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An aerial view of Naples, on the Gaviota Coast.

William B. Dewey

An aerial view of Naples, on the Gaviota Coast.


Santa Barbara, Annex This Land!

Naples, Foreclosed On and Scheduled for Auction Today, Is Sacred


I am writing this letter to all those who call Santa Barbara their home. I address this letter to all government representatives for the City and County of Santa Barbara, and to each Spanish speaking person, to every English speaking person, and to every Chumash Indian regardless of his or her tribal affiliation,

How did this great city of Santa Barbara come to be? Do you really want to know the true history of Santa Barbara, the shameful history, of how the city was formed?

I am 79 years old and a tribal elder of the Barbareno Chumash Council. I am a direct descendant of Beato Temicucat, who was Chief of Dos Pueblos and the Gaviota Coast in 1784. The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History can corroborate this historical fact.

I’ve spent the last 40 years of my life scouring the Santa Barbara Mission Archives, the National Archives, the Santa Barbara County Recorder’s official records, ancient courthouse documents, and have unearthed cans and cans of worms – worms that speak of injustice, of abuse of power under color of office and of the cloth, of cheating, of stealing, of the systemic dismantling and decimation of an ancient culture, of mass murder – all for the purpose of grabbing lands from the Chumash Indians, of enslaving the Chumash, of killing the Chumash, and of erasing the misdeeds of those perpetrating criminals. These events involved people who were the founding fathers of Santa Barbara and whose portraits adorn City and County office buildings, and after whom streets were named.

I tape-recorded interviews with old timers who are no longer around who witnessed things that are barely a footnote in history books, or not even mentioned.

I filmed Indian grave markers, on church lands, knocked down by bulldozers so they can deny Chumash burials were ever there.

Over my lifetime, I’ve walked across every inch of the county, along the coast from Carpinteria to Gaviota, and inland through San Marcos Pass to Santa Ynez and beyond. I know the canyons and ravines of Los Padres National Forest, and the secret hideouts of Chumash running away from slavery, who were hunted for sport like wild animals.

I have made it my business to identify Chumash villages and burial sites because I am Chumash. I love my culture and my people, and I want with every cell of my being to feel connected to my Chumash ancestors, and to be a strong link to pass this heritage on to my descendants, and the generations that follow will them.

The Naples Project on the Gaviota Coast will be sold at public auction on Thursday, May 13, 2010 at 1:00 pm on the courthouse steps. The current owner, Matt Osgood, has failed to make payment on his trust deed loan, and the starting bid will be $78,410,682.33.

This particular parcel of land to be sold in foreclosure this Thursday, plus the adjacent Dos Pueblos Ranch, which is not part of the foreclosure sale, is where my great grandfather, Chief Beato Temicucat, his forefathers, and his clan lived, and where generations of my tribal ancestors are buried. This land is sacred, holy ground to the Chumash.

The City and County of Santa Barbara should purchase this property in foreclosure on Thursday, and never develop it, in perpetuity.

The City and County must also acquire the adjacent Dos Pueblos Ranch parcel because the holy quality of the land knows no arbitrary property lines of demarcation. Dos Pueblos and Naples are historically one, inseparable, and imbued with profound spiritual significance to the Chumash people. Santa Barbara, annex these two properties.

Santa Barbara’s government owes my people an apology for the abuses of power against my ancestors. In view of the fiscal challenges Santa Barbara’s government currently faces, it is not feasible to pay restitution to my people, but a guarantee that these lands will be annexed and never developed, in perpetuity, and allowing the Chumash unfettered access to visit the land for our sacred ceremonies, will be sufficient.

The purchase can be funded by real property tax assessments.

Santa Barbara, act now. Time is of the essence. The foreclosure sale is today, May 13, 2010, at 1:00 pm. Make this your land, please.

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