Home News California Returns Over 40 Acres To Fort Independence Indian Community

California Returns Over 40 Acres To Fort Independence Indian Community

by Quincy Thomas
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Governor Gavin Newsom announced a significant milestone as the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) transferred more than 40 acres of the Mount Whitney Fish Hatchery to the Fort Independence Indian Community. This marks a groundbreaking return of land to a California tribe, reinforcing the state’s commitment to collaboration and addressing historical wrongs.

The Fort Independence Indian Community, a federally recognized tribe of Paiute people, has a deep connection to the land, serving as stewards for generations. The return of this acreage allows the tribe to revitalize traditional land management practices, fostering a healthier environment in harmony with their cultural heritage.

Governor Newsom emphasized the importance of this step in building bridges and healing past wounds. The longstanding relationship between the Fort Independence Indian Community and the land on which they’ve lived for centuries will be restored, benefiting not only the tribe but all communities in the area and across the state.

Water, an integral part of Paiute culture, holds immense significance for the tribe. Tribal Chairman Carl Dahlberg expressed the cultural and historical ties to the Oak Creek banks, emphasizing the sacred nature of these lands. The Mount Whitney Fish Hatchery property, intertwined with the identity of the Paiute people, will be preserved to ensure the transmission of knowledge and history to future generations.

Tribal Affairs Secretary Christina Snider-Ashtari commended the state’s efforts to restore the relationship between California Native peoples and their ancestral lands. The announcement aligns with the Governor’s broader initiatives, including the $101 million Tribal Nature-Based Solutions Program, which supports tribal projects advancing community well-being, workforce development, and land acquisition.

This landmark transfer symbolizes a step toward healing and recognizing the rights of California Native peoples, emphasizing the state’s commitment to promoting access, inclusion, and environmental conservation. The collaborative efforts underscore the importance of acknowledging historical injustices and fostering partnerships for a more equitable future.


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