Yurok Tribe Signs Agreement with California State Parks for Collaborative Approach in North Coast Redwoods

For immediate release: 09/28/2022

Yurok Tribe Signs Agreement with California State Parks for Collaborative Approach in North Coast Redwoods

State Parks
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Matt Mais, Yurok Tribe
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SACRAMENTO, Calif.— California State Parks and the Yurok Tribe today signed a Memorandum of Understanding to establish a collaborative approach to the management, preservation, and interpretation of cultural and natural resources on tribal ancestral lands Yurok in the North Coast Redwoods District.

“State Parks is honored to build on our relationship with the Yurok Tribe for collaborative management and shared stewardship,” said California State Parks Director Armando Quintero. “When the Yurok Tribe and other Native American tribal nations in California are able to access their ancestral lands and continue their cultural traditions and practices, all Californians will inevitably benefit.”

“I want to thank California State Parks Superintendent Armando Quintero and North Coast Redwoods District Superintendent Victor Bjelajac for taking action to right this long-standing injustice. The agreement ensures that our culture and traditions as well as our traditional ecological knowledge will continue to be passed down from one generation to the next,” said Joseph L. James, Chairman of the Yurok Tribe. “Furthermore, the reintegration of tribal land management practices is critical to the long-term health of the redwood forest ecosystem.”

The memorandum of understanding:

  • Support the integration of traditional ecological knowledge of the Yurok Tribe into natural resource management practices in state parks on the ancestral lands of the Yurok Tribe.
  • Support the maintenance of traditional cultural practices by allowing tribal members of the Yurok Tribe to access specific state parks with their tribal ID cards. Tribal members of the Yurok tribe can also use their tribal ID cards to collect plant materials and minerals for traditional purposes in these parks.

In addition, the implementation of traditional ecological knowledge and traditional yurok gathering practices will promote the sustainability of native plant species and habitats, helping to address the climate and biodiversity crisis.

The memorandum of understanding acts on the Governor’s formal apology to Native Americans and Administrative Policy Statement on Native American ancestral lands by supporting co-management and access to natural lands that are on the ancestral lands of the Yurok Tribe.

The agreement was also announced today at the California Natural Resources Agency 30×30 Partnerships Launch Event. The 30×30 initiative is an international movement to protect 30% of land and coastal waters by 2030. Under the leadership of Governor Gavin Newsom, California is at the forefront of the effort as more than 100 countries and subnational governments adopted similar objectives. California released its Pathways to the 30×30 Strategy. The kick-off meeting will kick-start collaboration and community engagement around achieving state goals.

Top: Representatives of the Yurok Tribe, State Parks staff and Natural Resources Agency Secretary Wade Crowfoot (center in a dark suit) at the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding in Sacramento on Sept. 28 2022. Bottom Photos: Tribal Historic Preservation Officer Rosie Clayburn with the Yurok Tribe and State Parks Superintendent Armando Quintero sign the Memorandum of Understanding. Photos from California State Parks.

Yourok Tribe
With over 6,300 registered members, the Yourok Tribe is currently the largest tribe in California. The tribe provides many services to its citizens and the local community. The tribe’s major initiatives include holistic forest management, fisheries protection, restoration and management, Klamath Dam removal, condor reintroduction, natural resource conservation, cultural preservation, economic development sustainability and land acquisition.

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