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At Point Reyes, archeology and climate change collide

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Point Reyes headlands and lighthouse (Photo: Robert Campbell Photography,’s Molly Samuel goes up to Point Reyes National Seashore with Sonoma State archeologist Mike Newland to look at some exposed former Native American habitation sites that are threatened, not from human desecration, but from . . . climate change. Higher tides and erosion are threatening to wipe them out, along with a lot of others along the coast.

You can read about it or listen.

Here’s an excerpt, from what Nick Tipon, a member of the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria (whose territory includes Point Reyes), has to say:

“In one part of the park, there’s a layer of soil that indicates human habitation in that spot, and sticking out from the side of a cliff was a human skull,” he said. When human remains are disturbed or exhumed, tribal policy is to rebury them as close as possible to where they were found. “So then we thought, ‘How far inland do we have to go away from the cliff to find stable soil? So we don’t have to do this 100 years, 200 years again? So that literally our ancestors can rest in peace?’”

Image: Point Reyes National Seashore/ Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy

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