Monday, July 21, 2008

While we Wait - News from California Indians

One Juaneo group drops opposition to proposed freeway

Posted: July 21, 2008
by: Victor Morales

IRVINE, Calif. - A faction of a southern California Indian tribe has agreed to drop its support of a lawsuit that is trying to halt the construction of a highway that could disturb Indian historical and sacred sites in return for $350,000.

A group of the Juaneno Band of Mission Indians signed a letter of intent with Irvine-based Transportation Corridor Agencies, which wants to build the six-lane toll highway in Orange County and would abut an Indian village and cemetery.

David Belardes, the chairman of the group, said his rationale for making the deal was based on prior experience.

''It's the writing on the wall. It's going to happen in some way, shape or form,'' he said. ''This way, it keeps us in the process. We are trying to protect as much as we can.''

Belardes also said the funds will go toward ethnography studies, a museum facility and cultural programming. The studies will help his group of about 300 members gain federal recognition and record the group's history and culture, he said.

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