A solitary voice in the storm

  • [KGOV-TV image]

    [KGOV-TV image]

By Patric Hedlund, TME

After the presentation by county and Hard Rock International personnel,  Kern County Board of Supervisors Chair David Couch looked out over the hall packed with construction union workers, chamber of commerce members, development directors and realtors. He asked amiably, “Is this a hearing?” as if it were an inside joke, then asked if anyone was in opposition. A solitary figure walked forward. 

“I’m the chairwoman of the Kitanemuk and Yowlumne Tejon Indians,” said Delia ‘Dee’ Dominguez. “This land of Kern Lake is not of the Kitanamuk Tribe. This land of Kern Lake is of the Yokuts-Hometwoli/Halaumne. They were the same people that were also part of the signators of the 1851 treaty that was taken at Camp Persifer Smith on the land of the Rancho of El Tejon. They are of the Hometwoli Yokuts, the Kern Lake People. 

“As Native People, we work very hard to keep our cultural and traditional ways intact. One of the ways is that you don’t do that. You do not go into another tribe’s area and do something like this. It is very distressing.

“As I have said before, this casino does not benefit all of the people who were in the treaty, that are the Kitanamuk, or any of the people who are of the Kern Lake, or any of those from Buena Vista Lake, who were also signatories of that treaty and many, many others.”

Dominguez raised a finger, gesturing to the projection screen used by HardRock’s slick slide show. 

“And I saw today the picture of my grandmother and my great grandmother and my great-great grandmother up on that screen…”

Picture what it would be like to see a solitary figure on a beach lift a tiny umbrella in a hurricane as a tsunami rushes at them from behind.

Photo captions:

Delia ‘Dee’ Dominguez and the image of her ancestors used in the Hard Rock Casino slide

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This is part of the July 26, 2019 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.

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