Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians chairman discusses Indigenous Peoples’ Day

Local News

Since the 1990s, a growing number of states have begun replacing Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples’ Day — a holiday meant to honor the culture and history of Native Americans.

Both holidays are celebrated on the second Monday in October.

More than 100 cities and several states have followed suit, observing Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

President Joe Biden has become the first U.S. president to issue a proclamation marking Indigenous Peoples’ Day, boosting efforts to refocus the federal holiday celebrating Christopher Columbus toward an appreciation of Native peoples.

Chairman Michael Hunter of the Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians joined Sonseeahray to discuss the significance of the recognition.

Cal Fire sent FOX40 the following response to claims of poor stewardship of Pomo ancestral land:

Typical early logging in this region began in the mid-1800’s and included the use of oxen to drag logs downhill and splash dams to move logs to the coastal mills.  This was followed by use of steam donkeys, railroads, and eventually bulldozers as technology improved.  This early infrastructure was all concentrated in and around the watercourses with high ecological impacts.

CAL FIRE’s Demonstration State Forest Program began in 1946 with the mission to acquire heavily cut-over timberlands and demonstrate that forestry is a sustainable enterprise to meet the current and future needs of society.  Jackson Demonstration State Forest (JDSF) was acquired in a heavily cut-over condition and has become the forest society values today under CAL FIRE’s thoughtful stewardship.

CAL FIRE continues to use timber harvesting on JDSF to maintain forest health and meet long-term stand structure objectives, including accelerating the restoration of about ¼ of the forest into old growth reserves.  Average biomass and tree size per acre has continued to increase across the forest even into the present day.  CAL FIRE also utilizes forest management activities to restore watershed conditions, fish and wildlife habitat, maintain high rates of carbon sequestration, and provide research and recreational opportunities.   

Through our 70 years of forest stewardship at JDSF, CAL FIRE has been able to continually meet society’s changing needs from forestlands.  The value of JDSF will continue to increase as the demand for forest products; recreational opportunities; valuable wildlife habitat; and forest related science increases, including uncertain impacts due to climate change. Demonstrating the compatibility and conflicts involved in managing multiple use forest land remain essential for the State of California to be on the forefront of land management for multiple objectives. 

CAL FIRE’s forest stewardship goals include meeting the contemporary needs of the Coyote Valley Band of the Pomo Indians and other indigenous peoples.  There have been three Government to Government consultations to date. These discussions are ongoing with both CAL FIRE and the California Natural Resources Agency. We look forward to learning how to re-introduce Coyote Valley’s traditional ecologic knowledge of managing the landscape and would like to facilitate access and use of any sacred sites and cultural resources they identify. 

CAL FIRE Communications Bureau

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