bfp at Feministe, Indigenous Land Defense at Home

The owner of this business, which desecrated a 3,500-year-old Ohlone shellmound in order to construct its offices, now wants to build a vacation home on other sacred indigenous land: this time on Rattlesnake Island in Lake County, CA.

Don’t have much time to chat today, friends, but those of you who’ve been following Kloncke for a while will know just how jazzed I am that brownfemipower (a.k.a. bfp) is guest-blogging at Feministe.  She’s taking an in-depth material look at her home state of Michigan, or, in her words:

While I’m here, I’ll be working to contextualize all the big words: “post-industrialization,” “nationalism,” “white supremacist heteropatriarchy,” “decay porn,” “borders,” “distribution systems,” etc within a framework that centers Detroit, Michigan, and the US Midwest.

Or I may just wind up posting pretty pictures. Who knows. :D

In her first post offering background on the region, bfp begins with a brief overview of the indigenous peoples from whom the land was stolen.

It’s important to know about Michigan’s history of colonization because indigenous peoples in Michigan are still still struggling with the vestiges of colonization. They are also leaders in the fight against corporate violence against the land and the people. There is often a false idea that the violences of industrialization play out almost exclusively in urban areas. But those serene lakes and beautiful mountains we all like going to for our week vacation are the same places that keep the urban factories up and running.

Yep, primitive accumulation, and capitalists’ access to natural resources, has everything to do with imperialism, colonization, genocide, enslavement, and misogyny and heteropatriarchy.  Advance the Struggle had a good post a while back touching on this link between pro-communist struggle and indigenous land defense, using as an illustrative example the recently successful defense of Sogorea Te / Glen Cove, up in Vallejo (photos of the encampment at the end of that post) — in which Ryan, I, and other East Bay Solidarity friends played a very small supportive role.

Now it looks like we and EastBaySol may have another opportunity to support the defense of indigenous sacred land from bourgeois development.  (The aggressor’s business, Nady Electronics, has offices in Emeryville, about a mile away from Ryan’s and my apartment, located right on top of an Ohlone sacred shellmound.  The guy just won’t let up, apparently.)  I received this press release in my email today.  The money quote:

Supervisor Comstock, the Lake County Board Supervisor who cast the deciding vote, commented, “I’m a huge proponent of private property rights.” He added, “My family’s been living in Lake County for 150 years- you can’t get more native than that”.

Yet another example of institutional white supremacy and heteropatriarchy supporting the accumulation of capital & resources to the (historically white, patriarchal) ruling class.  Time to remind this dude, through direct action and defense, that yes, you can get more native than that.  Entire press release after the jump.

Wednesday September 14, 2011


Contact: Batsulwin Brown

Phone: 707-349-2412



Final Decision on Rattlesnake Island Development by Lake CountyBoard of Supervisors Violates California Environmental Quality Act;

Elem Pomo Call for Boycott of Nady Electronics


LAKEPORT, CA –The Lake County Board of Supervisors issued a long-awaited final decision at the County Planning Commission hearing held last Tuesday, September 6th. The BOS voted 3-2 not to complete an Environmental Impact Report (EIR), which would have called for a focused study of the archaeological and cultural resources located on Rattlesnake Island.

During the hearing, the board permitted the attorneys and hired anthropologist of wealthy businessman John Nady to respond for four hours to testimony provided two weeks ago. Closing statements by Nady’s attorneys followed, with little time for any response by representatives of the Elem Pomo tribe, who seek to protect their sacred site from becoming Nady’s vacation home.

Evidence presented during the hearing clarified that Nady’s archaeologist had not ‘consulted’ with the Elem, as was previously claimed, nor had he been asked ‘not to remove artifacts’.  According to California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) requirements, consultation must take place if there is a possibility of the presence of human remains. “When a significant resource is involved, CEQA requires that the permitting agency first consider project alternatives, which will allow the “resources to be preserved in place and left in an undisturbed state” (CEQA sec. 21083.2 [b]).”

Dr. John Parker, Archeologist noted, “In this case, the county has decided to approve the project without proper mitigation measures. By approving the project with only “monitoring” they are saying that they will not formulate mitigation measures until something “significant” is discovered during construction…Monitoring is a way of“deferring” mitigation to some later date, which is not allowed by law”.

Supervisor Comstock, the Lake County Board Supervisor who cast the deciding vote, commented, “I’m a huge proponent of private property rights.” He added, “My family’s been living in Lake County for 150 years- you can’t get more native than that”.


Statements made by Nady’s party included character assassinations of Elem Tribal member Jim Brown, who was portrayed as ‘unreliable’. Jim Brown responded, “I don’t need three attorneys to manipulate what I want to say.”  In his closing statement, Brown continued, “This [vote] is an embarrassment to your own planning department who made the recommendation; so it’s saying to them they’re not anybody. We need to stay together and make sure our laws are there for all of us, not just those that have the attorneys and money to manipulate.”

