O.C. Tollway Could Spoil Burial Site

August 20, 2007

Author: David Reyes

Source: LA Times


Where others see sycamores and sage lining the small valley harboring San Mateo Creek, Rebecca Robles sees her ancestors.

Robles is a member of the Juaneño Band of Mission Indians.

The valley, where her ancestors lived 4,000 years ago in an ancient Acjachemen Nation village called Panhe, is threatened by a proposed six-lane toll road next to the site that could unearth human remains and damage a sacred spot that Juaneños have visited for generations.

"To Indian people, we go to these places because they're our Vatican, our Mecca," said the San Clemente resident. We "go for spiritual renewal."

Juaneños have formed a coalition to save Panhe and plan to urge the California Coastal Commission to stop the proposed Foothill South toll road at its October meeting.