Sta'yokale - Sacred Mountain of the Salinans

Honoring Our Heritage

A long time ago, waters from the ocean rose and flooded the entire world except for the very top of Sta'yokale. Those First People who survived the deluge gathered on top with Eagle (Sa'yyo). Sa'yyo asked Kingfisher to dive down and get some mud from the bottom of the water. Kingfisher did so, but when he returned to the surface, he died. Sa'yyo scraped mud from beneath Kingfisher's nails, which he rolled into four balls. He threw one of the balls to each of the four directions. The waters receded and the world became as it is today. And, the First People who had died were brought back to life. - Traditional Salinan Creation Story.

Sta'yokale is a sacred mountain, and the central feature in the ancient homeland and spiritual life of Salinans. Known variously as Santa Lucia Peak, Junipero Serra Peak, and Pimkolam, Sta'yokale marks the highest point of the Santa Lucia Range along the Big Sur coastline of California. The United States Forest Service proposes to place a radio repeater on it. We completely and unswervingly oppose this desecration. There are viable alternatives to the placement of a radio repeater on Sta'yokale. The Forest Service can meet its need for enhanced communications without violating a sacred peak.

In the past, desecration of sacred sites such as Sta'yokale was tolerated. Today is a different time, in terms of laws and the understanding of the general public. Salinans and others who recognize the importance of spiritual places are no longer silent.

Salinans have shared information regarding the sacredness of Sta'yokale from the beginning of historical time. Ethnographers, such as John P. Harrington and J. Alden Mason, who worked with Salinans in the early 1900's, documented the spiritual importance of Sta'yokale. The California Native American Heritage Commission includes it on the State's Sacred Lands Inventory. In 1976, John Garcia, a Salinan elder, told the US Forest Service that, "any project on the peak, regardless of size or purpose would diminish its spiritual significance."

Sta'yokale is at the very heart of a living connection between our land, culture, and our people, a connection that goes back thousands of years. The Salinan world began at Sta'yokale. Salinans continue to gather there for prayer, ceremony and healing, for the community. Sta'yokale is an important heritage for all humans who care about ancestral values, knowledge, history, culture, and spirit. As such, Salinans recognize the spiritual affinity of our culture with all earth-cultures who know of the healing and wisdom in sacred places. We fully accept the responsibility to look after these places.

Jose' Freeman, President
Salinan Nation Cultural Preservation Association