Members of the Coast Miwok Council of Marin want a seat at the decision-making table.
When it comes to drafting a new management plan for the Point Reyes National Coastline or planning the use of controlled burns to reduce the threat of wildfires, its leaders say the organization is bypassed.
Since the re-establishment in 2000 of federal recognition of the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria, which includes members of Coast Miwok and Southern Pomo, this organization has assumed this role.
The rancheria was formed in 1920, when the Office of Indian Affairs established a small rancheria just west of Sevastopol for the “homeless and landless Indians” of Marin and the south coast of Sonoma.
Initially, the rancheria had a population of 75, but that number declined due to the property’s lack of water supply and its steep terrain.
In 1958, federal recognition of the rancheria ended when authorities swept these small Native American groups from the books.
While reinstatement was an important step in restoring the rights of local indigenous tribes, the Coast Miwok now want to have more of a say on important issues than they claim to get under the Graton Rancheria.
In fact, the two have clashed in recent months, with Miwok Council opposing the shoreline management plan to extend the leases of the park’s historic ranches and the planned limited culling of the park’s elk population. to keep its number in harmony with its limits.
The council also lobbied for a greater voice in the creation of Kule Loklo, the replica of the Coast Miwok village built in the park by the Miwok Archaeological Reserve in Marin to serve both as an educational tool to learn about tribal culture and gathering place for tribal ceremonies.
The board has ruled on both issues.
This is perhaps the best way to avoid being ignored.
But it should be up to the board and Graton Rancheria to determine how they should work together.
Obviously, with its federal recognition and the financial weight of its Rohnert Park casino complex, Graton Rancheria wields a lot of influence. He did not hesitate to show political and financial power. But Graton Rancheria must also be sensitive to criticism, including comments from Coast Miwok member Lucinda Vidauri who says Graton Rancheria executives “have neglected Marin so much”.
The leaders of the council are right to have to “show up and be present”. They need to show their numbers, connection and commitment to issues, not only to Graton Rancheria, but also to local officials who sometimes need to connect with experts in Miwok history and culture.
In this way, the views of board members will not be âoverlookedâ.