Recently, More than 500 acres of redwood forest land in California has been returned to the Native American tribes. In the earlier times, the land was known as Andersonia West. Generations ago, the ancestors of the Native American Tribes were forced to leave the forest by European colonists. It’s hard to think about the scattered stumps of redwoods throughout the forest. But there are still 200 acres of redwoods in the forest that survived the logging.

 

According to Save the redwoods, “By the end of the 1950s, only about 10 percent of the original two-million-acre redwood range remained untouched.” Redwoods are now facing several threats from human-induced climate change, land development, and burl poaching.

 

Later, the land was purchased by a conservation group called Save the Redwoods League in San Francisco. Then the league announced that the land is now donated to the InterTribal Sinkyone Wilderness Council. There are 10 Northern California tribal nations included in the Sinkyone Council. The council includes the Cahto Tribe of Laytonville Rancheria, the Pinoleville Pomo Nation, and the Round Valley Indian Tribes.

A redwood forest in California has been permanently returned to its Indigenous tribes
A redwood forest in California has been permanently returned to its Indigenous tribes

After the ownership was transferred to the council, the Sinkyone people have the power to modify the land by adding more redwoods. They have the power to reclaim and rename the land because the land is now the property of the Sinkyone people.

 

As part of the agreement, The land will now be called Tc’ih-Léh-Dûñ (pronounced tsih-ih-LEY-duhn) which means “Fish Run Place”. “Renaming the property Tc’ih-Léh-Dûñ lets people know that it’s a sacred place; it’s a place for our Native people. It lets them know that there was a language and that there was a people who lived there long before now,” said Crista Ray, the Sinkyone Council board member, and tribal citizen.

 

According to the league president and CEO Sam Hodder, Tc’ih-Léh-Dûñ has been reunited with “the original stewards of this land.” Soon, the InterTribal Sinkyone Wilderness Council will partner with the nonprofit organization, Save the Redwoods League. Now onwards, they will protect the forestland and all its wildlife.

 

Buffie Schmidt, tribal citizen and vice-chairperson of the Sherwood Valley Rancheria of Pomo Indians said “Today I stand on the shoulders of giants, my ancestors … to bring them honor, and to not let our old ways be forgotten, for our next generation, my children, my grandchildren and all the kids that I’ll never get to see.”

“Our ancestors are still here, they’re still around us. As I listen to the wind, I feel like my ancestors — who I’ve never even known in my lifetime — are here and happy that we call this place something that they’re familiar with: Tc’ih-Léh-Dûñ.”

Save the Redwoods League
Save the Redwoods

Save the Redwoods League purchased the Tc’ih-Léh-Dûñ for $3.55 million in 2020. The Tc’ih-Léh-Dûñ is known for its majestic and impressive ancient redwoods and the land consists of several endangered species such as coho salmon, steelhead trout, marbled murrelets, and northern spotted owls. Now they’re protected by the league and the council.

 

We believe the best way to permanently protect and heal this land is through tribal stewardship. In this process, we have an opportunity to restore balance in the ecosystem and in the communities connected to it, while also accelerating the pace and scale of conserving California’s iconic redwood forests,” said Hodder.

Previously, the Save the Redwoods League donated a 164-acre Four Corners property which is located north of Tc’ih-Léh-Dûñ. Now, This is the second time Save the Redwoods League has donated land to the council.

 

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