Since 2015, the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band of Costanoan/Ohlone have been vehemently opposing a proposed quarry in central California that will eventually destroy four sacred mountains and cause serious ecological damage to Juristac, an area that is the heart of the tribe’s ancestral lands.
The proposed sand and gravel quarry would be located on and around the former Sargent Ranch in Santa Clara and San Benito counties near Gilroy, about 40 miles southeast of San Jose. The Debt Acquisition Company of America, a wealthy developer group from San Diego bought the land at auction in 2015 and plans to develop 317 acres of this sacred area.
For the Amah Mutsun, Juristac is the home of a powerful spiritual being known as Kuksui. Juristac translates as “Place of the Big Head.” Big Head dances and other healing and renewal ceremonies took place here for centuries. The entire area contains ceremonial sites, cultural sites, burial sites, villages, bedrock mortars (the holes that are made from centuries of pounding acorns, seeds, and other gathered foods into the rock), and other items of significance to the Amah Mutsun people. “The destruction and domination of Amah Mutsun culture, spirituality, environment, and people never ended,” tribal chairman Valentin Lopez states. “It evolved into these destructive and dominating projects we see today.”