By Sophie Austin, The Press Democrat, October 10, 2022
“Five California tribes will reclaim their right to manage [more than 200 miles of coastline] significant to their history under a first-in-the-nation program backed with $3.6 million in state money.
“Some of the tribes’ work will include monitoring salmon after the removal of a century-old defunct dam in the redwood forests in the Santa Cruz mountains and testing for toxins in shellfish, while also educating future generations on traditional practices.
“The partnership comes three years after Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom apologized for the state’s previous violence and mistreatment against Indigenous peoples. Newsom said the state should allow for more co-management of tribes’ ancestral lands.
“Megan Rocha, who’s on the Tribal Marine Stewards Network’s leadership council, said these coastal areas hold cultural significance for various tribes, making the partnership monumental.
“Leaders plan to expand the network to include more tribes throughout the state, Rocha said.
“Some tribes in California and around the nation have had their rights to ancestral lands restored under the Land Back movement.
“Valentin Lopez, chair of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band, which is part of the network, said climate change has forced governments with a history of exploiting Indigenous lands to acknowledge tribes’ deep-rooted knowledge of protecting ecosystems.”
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