SEVEN SISTERS SACRED SITE
(30th June 2011)
The Seven Sisters is a small circle enclosed by a ring of seven pine trees growing closely together (the "Seven Sisters" are the seven trees). It is located within The Meadows area to the west of the PMC township.
The Seven Sisters is the ring of trees seen in the center of this photo.
The Seven Sisters means different things to different people but it is a place of spiritual significance to most people. A place of peace, reflection, meditation, prayer, ceremony, celebration and commemoration. For 20 years, people have been placing small personal items there - arranging them on the ground, among the rocks, or hanging them in the trees. The result was many hundreds of diverse items on honored display. Personal treasures....mostly items of deep personal significance to the individuals who placed them there.
Looking inside the circle.
Then suddenly, and without warning or explanation, the Seven Sisters site was ransacked. All its sacred memorabilia stolen. This happened some time on, or before Friday, 25th June 2011. Who ever it was took everything, cleaned it out, stripped it bare. They even uncovered a small coffin containing the remains of a beloved pet being remembered there.
A center display (from February 2005).
Decades worth of personal mementoes vanished over night, robbing people of their emotional attachment to these special items. Clearly, the significance of many of these items was profound to their owners, placed there with great love and care and with honor and respect.
While this statue of a monk has Christian overtones, most of the artifacts were personal in nature.
The ransacking came as a blow to the many devotees and general visitors to the Seven Sisters. It is hard to comprehend the callous disrespect that could possibly motivate a person, or group of people, to do something like this. The perpetrator/s of this travesty were never identified.
The aftermath of the ransacking.
It was not a "clean up" operation by the Forestry Department who have official jurisdiction of this area. Upon checking, and double checking, it is clear the Forestry had nothing to do with this desecration. On the contrary, they respect and protect sites like this. They said they were as dismayed by this travesty as everyone else. All the ransacker/s left behind was a Forestry sign saying "No Dumping" fixed to a tree in the circle. Not only was this sign stolen from the Forestry, but it was posted illegally. The forestry takes such matters very seriously and said they may prosecute in a situation like this.
There was an angry response to the ransacking. Religious or environmental extremism was thought to be behind the travesty although there was no evidence in support of this speculation.
This rock cairn was built after the ransacking to honor the memory of the circle.
It is clear this was not simple vandalism. This was done with purpose and thoroughness. They took everything whether it had monetary value or not.
Looking out from the back of the circle (7 months after the ransacking).
I'm appealing for anyone who has seen or heard anything possibly connected with this travesty, to please pass on whatever you know. Even small, seemingly insignificant fragments of information can be meaningful when put together with other information.
Just to set the record straight, the Seven Sisters is not a Native American sacred site. I've spoken to the original founders and it was started by PMC locals in 1991. Another way to look at this is by estimating the age of the circle of trees that form the Seven Sisters. The trees are thought to be about 85 years old, give or take. So these trees are only about 45 years older than the age of the neighboring town in which we live. Therefore, it couldn't be an ancient Chumash ceremonial site as it came into existence in relatively recent times (1920's approximately). It is safe to say it is an entirely recent phenomenon and is an expression of non-Native-American culture.
In memoriam for memories past that still stay in our hearts.
Clearly this was culture, not "trash".....
Photos courtesy of Izumi Tanaka Photography - thanks Izumi!
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