California returns land on fifth anniversary of state apology to American Indians – California

(The Center Square) – California Governor Gavin Newsom today announced the state’s support for a plan to donate 2,800 acres of land to the Shasta Indian Nation this week. It came on the fifth anniversary of the state’s apology to American Indians.

The return is among the largest in state history. It is one of several actions taken by the state in its efforts to address abuses against Indian tribes in California.

“This work is a down payment on the state’s commitment to do better for the Native American communities who have called this land home since time immemorial,” Newsom said in a statement. “By listening and working with tribes across the state, including returning our ancestral homelands and restoring the environment, we are healing deep wounds and rebuilding trust among our people.”

Newsom visited the Klamath River dam removal project earlier this month. It is the largest river restoration project in American history. It will rehabilitate more than 300 miles of salmon habitat; during the event, he discussed the return of ancestral lands with leaders of the Shasta Indian Nation.

The Shasta Indian Nation wants 2,820,860 acres of “Parcel B” land associated with the dams.

“The Shasta Indian Nation is pleased with the Governor’s decision to support the return of our ancestral lands and sacred sites,” said Janice Crowe, chairwoman of the Shasta Indian Nation. “Having access to our ceremonial sites, including the site of our First Salmon Ceremony, is critical to the spiritual and emotional health of our people. The ceremony has not taken place since the lands were taken by eminent domain more than 100 years ago to build the Copco Dam. This is transformative and the beginning of restorative justice for our people. We welcome the opportunity to manage our ancestral lands in a manner that is consistent with tribal values ​​and that integrates tribal ecological knowledge. Land restitution also allows us to educate the public by completing the Shasta Heritage Trail, which incorporates native art into the design, along with informative signs that share the history of the Shasta people of Kikacéki.

When Newsom apologized on behalf of California to the state’s Native American population five years ago at the future site of the California Indian Heritage Center, the governor announced the creation of the California Truth and Healing Council.

Working with the council, the Governor’s Office of Tribal Affairs and several tribes across the state, California has created many programs and initiatives.

Here are some examples, according to the release:

The state’s ambitious goal of conserving 30% of land and coastal waters by 2030, also known as the 30 x 30 initiative, with a core objective of strengthening tribal partnerships; The Tribal Nature-Based Solutions grant program, which builds on the Governor’s order for state entities to partner with California Native American tribes in the return of ancestral lands in excess of state needs to tribal ownership, and the co-management of and support California tribal access to natural areas within a California tribe’s ancestral lands. The California Department of Parks and Recreation’s Tribal Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) program, which establishes agreements with tribes to ensure access and, in some cases, co-management of cultural and natural resources of tribal interest in state parks . One such MOU led to the development of a Joint Powers Agreement, in collaboration with the Yurok Tribe, to reopen the Chah-pekw O’Ket’-toh “Stone Lagoon” Visitor Center as the first tribally managed visitor center within the State Park system.