Wednesday, May 28th, 2008 at 5:12 pm in Uncategorized.
A shout-out to Save the Oaks at the Stadium member Doug Buckwald who told me several weeks ago that The Economist magazine was looking into a story about the longtime tree sit outside Memorial Stadium at the University of California, Berkeley.
Buckwald was right.
The most recent edition of The Economist gives ink to the most outspoken and possibly the most hirsute (their word) tree-sitter Zachary Running Wolf. The mag story also carries an Associated Press shot of two naked people (not Running Wolf) in the trees with the caption. “Come up and see my nuts.”
Running Wolf, (above) one of the original inhabitants of People’s Perch, tells The Economist reporter his reasoning for the 17-month tree-sit.
“There are `thousands of bodies underneath us’ of the Ohlone tribe, he says, and construction on this sacred burial ground amounts to `a hate crime; we call it Guantánamo Berkeley’”. “The secret truth, he explains, is that the Illuminati and Masons are behind the idea to build on the site, because the grove is at the intersection of compass lines connecting the Haas School of Business (money) with Alcatraz (state violence) and the Lawrence Berkeley lab that gave America nukes.”
Of course Running Wolf’s statements are well worn. But what is shocking is that Running Wolf talked to a real live news reporter. Running Wolf stopped talking to me more than six months ago after I wrote a story about his fine-dodging and drug charges and fantasy to recall the Berkeley mayor. He also told me that thousands of other Native Americans would do the same.
I also have it on good authority that he no longer speaks to a few Chron reporters.
Strangely, there is no byline on the Economist piece on page 49. But UC Berkeley spokesman Dan Mogulof assures me that he was interviewed by a flesh and blood reporter.
In the story, Mogulof sites the university’s reasons for wanting to raze the trees to make room for the $125 million sports training center.
“For every tree we cut down we will plant three new ones,” he says. What’s more, he says in the story, archaeologists have found “no evidence” that the grove is a burial ground but will carefully monitor all excavations.
Publishing the story of the tree-sit this month was timely. Alameda County Judge Barbara Miller is expected to rule on the three lawsuits against the university by June 19. At that point, campus police will bring the tree-sitting to “a safe and certain end,” says Mogulof.