Land Trust News/Events

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UPCOMING  VOLUNTEER DAYS 

 

AMLT has regular volunteer work days in the Mutsun Gardens at Pie Ranch and at San Juan Bautista State Historic Park.

Volunteer work days at Pie Ranch (MAP) are on the third Saturday of each month, from 1:00-5:00. The next volunteer day will be Saturday, August 19th. Please RSVP for this work day by emailing Julisa Lopez at jujlopez@ucsc.edu.

Volunteers are welcome to stay for a potluck and barn dance with Pie Ranch following the work day. For more details, check out the Pie Ranch website.

This month there will be no volunteer day at San Juan Bautista State Park.  Volunteer days at the park will resume on the second Saturday of next month, September 9th. 

Volunteer days are a great opportunity to meet new people, learn about the Amah Mutsun Land Trust and Tribal Band, and do something positive for Mother Earth. We hope you will join us!

 

 


 

Winter 2017 Newsletter 

AN INTRODUCTION FROM CHAIRMAN VALENTIN LOPEZ

Dear Friends,

We’re very happy to announce that on January 12th, former President Barack Obama designated the Cotoni-Coast Dairies as a National Monument. The 5,800 acre Cotoni-Coast Dairies is in Santa Cruz County and extends from the steep slopes of the Santa Cruz Mountains to marine terraces overlooking the Pacific Ocean. This National Monument encompasses ancient archaeological sites, riparian and wetland habitats, coastal prairies, and woodlands that include stands of coast redwood. Our Amah Mutsun Tribe and Land Trust supported this effort and actively worked on the campaign to achieve this designation.

Our creation story tells us that Creator very specifically selected our people to live on these lands. Creator then gave us the responsibility to take care of these lands and all living things. Creator has never rescinded this sacred obligation and that is why continue reading

FROM THE DESK OF THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

By EkOngKar Singh Khalsa, AMLT Executive Director

It has been a busy four months since I first began work as Executive Director in October. Since that time, much of my attention and energy has been focused on several very important initiatives for our organization.

Independence: First, we are working to establish the Amah Mutsun Land Trust as an independent organization with sufficient capacity and funding to sustain our mission in the long run. This is a very important goal and I’m happy to report that we have accomplished a lot so far…Read more.

QUIROSTE VALLEY AND THE VALUE OF COLLABORATIVE ARCHAEOLOGICAL RESEARCH ABOUT NATIVE HISTORY

By Rob Cuthrell, AMLT Research Associate

Ten years ago, a group of researchers led by UC Berkeley Professor Kent Lightfoot came to the Amah Mutsun Tribal Council with a novel kind of proposal. They wanted to work with the Tribe and State Parks to begin a scientific project to learn more about the long term history of relationships between Native people and the natural world… Click to read more.

RECENT ARCHAEOLOGICAL FIELDWORK ON THE SANTA CRUZ COAST

By Kent Lightfoot, AMLT Board Member and Professor of Anthropology

A collaborative team of researchers from the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band, California State Parks, UC Berkeley, and UC Santa Cruz initiated archaeological fieldwork on the Santa Cruz coast in the summer of 2016. Our study used our eco-archaeological approach to research different-aged sites across a large area to broaden the study of indigenous landscape management on the Central California coast… Click to read more.

NOTES FROM THE NATIVE STEWARDSHIP CORPS

By Nathan Vasquez, AMLT Native Steward

The AMLT Native Stewardship Corps reconnects tribal members with traditional cultural practices, places, and knowledge through conservation fieldwork and cultural education. Here Nathan Vasquez describes his work with the AMLT Native Stewardship Corps and shares some of his artwork featuring prominent Amah Mutsun cultural symbols. Read more.

AMAH MUTSUN ETHNOBOTANY

By Sara French, AMLT Research Associate

Do you want to learn more about the useful and culturally significant plants in the California landscape? Each AMLT newsletter will highlight a native plant that is used by the Amah Mutsun. Click here to read about ethnobotany of red maids.

WISDOM FROM ASCENCION

Edited by Jay Scherf, AMLT Project Assistant

Ascension Solorsano was a Mutsun healer and leader who had extensive knowledge of Mutsun culture, language, plant uses, and customs. In the 1920s and ’30s she and other Mutsun people shared their knowledge with the ethnographer John P. Harrington, who recorded over 78,000 pages of her wisdom, which are stored at the Smithsonian. Here are some of her words…continue reading. 

