California: 202 acres of redwood forest returned to native descendants

It is a strong gesture for recognition of the first Native American inhabitants. A conservation organization has just returned a historic redwood forest on California’s northern coast to the descendants of Native Americans.

202 hectares of forest

Centuries later, the descendants of the Native American tribes on California’s northern coast are finally reclaiming some of their heritage. The Save the Redwoods League, a nonprofit whose mission is to protect and restore coastal redwoods, just announced it is transferring more than 202 acres of forest to the InterTribal Sinkyone Wilderness. council.

Bringing together a dozen California tribes, the organization supports restoring local tribal peoples’ relationship with their traditional territories. From now on, she will be responsible for protecting and maintaining this patch of land with ancient redwoods so old that some of them would have seen their ancestors tread the ground of this forest…

Priscilla Hunter, Sinkyone Board Chair, welcomed the announcement:

“It’s a real blessing. It is like healing for our ancestors. I know our ancestors are happy. It is now up to us to protect them. »

Priscilla Hunter, Chair of the Sinkyone Council, ABC news

Heal the Earth and the People

From now on is the time for the healing of the soil and the men… This transfer is in fact part of the growing movement “Land Back” which consists in returning the indigenous indigenous lands to the descendants of those who have lived there for millennia. Expelled by European settlers, they saw their lands exploited for centuries to supply the new American society with timber.

The plot called Tc’ih-Léh-Dûñ in the Sinkyone language (“place of the fish race” in French), has not been used for almost 30 years ABC news. You can still admire a large number of old sequoias, as well as second-growth trees.

“It’s a quality where you can almost tangibly feel it heal, restore”marked Priscilla Hunter. ” You walk through the forest and while you see ghostly stumps of old trees that have been harvested, in the misty landscape you can also see the monsters that have been spared and the young redwoods growing from those stumps. »

Despite news that creates consensus, the financing of the land purchase leaves some doubt. The league’s $3.5 million purchase of the land two years ago was funded by Pacific Gas & Electric Co. The gas and electric utility has been accused since 2017 of fueling more than 30 wildfires that have wiped out more than 23,000 homes and businesses and killed more than 100 people.

For Michael Evenson, vice president of the Lost Coast League, which campaigns for the protection of water and wildlife in the region, it is out of the question “a green merit badge” to this company that has caused so much damage to the environment and people…

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