The Californian forest filled with ancient redwoods has returned to native tribes

LOS ANGELES – Descendants of Native American tribes on the Northern California coast are reclaiming a bit of their heritage, including ancient redwoods that have been around since their ancestors walked the land.

The Save the Redwoods League planned to announce Tuesday that it is transferring more than 500 acres (202 hectares) on the Lost Coast to the InterTribal Sinkyone Wildlife Council.

The group of 10 tribes that have inhabited the area for thousands of years will be responsible for protecting the land known as Tc’ih-Léh-Dñ, or “Fish Runner”, in the Sinkyone language.

Priscilla Hunter, president of Sinkyone Council, said they would be the custodians of the land her people had been displaced or forced to flee from before the forest was largely cleared for timber.

“It was a real stroke of luck,” says Hunter, of the Coyote Valley Band of the Pomo Indians. “It was like a healing for our ancestors. I know our ancestors were very happy. This has been entrusted to us to protect.”

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This transfer marks a step in the burgeoning Land Back movement to return the Indigenous homeland to the descendants of those who lived there millennia before European settlers arrived.

The federation first worked with Sinkyone council when it transferred a nearby 164-acre (66 ha) plot of land to the corporation in 2012.

The Federation recently paid $37 million for a beautiful 5 mile (8 km) stretch of the Lost Coast and banned it from a logging company to protect it from logging and finally open it to the public. .

Open to the public is not a priority for property transferred to the tribal group because it is so remote, said Sam Hodder, president and chief executive officer of the federation. But it does serve an important piece of the puzzle that sits among other sanctuaries.

Steep hills rise and fall down a tributary of the Eel River teeming with steelhead and Coho salmon. This property was last logged about 30 years ago and there are still a large number of old redwoods, as well as secondary trees.

“It’s a property where you can feel it tangible that it’s healing, it’s healing,” says Hodder. “You walk through the forest and even when you see old stumps that are ghostly harvested, you can also see in the misty landscape the monsters left behind as well as the trees. Young red buds are growing from those stumps.”

The federation purchased the property two years ago for $3.5 million funded by Pacific Gas & Electric Company to provide habitat for the endangered northern spotted owl and marble tower. jelly to minimize other environmental damage caused by this utility.

PG&E is supposed to appear on Tuesday from five years of criminal probation for a 2010 explosion caused by its natural gas line that blew up a San Bruno neighborhood and killed eight people. Since 2017, it is believed to have been responsible for more than 30 wildfires that have wiped out more than 23,000 homes and businesses and killed more than 100 people.

In an effort to reduce liability and the possibility of vegetation coming into contact with power lines and causing fires, PG&E has been criticized for destroying many large and old trees.

Michael Evenson, vice president of the Lost Coast League, which advocates for the protection of water and wildlife in the region, said: “Thank you to the Save the Redwoods League for seizing any opportunity to protect these habitats. lands on the Lost Coast, places important to its preservation. “But PG&E getting a green commendation badge after all they’re doing … not appetizing.”

Hawk Rosales, the council’s former chief executive, said the new property adds a significant portion of the 4,000 acres (1,618.7 hectares) that the group protects for cultural and ecological purposes.

More importantly, it recognizes the importance of the tribal group in taking care of the land.

“For decades, tribal voices have been marginalized in the mainstream conservation movement,” says Rosales. “It was only until recently that they were meaningfully invited to participate and take on leadership roles.”

Hodder said the federation is trying to remove barriers and increase the size of land managed by tribal communities, while also giving back Indigenous knowledge and practices, such as burning fires. Small controlled fires to clear out tree growth leading to healthier forests.

“These communities have managed these lands for thousands of years,” says Hodder. “It was the exclusion of that management in many ways that got us into the mess we were in.”

Copyright © 2022 of the Associated Press. Copyright Registered. The Californian forest filled with ancient redwoods has returned to native tribes

Dais Johnston

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