UPCOMING EVENTS AND VOLUNTEER DAYS 

Good news! AMLT has established regular volunteer work days in the Mutsun Gardens at Pie Ranch and at San Juan Bautista State Historic Park.

Volunteer work days at the San Juan Bautista State Historic Park (MAP) will be the second Saturday of each month, from 10:30-2:30.

Volunteer work days at Pie Ranch (MAP) will be the third Saturday of each month, from 1:00-5:00, followed by a potluck and barn dance with Pie Ranch.

Please RSVP for a volunteer day or ask any questions by sending an email to sreid@amahmutsun.org. Volunteers should bring the food and water you will need for the day, sun protection, and clothes that can get dirty.

Volunteer days are a great opportunity to meet new people, learn about the Amah Mutsun Land Trust and Tribal Band, and do something positive for Mother Earth. We hope you will join us!

 

 


 

Press Release

ANNOUNCING THE NEW COTONI-COAST DAIRIES NATIONAL MONUMENT

January 13, 2017

The Amah Mutsun Land Trust is very pleased by the news that President Obama has, by Presidential Proclamation, included Cotoni-Coast Dairies property as part of the California Coastal National Monument. The Amah Mutsun Tribal Band was an important part of the organizing effort to support this designation. The Cotoni-Coast Dairies property, located near Davenport in Santa Cruz County, contains significant cultural and ecological resources and was home to the Cotoni people, whose descendants are part of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band. The AMLT and the Bureau of Land Management have established a Memorandum of Understanding to work together to protect natural and cultural resources at Cotoni-Coast Dairies and our work to steward Native cultural sites and sensitive fish populations is already underway. You can read the full press release from Chairman Valentin Lopez here.

AMLT in the News

AMAH MUTSUN OPPOSE GRAVEL MINE AT SACRED SITE

San Jose Inside recently featured the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band’s opposition to the proposed gravel mine at Juristac, a sacred site and historic Mutsun village also known as Sargent Ranch. The 317-acre site is culturally, spiritually, and environmentally significant to the Tribe and would be irrevocably harmed by mining operation. Read the full article here.

Event Announcement

COLLABORATIVE ARCHAEOLOGY RESEARCH PRESENTATION AT UC BERKELEY CAMPUS

This past summer, Native Stewards from the Amah Mutsun Land Trust joined researchers from UC Berkeley and staff from California State Parks to investigate some of the earliest known archaeological sites on the Central California coast. They were looking for early evidence of indigenous burning, and wondering how indigenous management practices shaped the landscape. The findings of the project will be of direct relevance to California State Parks and the Amah Mutsun Land Trust, who are generating plans for the ecological restoration of selected public lands in the Santa Cruz region.

On December 8, 2016 from 7:00 – 8:00 pm research participants will present their results in a panel discussion hosted by the Archaeological Research Facility at UC Berkeley. All are welcome to attend this free event. Click here to download a flyer with more information.

Fall 2016 Newsletter 

A MESSAGE FROM CHAIRMAN VALENTIN LOPEZ

Dear Friends,

Our Amah Mutsun Land Trust (AMLT) is happy to introduce our first Executive Director, EkOngKar Singh Khalsa. Mr. Khalsa, “EK,” comes to us from the Mystic River Watershed Association (MyRWA), an environmental nonprofit based near Boston. While developing a professional organization at MyRWA, EK worked vigorously to restore strong herring migrations; ensure clean water for swimming and boating; preserve habitat for critical species; reduce discharges of pollutants into waterways; remove invasive plants; develop active volunteer engagement; and provide environmental education programs for the public. These accomplishments are directly in line with the goals we have for our AMLT.

