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Native American Remains Delay New Housing Development

Audio

Aired 8/22/11

As developers explore where to build new housing in San Diego’s back country, they're coming up against an increasingly common hurdle. Native Americans inhabited the whole area, and their burial sites are turning up on plots where new homes are planned.

Meadowood is one of four large developments proposed for Interstate 15 north of Escondido at the junction of Highway 76. It would add more than 800 homes in an area where the County’s new General Plan Update calls for more growth. But plans are on hold, following the recent discovery of Indian bone fragments on the site.

David Singleton is with California’s Native American Heritage Commission. He said there may be as many as 10,000 Native American archeological sites already on record in San Diego County

“Our recommendation,” he said, “is that the developer avoid those areas where it is known there are sacred sites, or burial grounds. It’s a crime included in the California criminal code for a developer to destroy a native American burial site.”

Singleton said one of his goals is to provide developers with information about where those sacred sites are. However, he said some local tribes are reluctant to reveal that information.

Singleton said Native Americans are not against development, and are willing to negotiate with developers, and in this case the Luiseno Indians will negotiate with Pardee.

If the development cannot be moved, a possible option is to find a suitable alternative location where bones can be buried, with a guarantee the ground will not be disturbed again.

The San Diego Planning Commission will resume hearings on the Meadowood plan on October 7th.

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