California’s redwood forest returned to native tribes

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Two nonprofits are donating ownership of more than 500 acres of redwood forest to a group of indigenous tribes, Save the Redwoods League and the InterTribal Sinkyone Wilderness Council announced Tuesday. The California Forest, which was once called Andersonia West, will once again be known as Tc’ih-Léh-Dûñ, meaning “Fish Run Place”.

“Renaming the Tc’ih-Léh-Dûñ property lets people know that this is a sacred place; this is a place for our aboriginal people,” Sinkyone Council board member Christa Ray said Tuesday. “It lets them know there was a language and there was a people who lived there long before today.”

The Save the Redwoods League said it donated the 523-acre forest to a group of ten indigenous tribes that make up the Sinkyone Council. This is the environmental group’s second land donation to the council. According to the league, Sinkyone residents “were forcibly evicted by European American settlers generations ago” from the forest lands.

“This place is within the traditional territory of Sinkyone, which for thousands of years has been and remains an area of ​​significance to the Sinkyone people, and is of great cultural significance to the Sinkyone Council and its member tribes,” Sinkyone Council President Priscilla Hunter said.

The council said it plans to apply a combination of indigenous land trusteeship strategies, conservation science and fire resilience approaches to “help ensure lasting protection and long-term healing” of the forest – home to 200 acres of ancient redwoods and an array of endangered species. With the property reclaimed from the land, the Council said it will “support and participate in the healing of these lands and their communities”.

“By holding and caring for these lands, we are helping to find effective ways to address the global climate crisis,” Hunter said.

Save the Redwoods League purchased the land on the Lost Coast in Mendocino County for $3.55 million in 2020. The purchase was funded by Pacific Gas & Electric Company as part of a conservation program set up place by the utility company.

PG&E equipment has been blamed for starting several wildfires in California, including the deadly 2021 Dixie Fire, which led to a series of criminal charges, including manslaughter, for the utility company.

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