The 10 students of the one-room school on the Kashia Pomo rancheria up the hill from coastal Stewarts Point don’t get out for many field trips.
But five of the 10 Pomo kids ventured two miles or so to where the Spanish-owned Artesa Vineyards and Winery seeks to clear as much as 146 acres of forest for vines. Teacher Jeff McFarland, who admits he’s not neutral on the issue, said the students walked the land and spoke sadly about what may happen there.
Chris McManus, a reporter for the weekly Independent Coast Observer, spoke with eighth-grader Khaymeyanam Morgan on the trip. She told him she can’t see destroying trees on Pomo ancestral land to make wine.
“We don’t need more wine and we don’t need more deaths, either, from alcohol poisoning or drunk driving,” the 13-year-old said. “Some of the people that die for those two reasons are Native American people.”
There’s no doubt how she’d vote on the Artesa plan.
Evelyn had been alarmed by how many of the teens and young adults in her culinary apprentice program became homeless and wound up arrested. Then she learned that the man living next door to WOW on Hahman Drive had lost his job and needed to sell his four-bedroom house.
She asked him if WOW might buy it.
“He got a little choked up and he got a little angry and he walked away,” she recalled. “The next day he came back and said if anybody was going to buy his house, he wanted us to have it.”
Evelyn dispatched a request for help to make the purchase. She said many people were in tears when they gave a check and said they wanted to help assure that the young people training at WOW have a home.