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MOUNT SHASTA-Cross into California southbound on Interstate
5 and soon, suddenly, you see Mt. Shasta. The mountain
consumes the horizon, seeming to encompass the world.

Generations of Northern California Indians have shared that
view. The mountain has deep spiritual significance, powerful
in itself and connected to other power places nearby and far
away, according to Michelle Alvarez, a Pit River and
Cahuilla Indian who works with the Center for Indian
Community Development in Arcata. Stories and legends from
the Modoc, Shasta, Karuk, Wintu, Hupa, and Pit River people
point to the centrality of Mount Shasta in their culture,
lives, and spirituality.

Respecting this connection, Jerry Rodgers, the Keeper of the
National Register of Historic Places, decided in March,1994
to designate Mount Shasta as eligible for the Register. The
enactment of the Mount Shasta Historic District would help
protect traditional uses of the mountain, now threatened by
new development.

Rodgers' decision has already been weakened, and soon may be
reversed entirely.

Despite previous failures of commercial ski development on
Mount Shasta, developer Carl Martin has proposed a new 1,600-
acre resort that would accommodate 5,000 downhill skiers a
day. Backing Martin is a coalition of white property owners
and right-wing politicians led by U.S. Rep. Wally Herger (R-
).

Rep. Herger introduced HR 563 Jan. 18, which would keep any
site that doesn't contain "physical evidence of human
activity" from being listed as an historic site. The bill
targets Indian historical and spiritual sites, says Ana
Holub of the Mt. Shasta Bioregional Ecology Center, as most
such sites are in their natural state. It specifies that
"Mount Shasta...may not be designated by any agency or
authority of the United States as a historic district,
historic site, or national monument."

California Indians and environmentalists have been working
together for more than 10 years to protect Mount Shasta.
Several groups, including the Mt. Shasta Heritage Council
and the Waka Nunu Tuki Wuki Native Coalition, Save Mt.
Shasta, and the Bioregional Ecology Center, are mobilizing
to stop HR 563. They urge letters to congressional
representatives and Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara
Boxer, Hart Senate Office Bldg., Washington, DC. 20510.

"We take this seriously, especially spiritual people," said
Alvarez. "[Scarring Mount Shasta] could throw off the
balance of everything in the world."
For more info: Mount Shasta Heritage Council, (916) 926-
3397.