Two nonprofit organizations are donating ownership of more than 500 acres of redwood forest to a group of native tribes, Save the Redwoods League and the InterTribal Sinkyone Wilderness Council announced Tuesday. The California forest, which was formerly called Andersonia West, will once again be known as Tc’ih-Léh-Dûñ, which means “Fish Run Place.”
“Renaming the property Tc’ih-Léh-Dûñ lets people know that it’s a sacred place; it’s a place for our Native people,” board member of the Sinkyone Council Christa Ray said in a statement Tuesday. “It lets them know that there was a language and that there was a people who lived there long before now.”
The Save the Redwoods League said it donated the the 523-acre forest to a group of ten Indigenous tribes that make up the Sinkyone Council. It’s the environmental advocacy group’s second land donation to the council. According to the league, Sinkyone people “were forcibly removed by European American settlers generations ago” from the forest’s land.
“This place is within the Sinkyone traditional territory, that for thousands of years it has been and still remains an area of importance for the Sinkyone people, and that it holds great cultural significance for the Sinkyone Council and its member tribes,” chairwoman of the Sinkyone Council Priscilla Hunter said.
The Council said it plans to apply a mix of Indigenous land guardianship strategies, conservation science and fire resiliency approaches to “help ensure lasting protection and long-term healing” to the forest — which hosts 200 acres of old-growth redwood trees and an array of endangered species. With the reclaimed ownership of the land, the Council said it will “support and participate in the healing of these lands and their communities.”
“In holding and caring for this land, we are helping to lead effective ways of addressing the global climate crisis,” Hunter said.
Save the Redwoods League bought the land on the Lost Coast in Mendocino County for $3.55 million in 2020. The purchase was funded by Pacific Gas & Electric Company through a conservation program set up by the utility company.
PG&E equipment has been blamed for sparking several wildfires in California, including the deadly 2021 Dixie Fire, which lead to a series of criminal charges, including, for the utlity company.