Ten Indigenous tribes on California’s Lost Coast are about to get their ancestral homeland back. Save the Redwoods League announced Tuesday that it will transfer over 500 acres back to the InterTribal Sinkyone Wilderness Council.

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“It’s a real blessing,” said Priscilla Hunter of the Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians, as reported by The Guardian. “It’s like a healing for our ancestors. I know our ancestors are happy. This was given to us to protect.” Hunter is chair of the InterTribal Sinkyone Wilderness Council, which will now hold title to the land. The 10 tribes will be responsible for stewarding an area of land called Tc’ih-Léh-Dûñ, which means “Fish Run Place” in the Sinkyone language.

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The 500 acres include both old-growth and second-growth trees. The area hasn’t been logged for about 30 years. “This is a property where you can almost tangibly feel that it is healing, that it is recovering,” said Sam Hodder, president and CEO of Save the Redwoods League, as reported by The Guardian. “You walk through the forest and, even as you see the kind of ghostly stumps of ancient trees that were harvested, you could also in the foggy landscape see the monsters that were left behind as well as the young redwoods that are sprouting from those stumps.”

Save the Redwoods bought the land for $3.5 million two years ago. Pacific Gas & Electric Co. funded the purchase as part of its mitigation efforts for environmental damage the utility has caused. Marbled murrelet and northern spotted owls are just two of the species that benefit from this conservation effort.

The Lost Coast transfer is part of the bigger Land Back movement, which is returning Indigenous homelands to their descendants. “For so many decades tribal voices have been marginalized in the mainstream conservation movement,” said Hawk Rosales, former executive director of the Sinkyone council. “It’s only until very recently that they have been invited to participate meaningfully and to take a leadership role.”

Via The Guardian

Lead image via Pixabay