A northern California redwood coastline of 500-plus acres will soon be donated to the descendants of Native American Tribes of the InterTribal Sinkyone Wilderness Council.
Ten tribes will be responsible for the protection of the land, as well as an “act of cultural empowerment and celebration of indigenous resilience.” The forest will be renamed Tc’ih-Léh-Dûñ (pronounced tsih-ih-LEY-duhn), which means Fish Run Place. It is part of a stepping-stone movement to return homelands to indigenous people, a movement called Land Back.
The return of the California Redwood land was announced January 25, by Priscilla Hunter, a member of the Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians.
“It’s a real blessing. It’s like a healing for our ancestors,” Hunter said. “I know our ancestors are happy. This was given to us to protect.”
The conservation effort has contributed a variety of berry bushes and the protection of endangered animals. The plan is to rely on a mixture of Indigenous place-based land principles, conservation science, climate adaptation, and fire resiliency concepts to heal and preserve the area.
About two years ago, InterTribal Sinkyone Wilderness Council had purchased $3.5 million of land, funded by the Pacific Gas & Electric Co. to mitigate other emotional damage by the utility. The money provided habitat for the endangered northern spotted owl and marbled murrelet, a small seabird.
The importance of the indigenous guardianship protects the land. This donation will add 500 acres to the 180,000 acres along the Sinkyone coast.
Indigenous people worldwide play a key role in environmental stewardship. They represent about 5% of the world’s population and manage roughly 20% to 25% of the Earth’s land.