During our first interview we immediately recognized that EK understands the social justice issues facing our AMLT and has the experience we need to build organizational capacity. It is for these reasons that we are proud to introduce EK as the new and first Executive Director of the AMLTcontinue reading

WHY I HAVE JOINED THE AMLT

By EkOngKar Singh Khalsa, AMLT Executive Director

As the first Executive Director of the Amah Mutsun Land Trust, I am honored to have this opportunity to work with the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band as its members renew their stewardship of tribal lands. The Amah Mutsun Land Trust was founded to fulfill a sacred covenant and to restore balance to the relationship between humans and nature. The trust intends to help us move forward to a time when, in the words of M. Kat Anderson, “conservation and stewardship are everyday practices”read more

PRESCRIBED FIRE AT SAN VICENTE REDWOODS

By EkOngKar Singh Khalsa, AMLT Executive Director

On October 10th, members of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band, Tribal Council Chair Val Lopez, and AMLT staff joined the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) for a prescribed fire on a 10-acre parcel in the San Vicente Redwoods. San Vicente Redwoods is an 8,532-acre preserve owned and managed by the Sempervirens Fund and Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST). Sempervirens Executive Director Sara Barth welcomed everyone to the property and underlined how important the day’s work was to efforts to restore controlled fire as a safe and effective tool to manage forested landsread more

NOTES FROM THE NATIVE STEWARDSHIP CORPS

By Eleanor Castro, Tribal Elder, AMLT Board of Directors

The AMLT Native Stewardship Corps reconnects tribal members with traditional cultural practices, places, and knowledge through conservation fieldwork and cultural education. Here Tribal Elder, Eleanor Castro, describes her role as a mentor, spiritual leader, and teacher in the Native Stewardship Corps… continue reading

NATIVE STEWARDSHIP CORPS, AUGUST 2016: IN PICTURES

By Jay Scherf, AMLT Project Assistant

The Native Stewardship Corps spent two weeks this August camping and working along the Central Coast. By all measures, this episode of NSC was a great success. We welcomed back our core group of veteran Native Stewards, and also welcomed Tribal Elder Eleanor Castro and our newest steward Natalie Garcia to the NSC. Over the course of this episode, the stewards removed thousands of invasive plants from culturally significant landscapes; learned and honed traditional skills; and spent countless hours renewing their relationship to their Tribal homeland and strengthening Tribal bonds… view slideshow

AMAH MUTSUN ETHNOBOTANY

By Sara French, AMLT Research Associate

Do you want to learn more about the useful and culturally significant plants in the California landscape? Each AMLT newsletter will highlight a native plant that is used by the Amah Mutsun. Click here to read about ethnobotany of the California bay tree.

“RAIN FOREST,” A POEM

By Elizabeth Rodriguez, 12, Amah Mutsun Tribal Member

The Amah Mutsun Land Trust seeks to advance indigenous stewardship, which stems directly from the sense of ecological knowledge and kinship held within the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band. In her poetry, Elizabeth Rodriguez, age 12, expresses environmental concern as a Mutsun youth.continue reading

WISDOM FROM ASCENCION

Edited by Jay Scherf, AMLT Project Assistant

Ascension Solorsano was a Mutsun healer and leader who had extensive knowledge of Mutsun culture, language, plant uses, and customs. In the 1920s and ’30s she and other Mutsun people shared their knowledge with the ethnographer John P. Harrington, who recorded over 78,000 pages of her wisdom, which are stored at the Smithsonian. Here are some of her words…continue reading

UPCOMING EVENTS AND VOLUNTEER DAYS 

  • Saturday November 19th, 2016, from 10:00-2:30. Maintenance in the Mutsun Garden at Pie Ranch. Please send an email to sreid@amahmutsun.org if you plan to attend.
  • Thursday December 8th, 2016. Save the date. Presentation at UC Berkeley about recent archaeological research along the Santa Cruz coast. Check back on this page for more information as we near the event.

AMAH MUTSUN LAND TRUST NEWSLETTER Q&A

Have a burning question for the Amah Mutsun Land Trust?

Have a burning question for the Amah Mutsun Land Trust?

Question: Are there still salmon that return to their home streams in the traditional territory of the Amah Mutsun? Do the Amah Mutsun do anything to help the salmon?
Answer: Federally threatened steelhead and endangered coho salmon still return to many coastal streams within Amah Mutsun Tribal Band territory, as they have for thousands of years. However their numbers have been greatly reduced
continue reading

Email your questions to sreid@amahmutsun.org and you may find the answer to your question in our next newsletter!

Press Release and Event Announcement

AMAH MUTSUN LAND TRUST HIRES FIRST EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

We are pleased to announce that EkOngKar Singh Khalsa has joined the AMLT as our first executive director. The official press release can be downloaded here, and an article in the Santa Cruz Sentinel interviewing Mr. Khalsa and Chairman Lopez can be read here.

