A Mendocino County redwood forest has been returned to a group of Native tribes

By Rachel Treisman, NPR-KQED, January 26, 2022

“Save the Redwoods League purchased the 523-acre area (known as Andersonia West) on the Lost Coast of California’s Mendocino County in July 2020. It announced on Tuesday that it had donated and transferred ownership of the property to the InterTribal Sinkyone Wilderness Council, a consortium of 10 Northern California tribal nations focused on environmental and cultural preservation.

“The forest will be renamed ‘Tc’ih-Léh-Dûñ’ — which means ‘fish run place’ in the Sinkyone language — as ‘an act of cultural empowerment and a celebration of Indigenous resilience,’ the league said in a release. The tribal council has granted it a conservation easement, meaning use of the land will be limited for its own protection.

“The league’s 2020 purchase of the forest cost $3.55 million and was fully funded by Pacific Gas & Electric Company (the utility, which has been behind multiple deadly wildfires, supports habitat conservation programs to mitigate other environmental damage it has caused).

“[The council and league] plan to rely on a mix of Indigenous place-based land guardianship principles, conservation science, climate adaptation, and fire resiliency concepts to heal and preserve the area.

“The land donation can be contextualized as part of the broader ‘land back’ movement, an intersectional effort to return Indigenous lands — and autonomy — to Indigenous communities, especially public lands like national parks. Research shows that forced relocation and the loss of historical lands has made Native Americans more vulnerable to climate change.”

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