Early Spring, Sacred Sites and San Francisco

Bridge Walkers will be showing a second time – tba – I’ve gotten great feedback, and helpful reflections. I am really grateful to everyone who came out on March 11, 2011 to the de Young Museum. That date will be etched forever in our minds, for the terrible news of the triple tragedy that struck Japan that fateful day. The installation reflects on volcanos and tsunami in very subtle ways, but rather than a harbinger, these brief visuals were a reflection of the tension in the air, as, in the past 10 years, we have witnessed, as a world, so many stunning events. Never in my work do I point to an end of time, these events are not meant as signals of the end, but, in fact, a glorious calling for a bright future. One that we must shape with our courage to ask things be different, and the effort to make changes.

I learned so much through the process, and I am deeply grateful to those supporters, and the de Young Museum, for guiding, and helping me grow as an artist. I hope the reward will be an enjoyable second installation for the audience and, as some have mentioned, perhaps the Bridge Walkers Installation can travel to share more about Sacred Sites, the Ohlone and California.

The Bridge Walkers Installation has ambient sound, and the sounds of 3 different video monitors – the goal to create a symphony that will in the end, audibly lead the viewer through the four directions in which each piece of the installation is set – so that in the process of viewing, the audience are in fact participating in a creative and spiritual circle. The East is occupied by a Shellmound replica.

I have been back in the editing room, and 3 weeks ago, realized, wait, what was tripping me up a bit were the interviews, in a good way. The two interviews with Ann Marie Sayers, Mutsun Ohlone, and Corrina Gould, Chochenyo Ohlone, offer so much information about Shellmounds, and why the Ohlone work so tirelessly to preserve these ancient sites. I have created a short Bridge Walkers documentary that shares these interviews. I will be posting a WIP cut of the short Bridge Walkers documentary.

Here is a short, 1- minute trailer for Bridge Walkers.


The short Bridge Walkers documentary shares important information about Ohlone Shellmounds, and current efforts by local Ohlone people and supporters to preserve sacred sites. I will post the video here as soon as it is ready.

What has been amazing in working on the Bridge Walkers project is learning about all the Ohlone Sacred Sites right here in the San Francisco and Bay Region that are currently being developed upon or facing development.

This week, in California, the City of Vallejo is threatening to trample upon a 3,500 year old site. Ironically, this particular site in Vallejo is already located within a park. Instead of leaving the space undisturbed, the City of Vallejo has decided to ‘build’ trails over the site. As if the Bay Area were lacking in emergency trails that just haaaave to be made today!

Its frankly very sad that, after years of Ohlone and supporters seeking a resolution with the City of Vallejo, the local government has decided to take a Stand, adding portable toilets on top of the sacred Vallejo Ohlone site as if to add insult to injury.

I pray the Bridge Walkers short can illuminate a larger audience as to the issues that such Sacred Sites represent. Often, the media will portray Native people as Protesters, with little time to cover the incredibly long history involved in and leading up to a ‘protest.’

In fact, the Ohlone have been incredibly peaceful in their protests and have tried hard to educate, and provide the missing information so good people can understand each other.

After all, the Shellmound Peace Walks started several years ago are designed to educate the larger public about these sites, and to correct misinformation about Shellmounds, and their purpose for Ohlone people.

As Corrina Gould, c0-founder of the Shellmound Walk states in the Bridge Walkers documentary, ‘we don’t go into other people’s cemeteries, and people should stop digging up our ancestors just for things to move forward.’

I hope to have the WIP cut up by tomorrow to serve the community by providing a different perspective on this important topic, so that positive, knowledgeable, and skillful discussions can be had between the Ohlone/Sacred Site Protection Community and the City of Vallejo.

Honestly, with a park, there are probably, oh, about a hundred different ways this can be resolved positively.

As Ann Marie Sayers explains in the Bridge Walkers documentary, ‘with communication, a beautiful sharing can be had that benefits education, preservation, and, respecting the original peoples.’

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