Native American 'Big Time' celebration will go on despite fee dispute

10:23 AM, Sep 16, 2012   |    comments
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Indian Grinding Rock State Historic Park

PIONEER, CA - An annual harvest celebration at Indian Grinding Rock State Historic Park that had been cancelled in a dispute over park entry fees will take place as originally scheduled.

The Ione Band of Miwok Indians initially chose to cancel the annual Chaw'se Big Time gathering, scheduled for the weekend of Sept. 29, because park officials would not allow the tribe to keep gate receipts of $8 per vehicle to help defray expenses.

"I am happy to tell you the Ione Band of Miwok Indians had a tribal meeting Friday night and decided to proceed with Big Time," said Dianne Bennett, an Amador County woman who had been working to save the celebration.

Bennett created a Facebook page after the state Department of Parks and Recreation changed a longstanding policy of allowing non-park employees to collect day use fees for special events.

The tribe was soliciting donations to help offset the loss of state entry fees.

Previous story:  Native Americans cancel annual celebration over state parks fee dispute

Bennett said park officials were able to clarify some issues and work with the tribe to allow the event to take place.

Details of the agreement were not immediately available.

"Many surrounding tribes have offered assistance and volunteers since this is, after all, a regional Big Time gathering," Bennett said.

"Please help us get the word out that Big Time is happening.  Some dancers and elders may not know that the event is back on."

by George Warren,


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