Saturday, April 15, 2006
Let's Preserve 10,000 Years of St. Augustine History
We have 10,000 years of history here in St. Augustine and it must be preserved, protected and defended.It takes a village to protect our precious cultural heritage. From ethnocentric U.S. Department of the Interior and National Park Service information to culturally insensitive displays at privately owned tourist attractions, we must correct the record.As an historic City, we do our visitors a disservice when we talk only of the last 440 years of history.When indigenous peoples' holy and burial sites are turned into strip malls and condominiums, that is truly a disgrace to the human race. On January 9, 2006, four out of five City Commissioners possibly voted to do just that (Mayor Gardner dissenting). Developer Robert Graubard's consultant report showing a 2000-4000 year old indigenous habitation was not shared with the city, state or county archeologist. The site (next to St. Augustine H.S. on the west side of Lewis Speedway) contains multiple manmade mounds, possible burial or ceremonial sites. Dr. Kenneth Sassaman, Acting Chair of Anthropology at the University of FL, examined the Environmental Services, Inc. report and is ready, willing and able to send graduate students to investigate the Red House Bluff site. Yet our City won't even send the report to the state archeologist, Laura Kammerer, who won't read it since it wasn't sent to her by a governmental agency. (I faxed it to her on January 23rd). Between hope and history lies a place where some fear to tread -- Ms. Kammerer said to me, "I work for the Governor," as if that excused her refusal to do her job without fear or favor of developers. What do y'all reckon?