Over the next few weeks, I will be posting ways in which we can cultivate belonging—to Place (the land, watershed, & more-than-human world), to community, & to self (body/soul/calling)—and how these are all interrelated.
One of the ways to cultivate belonging to where you’re at (in time and space) is by learning about the original inhabitants of the land. Especially because I live & work on the land, I find it especially important and meaningful. This includes educating myself about the history of indigenous people where I am, their relationship with the ecosystem, their stories, the history of settler aggression, current culture & struggles.
Here on the ‘North Coast’, in the Humboldt Bay region, that is the Wiyot people (where I live). The Wiyot and adjacent people thrived here for 1000s of years prior to European settlement. Wiyot ancestral lands extend from Little River in the north, to Bear River Ridge to the south, and inland to Chalk Mountain & Berry Summit.
So the first step is recognizing that, & owning that I come here as a settler & part of a colonial thrust of history that disrupted & ALMOST eliminated that entire culture.
But Wiyot are still here & thriving, and just a few months ago Eureka City council voted unanimously to return Duluwat (Indian Island) in the Bay to the Wiyot tribe. In February 1860, Duluwat was the site of a horrendous massacre of women, children, & elderly by Euro-Americans, when the men were away gathering supplies.
Wiyot today consider the island sacred ground, center of the world, & hold an annual renewal gathering there. I’ve read that this is the first time a municipality has voluntarily chosen to repatriate land to the original inhabitants. The Wiyot are in the process of reclamation, restoration, & cleanup from the erosion and industries.
The journey of learning the history and people is continually deepening. I’m eager to know more & also find ways to support the work of indigenous people.
Check out the app called ‘Native Land’ to find out more about indigenous in your area.
Next up in #CultivatingBelonging: Watershed