right now, I have not seen the crews continue work, but at the
      > >same time I do not hold much hope that anything more will be saved.
      > >
      > >It sends through me echoes of spirits and paths once walked over the
      > >land I now call my home.
      > >
      > >seth

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