Native California tribes have regained their land and will now protect it from climate change.


Three years ago, California governor Gavin Newsom apologized to California tribes for a history of violence and mistreatment. Now, a day before Indigenous Peoples Day, Newsom has made a commitment to the tribes of California. 


Newsom’s efforts in rekindling a relationship with California’s native tribes comes in the form of a program that gives back to the tribes. The program will not only give back land from California’s coast to the native tribes but is also a way to protect the coasts from climate change.


The program will be a partnership between the Tribal Marine Stewards Network and Resighini Rancheria, Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation, Kashia Band of Pomo Indians, Amah Mutsun Tribal Band and Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians


TMSN is founded by the Kashia Band of Pomo Indians of the Stewarts Point Rancheria, the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band, the Resighini Rancheria, and the Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation. Together they work on the Pacific Ocean coastline. 


“The network provides opportunities to share knowledge and build tribal capacity to monitor and manage ocean resources,” said Abreanna Gomes, an environmental specialist from the Kashia Band of Pomo Indians.


The five tribes part of this new program will join in the TMSN’s cause. Their work will consist of using their traditional knowledge to preserve the coast, monitor salmon, check toxins in shellfish and continue to educate and share their traditions. 


Megan Rocha, a member of the Yurok tribe (a tribe that originates from Del Norte and Humboldt counties of California) and part of the leadership council of TMSN, says “It’s focused on tribal sovereignty … So how do we build a network where it provides for collaboration, but again, it allows each tribe to do it in the way that they see fit and respects each tribe’s sovereignty.”


In order to reach sovereignty the state government and tribes still need to come to agreements on the management of the areas. So far, the program will receive funding for the next three years from the California Ocean Protection Council (OPC). As of right now they have received  $3.6 million in support. 


This is a big step to rectify the relationship with the tribes.