Was out of town this week, so let’s ruminate about something from a few issues ago.
In the aftermath of the Inyo Supervisors bungling of a simple Indigenous Peoples Day proclamation, I made the following public records request to Darcy Ellis, Assistant Clerk of the Inyo County Board, on October 12:
Dear Ms. Ellis,
I have a public record request stemming from discussion at the Board last week.
Supervisor Jennifer Roeser commented that she had sent a draft revision of the Indigenous Peoples Day proclamation to Supervisor Jeff Griffiths.
I would like a copy of that email/document along with any other communication Supervisor Roeser has had regarding this issue with fellow Supervisors, constituents, et. al. since October 1.
Ellis’s response arrived this week.
“In response to your Public Records Act request, Inyo County conducted a search for records responsive to your request. Our search revealed that there are no records responsive to your request that must be disclosed pursuant to the Public Records Act as such records are privileged pursuant to the Deliberative Process Privilege. In spite of that privilege, we are providing you with the attached document in response.”
This was hilarious to me. I had to look it up. Deliberative Process Privilege. Sounds to me like anytime a politician happens to be making up his/her mind about something, all communication about that something is privileged.
This sounds like a Marshall Rudolph special. Fortunately, Mr. Rudolph is retiring imminently as Inyo County Counsel.
There will be no retirement love letter from me. Ellis’s response, properly translated, seems to be “F&*k off, newspaper. Hire an attorney.”
With this as a backdrop, I have no choice here but to imagine Ms. Roeser’s thought process and whatever constituent feedback she received prior to turning a simple proclamation into a two hearing, four-hour debacle.
But first, let’s print Ms. Roeser’s letter which Marshall Rudolph claims is proprietary (bullshit). Her edit below was meant to soften an initial proclamation which alluded to the ugly history of the settlement of California, including a “War of Extermination” on Native peoples initiated by California’s first governor.
Shockingly, that didn’t make Roeser’s final cut.
Gorgeous attire and wonderful dancing did.
While we look back in history and realize the tremendous pain and suffering of native people, we know that history is for remembering, acknowledging and learning from; the present is for forgiveness; and the future is for building unity as one people brought together by our shared respect and compassion for one another as Americans.
In honor and celebration of September 24th, 2021 as California Native American Day, Inyo County recognizes and wishes to pay tribute to the beautiful traditions and culture of the Native Paiute (Nuumu), Timbisha, and Shoshone(Newe) people.
The many contributions of local tribal members include, but is not limited to descendants of Native Code Talkers, farmers and irrigation specialists, military service members, skilled packers and ranchers, biologists, food sovereignty experts, governing elders and business leaders.
For nearly 4 decades, the Bishop Paiute Tribe hosts an inter-tribal gathering to celebrate different tribal cultures with dance and spiritual events during its annual Pabanamanina Gathering and Pow Wow held annually the 4th weekend of September. Coinciding with California Native American Day, this celebratory and beautiful event marks the opportunity for all residents and visitors to join in honoring and celebrating the traditional skills, gorgeous attire and talented dancers of our region. The “Grand Entry” of dancers is a moving tribute to skill, talent, athleticism and beauty. The opportunity to crown Miss Bishop Paiute Tribe is an occasion to celebrate young women and girls who honor the traditions of their culture and elders.
Additionally, Inyo County wishes to celebrate and honor the Big Pine Paiute Tribe of the Owens Valley as their annual Fandango is celebrated during the month of October. During this beautiful display, Miss Big Pine Paiute Tribe 2021 will be crowned, continuing the tradition of celebrating the virtues and talent of Native women.
Inyo County would not be the culturally rich and exceptionally beautiful place it is without the Native residents who have called this land their home for thousands of years.
In this spirit, the County wishes to convey it’s respect, congratulations and honor during the fall months as we recognize California Native American Day.
So … Roeser is willing to nod to the past, but not look too closely.
As for the present, she wants to whitewash that as well, based upon the response to our records request.
This isn’t about political correctness or cancel culture. This is about owning some basic, unpleasant history. And not turning the whole thing into some modern minstrel show.