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Indian tribe against quarry project on 'sacred' land

August 15, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
A public hearing is planned over a controversial quarry project in Riverside County Monday morning.

Granite Construction is looking to establish a strip mine project called Liberty Quarry just outside Temecula.

The 135-acre quarry would be built near territory of the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians. The Indian tribe says the land is sacred, and they consider the spot the site of the world's creation.

"The origin of the Luiseno people is the single most important account in our culture," tribal chairman Mark Macarro told the Riverside Press-Enterprise. "Our present-day practices, beliefs and social structure are directly related to our creation."

Granite Construction is seeking an agreement that would allow it to mine the quarry for 75 years. The developers accuse the tribe of only recently saying that to hold up their plans, and noted that the tribe built a sprawling casino and golf resort on spiritually important ancestral lands.

Tribal officials insist that they been telling county officials about the property's spiritual importance for years and say they designed their resort complex to avoid significant sites.

County supervisors will eventually have final say on the project.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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