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Belanger: Rebuttal to commentary by Save The Name of Kelseyville Committee

Sides and Fletcher: Citizens For Healing Rebuttal of Opposition by "Save the Name of Kelseyville" (Version 2)

This is a rebuttal by Citizens for Healing, of the opposition to the name change by "Save the Name of Kelseyville" (SNK), as described in the entry for the US Board on Geographic Names (BGN) January 2024 Quarterly Review List, and an article in Lake County News (LCN), a local, online newspaper. 

Some of these responses are already covered in our submission, and in the BGN's summary of our proposal.

A group named Save the Name of Kelseyville (“Save the Name, Tell the Story”) is adamantly opposed to the name change.  

On February 15th, 2024, SNK submitted an article to LCN which is substantially the same as the summary in the case file, and in which they identified themselves and their private Facebook page. This was the first time C4H had any names to put to the opposition.  

The chairman of the group notes:

[In this] farming community there are still many descendants of pioneer families.  To this day, we are a diverse rural, agricultural community.

Many descendants of the Pomo of that period live here too. Their children go to local schools. Pioneers and Pomo have lived side by side for a century and a half.

Andrew Kelsey and his associate, Charles Stone, were horrific, abusive men to the local Native Americans of our area.  Andrew and his associate were murdered by the local Native Americans in 1849.  No one from our community condones the abuse of those men.  

The people of our community know this painful story and acknowledge it. It is part of our history.

In meetings in Kelseyville, and during our round-the-lake meetings, we encountered many people who did not know the history.

[LCN] In 1854 new settlers, moving westward, came into this isolated valley.

The valley was not isolated to the natives. It was a center of commerce for Lake County and surrounding tribes. A large system of trails connected the Sacramento Valley with Clear Lake and then on to the Pacific coast. These trail networks served multiple purposes. The interregional trail routes may have been primarily for exchange of goods, but there were other uses. For example, Patwin would travel to  Clear Lake to take advantage of the large fish runs in winter and early spring  There were thirteen trails leading from the Hill Patwin territory to the lake, and to Central Valley. Most were two-lane highways, one going out and one coming back -so that warring tribes wouldn't meet head-to-head. [Elliott]

[However] I have come to the conclusion that it was named Kelseyville, not to honor Kelsey, but because he was the first person to build a cabin in an unnamed area,

Salvador Vallejo was the first (European)  person to build a permanent cabin, at his LupYomi Ranchero. The second was probably one of his majordomos,  Alvarada, who established his own Ranchero in Big Valley. Vallejo sold LupYomi to the Kelseys.

Numerous Pomo and Wappo village names were recorded by Barrett (1908 p191- and p274-). Some are historical, some are hunting camps, many are directly on Kelsey Creek. They are presented here without explanation: basd'mklem, basu'mlse, .blda'miwlna, boo'mli, cabe'gok, dala'dano, habe-napo, hala-napo, huge'lmiegago, kabc'sawam, kacl'badon, kao'napoi, kasi'lgago, kawd'axa, ko'pbuu, la'xpiisum, li'leek, lima'raglmowina, llcu'lkalexowa, lu-pa-yu-ma, ma'naol, no'buu, no'napoi, se'dileu, so"bldame, sa'lal, sa'nmamau, slwi 'cbidaminapo, suba'hapusum, xada'buun, xa'dalam, xa'dano, xaga'bldame, xa'gacobagil, xa'ikaiyau, , xa'ikalolise, xalibe'm and xa'xmomo.

Here's Barrett's map of the "unnamed area" :

[LCN] on an unnamed creek

Salvador Vallejo called it "Rio LupYomi"

Barrett: The Indians say that when Kelsey and Cole creeks emptied into the lake separately there were two species of fish, hitc and tcai, of which the former ran up Kelsey creek only and the latter up Cole creek only, and from these two species of fish the creeks take their names, hi'tcbidame and tca'ibidame, respectively. (bidame means "creek")

a process which was happening in towns across our nation.

Other Lake County towns were initially named after a pioneer:

Forbes Town became Lakeport
Grantville became Lower Lake
Stubbs became Clearlake Oaks

Changing the name of this town would create great financial [pain]

We are researching the financial and organizational costs. 

No business is required to change its name.

If they do change, they can continue their company registrations as "Kelseyville Something Inc", and just file a Fictitious Business Name of "Konocti Something". No contracts of any kind need to be changed.

