California awards over $100 million for tribal land projects, including ancestral land return and nature-based solutions

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California Construction News staff writer

As part of an ongoing truth and healing process, California is supporting the return of more than 38,000 acres of ancestral land to tribal stewardship and funding nature-based projects on tribal lands.

The state has awarded more than $100 million for 33 tribal land projects. The funding will be used for ancestral land return, implementation of Traditional Ecological Knowledge and tribal expertise, habitat restoration, climate and wildfire resilience projects, and more.

“Today marks a pivotal moment in our journey towards healing and reconciliation,” said Chairman Kevin Osuna, Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel. “This award is not merely a financial contribution; it is a symbol of solidarity, a recognition of our inherent rights, and a commitment to stewarding our ancestral lands.

“With these funds, we will not only secure the physical boundaries of our land but also lay the foundation for a future where our children, grandchildren and local communities can thrive, rooted in the strength of our heritage.”

Designed to support tribal priorities – as determined by tribes themselves – grants can be used for ancestral land return, restoration, workforce development, implementation of Traditional Ecological Knowledge and tribal expertise, habitat restoration, climate and wildfire resilience projects.

“This sacred land is for our future generations, and the Kashia Band of Pomo Indians are committed to preserving the natural resources and cultural heritage of our people,” said Chairperson Dino Franklin with the Kashia Band of Pomo Indians. “We look forward to working closely with the state and local communities to ensure that this land is protected and cared for in a sustainable manner.”

Early funding, as offered to time-sensitive and shovel-ready projects, went to the Hoopa Valley Tribe to acquire 10,395 acres of forested property and return Hupa Mountain to tribal stewardship. The Hoopa Valley Tribe’s ribbon-cutting ceremony for this ancestral land return is scheduled for May 14th.

See the full list of recipients and learn more about the announcement here.

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