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Potential Misuse Of Sacred Land By Cal State Long Beach Is Under Investigation

A low, curved white brick wall is shown with black lettering that reads California State University Long Beach.
Cal State Long Beach
(Long Beach State University Public Affairs)
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A state commission is opening an investigation into allegations that Cal State Long Beach misused a sacred Native American site located on the university's campus.

The site is known as Puvungna to members of the Tongva nation, who also use it for religious ceremonies and cultural gatherings.

Several tribes asked the Native American Heritage Commission to look into dumping, the abuse of ceremonial areas and other allegations of misconduct. The commission voted unanimously to go forward.

Commission Chair Laura Miranda said the investigation will ensure that the site stays protected.

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"The commission has taken previous action to designate this as a sacred area on public lands," she said. "The commission has taken certain steps in the 90s to ensure that this place would be protected in perpetuity. I think this is a follow through."

In 2019, the Juaneño Band of Mission Indians and other groups filed a lawsuit against Cal State Long Beach. The suit alleged that university officials dumped construction debris on Puvungna, and requested assurances that the land will never be developed.

The commission filed a brief supporting the plaintiffs. University officials have said that there is no plan to build there.