Mail addressed to the old name will still be delivered.Note 1

We are investigating what government filings will be required, and will petition our representatives for a waiver of fees.

The most expensive single items are probably signage on buildings and vehicles. There are only about 6 state-maintained signs on Highway 29, and even fewer county signs. Aside from the school districtNote 2 there are only a handful of large, expensive signs. (Incidentally the Kelseyville Business Association has just installed a sign on Route 29, and is currently raising funds for a large archway, knowing that the name might be changed.)

There is no need to repaint vehicles bearing the Kelseyville name. Perhaps one could apply a sticker "Now Konocti". And on new vehicles, for a few years, a small "Previously Kelseyville" would not be offensive.

Many businesses in Kelseyville already use "Konocti" in their name.

and emotional pain to this small, rural agricultural/tourism community.  

 A local minister, Clovice Lewis, has specifically addressed the emotional pain to ALL parties in his talk "What's In a Name". The emotional pain to Pomo of keeping the name was the subject of our meeting in Upper Lake. Some opponents of the change were there.

To date, Note 3 this group has still  not reached out, personally, to anyone in our community 

We have reached out to the entire community, through Press and Radio announcements.  Members of SNK attended our very first meeting in Kelseyville in October, 2022, and they have attended many of our open meetings around-the-lake, during which they shared their views and their concerns.  During the summer of 2023, C4H members visited Kelseyville and Lakeport businesses to hand distribute flyers regarding the name change.  We have intentionally NOT campaigned at events such as the Pear Festival and Street Dances.

Many of us personally know people who live or work in the community.

On February 19th, 2024, Proponent Lorna Sides sent an email to Myron Holdenreid of SNK stating "Hopefully we can now set up a mediated panel discussion.  We are both caring people.  We both love Kelseyville.  We both acknowledge that Kelsey's treatment of the Pomo people was horrendous.  It is good that there is so much common ground between us. Please feel free to contact me so we can possibly set something up."  A name and phone number were included in the email.  No response has been received.

or to any county officials for support. . . .  

Some of us have, individually, reached out to our own Supervisors, and as a group we notified the Board that our proposal was accepted.

The Lake County Board of Supervisors established a "Visioning Forum" to solicit ideas on how the County can be more inclusive to minority groups. At least one supporter of Citizens For Healing, and sometimes several, have attended their planning and their three public meetings.  Two Supervisors are on the forum, and others  have attended the public meetings. The issue of "historic names", and Kelseyville in particular were identified as a major problem in the community. The forum's first report to the BOS is due imminently. To the best of my knowledge no opponent of the name change attended any of these meetings: none spoke up.

There is no support for this group from the merchants of our Main Street.

The Press Democrat (March 4, 2022) interviewed businesses owners who supported and who opposed the change. We recently visited  businesses in Main Street Kelseyville, and found a mix of supporters, opponents and neutrals.  

From the minutes of our October 2020 Meeting in Pioneer Park:

A businesswoman attending said the process would take a long time, and that she would support the change, be willing to incur all the expenses, because she felt it was important to change the name of the town. 

Here are results from a member survey by the Kelseyville Business Association:

  •  As a KBA business member, do you want the KBA Board to take a position on changing the name of Kelseyville? 59.57% said YES / 40.43% said NO
  • As a KBA business member, would you support a change of name of the town of Kelseyville? 23.4% said YES / 76.6% said NO

 The survey was done through private email, so was not anonymous. An undisclosed number of members did not respond.

 At the KBA BOD meeting on August 8, 2022, the BOD voted unanimously to promote saving the name of Kelseyville, with two BOD members absent.

[LCN] Changing the name of Kelseyville to Konocti would create a sense of confusion and a burden to the historic school district in the community of Lower Lake that is called Konocti Unified School District.

Our primary motivation is to remove the offensive name of "Kelseyville". As one tribal member said: "Any name but Kelseyville".

We chose "Konocti" to honor our Tribal neighbors, their ancestors, and their descendants.  

Lorna Sides 3/3/2024
Alan Fletcher 3/4/2024

Note 1 : The name of the post office does not automatically change if the town name changes.
Note 2 : School districts set their own names, so this is not strictly a BGN matter. Ironically, every school bus is emblazoned with the name of a child-rapist and child-murderer.
Note 3: The opposition's response is undated, so the time-frames "To date" and "still" may be "old news".