California (ucreview.com) – In a groundbreaking move, Governor Gavin Newsom revealed that the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has officially handed over over 40 acres of the Mount Whitney Fish Hatchery to the Fort Independence Indian Community. This transfer of land marks a significant milestone as it represents the state’s dedication to collaboration and rectifying historical injustices by returning land to a California tribe.
The Fort Independence Indian Community, a tribe of Paiute people recognized by the federal government, has a profound bond with the land. They have been serving as stewards of this land for generations. The recent return of this acreage provides an opportunity for the tribe to rejuvenate traditional land management practices. This restoration will contribute to a healthier environment that aligns with their cultural heritage.
Governor Newsom stressed the significance of this measure in fostering unity and addressing historical grievances. By reinstating the enduring bond between the Fort Independence Indian Community and their ancestral land, it will bring benefits not only to the tribe but also to the neighboring communities and the entire state.
Water is of great importance to the Paiute tribe, as it is deeply ingrained in their culture. Tribal Chairman Carl Dahlberg emphasized the sacred nature of the lands along the Oak Creek banks, highlighting the cultural and historical ties. Preserving the Mount Whitney Fish Hatchery property is crucial for the Paiute people, as it is intertwined with their identity. This preservation ensures that future generations will have access to the knowledge and history of the tribe.
California Native peoples’ efforts to restore their ancestral lands have been praised by Tribal Affairs Secretary Christina Snider-Ashtari. This announcement is in line with the Governor’s larger initiatives, such as the $101 million Tribal Nature-Based Solutions Program, which assists tribal projects in promoting community well-being, workforce development, and land acquisition.
California takes a significant leap towards healing and acknowledging the rights of its Native peoples with this groundbreaking transfer. It reflects the state’s dedication to promoting access, inclusion, and environmental conservation. The collaborative efforts highlight the importance of recognizing past injustices and fostering partnerships for a fairer future.