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Ancestral lands

What does this mean? Whose ancestors? How does a piece of land become “ancestral?” Does this term refer only to certain people and not to others? If a land is “ancestral,” does that mean one has a bigger claim to a particular piece of land more than someone else? Who determines what is “ancestral” and to whom?

A lot has been made in the Valley about ancestral lands, but do somebody’s ancestors count more than somebody else’s? Frequent references have been made recently about restoring “ancestral” lands to the casino folk. Is this justified? Is Camp 4 really land that belonged to some long-ago Chumash Nation who inhabited the Valley? According to the State of California’s Governor’s Office, there was no such thing as a formal or even informal separate government in the Valley.

The title history of Camp 4 reveals some interesting information. According to original documents in my possession, Santa Barbara County recorded the deed in title for the Petroleum Securities Company in 1888. They were responsible for the names Camp 2 and Camp 4. These designations referred to the two pieces of property split by Highway 154 on the northeastern side of the Highway 154 and 246 intersection.

Then in the 1920s, my grandfather bought both properties and deeded them over to my grandmother. She retained ownership of the properties until the late 1960s when she died, and the property passed on to her husband. A few short years later, my grandfather also died and his interest in the property was passed on to their two sons.

Many years later, when those sons were thinking about what to do with their joint properties, they made arrangements to equitably split them. This is how my cousins came to sell Camp 4 to Fess Parker.

Camp 4 was an important part of the ranch. It was our favorite calving ground because of the wide open spaces, the hills that allowed an easy ride to look over the entire property to make sure no cow was having trouble calving. Also there was virtually no brush or dense vegetation or trees where cows could hide their calves from sight. It was ideal. Recently, I heard mention of a wheat field and I don’t know where that would be, as there has never been anything but wild oats, wild rye and other local grassland vegetation. That is, at least until Parker brought in the D9s on the weekend and at night, ripped through the yellow clay pan that is underneath all four corner properties of 154/246 and planted a vineyard. In fact, my father used to talk about the peach orchard on Camp 2 where the trees all drowned because water could not permeate that clay pan. That is probably why there is a wonderful pond that develops in the center of Camp 4 every winter.

So whose ancestors have claim to that land? Is it some group of people who claim they were here first, even though there is no legitimate proof of that? Is it ancestral land to my family because we owned it for so long? Is it perhaps “ancestral” land for the heirs of the Petroleum Securities Company who claimed it in 1888? As you can see, this is a very complicated question.

Can I go back to some place in Ireland and claim “ancestral” rights to land that my ancestors had generations ago, if I could even prove that? I don’t think so and would not be surprised if they just laughed at my attempt altogether as something for nothing! So I am confused as to why a nation that claims equal rights to now sponsor “equal rights” for only some of the people. How is that “equal?”

I know the answer and perhaps you have already said it to yourself; some people have been horribly treated in the past, their land stolen and forced to live somewhere else in terrible conditions. I would ask you to ask yourself, what group of people have not, as a people, been horribly treated, lost their land and forced to live somewhere else in terrible conditions?

In fact, is that not why the majority of U.S. citizens are here today? Is this not the story of the whole of humankind, moving around the globe to find someplace where they can live without oppression? Have we all lost sight of how each group of immigrants was treated when they reached these shores? Even those who would claim to be the first here would have to admit that they originally came from somewhere else. Substantial evidence exists to show the movement of peoples from Asia and parts south to explain the existence of people here.

So, too, small groups of linguistically and politically diverse people inhabited the Valley as in other places. In addition to that fact, when California became a state and was brought into the United States, I understand that there were no specific arrangements to give land to tribes unlike in other states.

This is a complex issue, and I want to make sure you have the facts that I have uncovered as we all deal with the efforts of the local casino folk to take land into trust, i.e. out of the jurisdiction of state and local government. Thus the same rules that apply to all of us would no longer apply to those properties such as the 6.9 and Camp 4.

Currently, Camp 4 has five Certificates of Compliance. This means that under current regulations and determinations by the county obtained by Parker, five parcels can be legally carved out of the total 1,400. I have a copy of the document in my possession. This would obviously conflict with plans to build 150 homes. This was offered to Mr. Armenta at the hearing in D.C. but was not enthusiastically accepted. Why?

I believe that Mr. Armenta’s own words describe best what he may be thinking: “If we don’t buy additional property and get the application submitted to the bureau to get the property into trust, then any future property we purchase will have county regulations on it. That is what we are trying to avoid. We do not want the county telling us what we can do specifically with our property. That is the intent here.” So this is not about housing for people? Armenta goes on to say, “If we don’t get application into trust shortly, then the county will be able to tell us for the next 200 years what we can do with it and I don’t think the tribe wants that.” The conversation goes on referring to after when we do an expansion. My thought is, and I’m sure it is everybody’s thought, that if we were to put 2000 machines in there, which everybody I’ve talked to says the market will allow, our per capita would double.” I also have a map with “Casino#2” on the Camp 4 parcel clearly marked.

So what are we to believe? Is there a history of any verifiably open statements that we can know are the true intentions here? There seem to be numerous declarations in public that decidedly differ from private statements. The future of Camp 4 because of its location and size are significant to the future of our valley. Are we to be bullied into accepting something that will forever destroy what we have taken care of for generations, a haven for those weary of lives elsewhere and those of us who have loved this land longer than most. Are we to tolerate officials who are bought and paid for, who obviously do not have our interests at heart? Are we to accept that our election system, as it currently is, is fatally flawed and will never reflect the Valley’s wishes for itself? Now is the time to change that. Are you ready? We have some good options that we can explore shortly.

The fall

It may be August but right now is the very beginning of the fall Futurity season for reined cow, reining and cutting horses. We are at our first show in Paso Robles for the National Stock Horse Association Futurity and Derby. Holy Cow has three horses showing, one in the Derby, Hes Shinettes CD “Spencer,” and two in the Futurity, AMR One Shiney Cat, “Aston” (Shady Lil Starlight X One Shiney Chic), and Little Red Coupe “Cooper” (Peptoboonsmal X Smarty Fancy Zan).

Spencer, who is a beautiful palomino stallion, is always fun to watch and it will be especially exciting to watch Aston and Cooper. I just met Cooper for the first time this morning, as I purchased him a year ago when my trainer saw him in Texas. I had only seen a video of him and liked what I saw. This morning he wasn’t cleaned up for showing yet, had his long mane in braids and a bag over his tail to keep it clean. He is a lovely red roan, medium color with a very imposing, beautiful stallion head. I really look forward to seeing him “all dressed up” and will do so first thing in the first set.

Aston was the result of breeding to another person’s stallion and then trading their foal by my stallion for the foal by their stallion. I did not get the joy of watching him grow up but I got to meet him a couple of months ago when my trainer brought him down for another show here. He is a stunningly beautiful palomino roan with one blue eye. When I first saw him, I knew he was by my stallion as he looks just like him except for the color. I will see him perform for the first time in the eighth set in herd work. Can’t wait!

Meanwhile, we shortly embark on the fall schedule that includes a number of Futurities in cutting, reining, reined cow horse and the AQHA World Championship that I have three horses qualified for. I am looking forward to see how they all do.

Police report

Two weeks ago, a party was held at Cachuma Saddle by an individual whose name I will not mention here, even though he is not a minor. This was referred to as the Papapalooza Party. Underage kids paid $10, were given a wristband and then sold alcohol for the evening.

The party was busted – thank goodness! What I want to know is why don’t you know what your kids are doing? Is this OK with you? And why is this individual allowed to behave like this? What is his mother doing about it? We don’t need this kind of behavior in our community. Would you agree?