A request by Supervisor Rushing to follow up with an ethnographic report was ignored. The final vote was 3-2 in favor of the appeal to allow Nady’s egregious development plans, which can begin within 45 days of the September 6th hearing. Nady can receive the building permit as early as November.

Nady’s development endeavor directly upon the village site and ceremonial grounds of the Elem Pomo, documented to be between 6-14,000 years, is not his first effort to desecrate sacred grounds. Nady’s company headquarters are located atop the Emeryville Shell mound, the largest Ohlone Shell mound in the bay area. In 2000, local bay area Native community members and allies attempted to block Nady’s development of the Emeryville Shell mound site, documented to be over 3,500 years old. Despite major community opposition at Emeryville City Council meetings, Nady was successful in his attempts to coerce council members to vote in his favor.

Due to his flagrant disrespect for local Indigenous communities, musicians & others of an electronic ilk are being asked to boycott NADY electronics

Help to protect the Environmental & Cultural Integrity of Rattlesnake Island. For more information and updates about efforts to Save the Island visit:

Stay tuned for further details about an upcoming protest at Nady Electronics.


The Headquarters of Nady Electronics is located at 6701 Shellmound Street

Emeryville, CA

Urge the Lake County Board of Supervisors to reverse its decision against an EIR for Rattlesnake Island



Fax: (707) 263-2207

Telephone:  (707) 263-2368

Mail:  255 N Forbes St # 109 Lakeport, CA 95453-4759

3 thoughts on “bfp at Feministe, Indigenous Land Defense at Home

  1. Huli September 15, 2011 / 8:08 am

    It’s a bit unclear how an individual can have an impact by “boycotting Nady products.” (Not too many people buy microphones every day!) However, a “secondary boycott” might be a useful tactic, though it would take a lot of footwork: pressure dealers like audio equipment stores to stop carrying Nady products. Folks could picket and leaflet outside the stores (there’s a whole directory of them on the Nady site under the “Dealer” tab.) Folks could do unannounced delegations to the owners of the stores to shame them about carrying products that are contributing to the desecration of Native sites.

    It’s important to remember that often it’s not “winning the hearts and minds” of dealers that will cause them to feel uneasy about carrying Nady products; rather it’s the fear that leafletting, picketing and bullhorning in front of their stores will drive customers away.

    I wish I had the time to help out, and I feel kind of obnoxious making suggestions when I can’t really do the footwork, but my last bit of advice is to research which of the dealers seems to be most important to Nady, and start a pressure campaign there.

    If nothing else, the dealer will start complaining to Nady, making Nady feel some heat.

  2. kloncke September 16, 2011 / 1:29 am

    Huli, I love it when you talk tactics! Lol, no but really, thank you for this really useful input. I’m not sure we’ll actually be taking on the fight — I’d have to propose it at next week’s meeting and see what folks think — but if we do, we’ll definitely need to think strategically about how to best employ our resources to pressure the dude’s economic interests. You’re right: the hearts-and-minds stuff isn’t really something to bank on, seems to me.

    Not having too much experience with this approach, my guess is that it would take a lot of sustained picketing and driving away of customers to get a dealer to cancel a contract with a company like this one. Either that or some serious press coverage and reputation tarnishing. Maybe both.

  3. adrianvance October 10, 2011 / 10:07 am

    The Brown brothers are leading their tribe into one big lawsuit they will lose. They may cause the Nady’s real damage and they have the law on their side. There must be someone in the tribe who will get an independent lawyer to advise them on this manner. The case was finally settled in 1949 when the original land patent was reaffirmed in 1949. The Nady’s have done everything the establishment has asked whole the Pomo-Elems have only put on displays of bad behavior at public meetings.

    According to the literature an Indian of the period in question was a hunter-gatherer who needed 40 acres to survive. That means the island could only support one man, not even one family much less a tribe. Then, the Pomo-Elems claimed it was a burial ground. How do you have a burial ground if you never invented the shovel?

    Recent research reported in the LA Times, August 7, 2011 revealed that analysis of copralites (fossilized feces) from 40 Indian villages revealed DNA that could only be there if the natives had eaten a person. It is well known the Indians were starving when Andrew Kelsey came here. He fed them and they killed him. Not nice.

    It would appear that the Browns are walking their tribe into “heap big trouble.” After all this the Nady’s are likely not in a mood to smoke the peace pipe. The Pomo-Elems should have made John Nady an honorary Chief and given him a big headdress. Rich people give nice parties and big lawsuits if you cross them. The Browns have made a bad choice for the tribe.

    Adrian Vance

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