There will be a reception to welcome Mr. Khalsa to the AMLT on November 5th, 2016 from 2:00-4:30 PM at Pie Ranch in Pescadero. Click here for more information and to RSVP to this free event.

 

Summer 2016 Newsletter 

A MESSAGE FROM CHAIRMAN VALENTIN LOPEZ

Dear Friends,

Our Amah Mutsun Land Trust (AMLT) is happy to share with you the second edition of our newsletter. The big news for our Land Trust is that we recently made a commitment to hire our first Executive Director, who will be joining us on October 1. We look forward to formally introducing you to the new Executive Director in our next newsletter.

Sempervirens Fund has been our fiscal sponsor since October 2013. In that time our AMLT has made tremendous progress and now our new Executive Director will lead us into the future as an independent land trust. The  respect and trust we have for Sempervirens Fund could not be greater. Ho! to Sempervirens.

While giving a talk recently, I was asked what is the most important thing to know about traditional Mutsun stewardship. This was an easy question. The most important thing to know is that traditional stewardship involves creating a loving relationship with Mother Earth. Therefore we must treat…continue reading

ETHNOBOTANY: A RELATIONSHIP WITH PLANTS

By Sara French, AMLT Research Associate

Ethnobotany is the study of the human relationship with plants. We all engage in ethnobotanical relationships every day, but for many of us our relationship with plants is disconnected. We buy plant based foods and medicines from a store rather than gathering or growing them ourselves, but in the not so distant past our ancestors got the foods, medicines, and raw materials they needed directly from the land…read more

MARIA ASCENCIÓN SOLÓRSANO {DE GARCIA Y DE CERVANTES}

By Ed Ketchum, AMLT Board Member and Tribal Historian

No one knows when she was really born, her parents Barbara and Miguel were still hiding from “Tasuguic” the Yokuts shaman, once married to her mother. “Tasuguic” was not a charlatan, he had nearly killed Ascención’s mother, Barbara, with a swipe of his poisonous hand. “Tasuguic” then escaped turning into a hawk. Barbara and Miguel spoke Mutsun at home with their children. At thirteen Ascención went into a coma. Ascención appeared dead to those present. When Ascención awoke, she reported that she had travelled to the land of the deadread more

A CONVERSATION THROUGH TIME: TRANSCRIBING THE HARRINGTON NOTES

By Jay Scherf, AMLT Project Assistant

Though it feels strange at times reading words that Doña Ascencion Solorsano spoke to John P. Harrington ninety years ago, we realize that in a way Doña Ascencion was speaking to us as well. She didn’t give Harrington tens of thousands of pages worth of information for nothing. She must have known how much she was leaving to her people; that she was providing invaluable records of Mutsun culture and history so her descendants could fulfill their sacred obligation to the Creator. Read more.

AMAH MUTSUN ETHNOBOTANY

By Sara French, AMLT Research Associate

Do you want to learn more about the useful and culturally significant plants in the California landscape? Each AMLT newsletter will highlight a native plant that is used by the Amah Mutsun. Click here to read about ethnobotany of the California blackberry.

WISDOM FROM ASCENCION

By Jay Scherf, AMLT Project Assistant

Ascension Solorsano was a Mutsun healer and leader who had extensive knowledge of Mutsun culture, language, plant uses, and customs. In the 1920s and ’30s she and other Mutsun people shared their knowledge with the ethnographer John P. Harrington, who recorded over 78,000 pages of her wisdom, which are stored at the Smithsonian. Here are some of her words…continue reading. 

AMLT MUTSUN GARDENS – Updates and Volunteer Days

We have accomplished great things in the Mutsun Gardens at Pie Ranch and at San Juan Bautista thanks to the hard work of our volunteers, the generous donations from local nurseries, and two new grants from the California State Parks Foundation and The Christensen Fund. A local newspaper recently wrote about the Mutsun Garden at San Juan Bautista, which you can read about here.

Would you like to join the AMLT in caring for culturally significant native plants?

Attend an upcoming volunteer day on July 23, August 13, or August 20. Click here for more information about volunteer days.

AMAH MUTSUN LAND TRUST NEWSLETTER Q&A

Have a burning question for the Amah Mutsun Land Trust?

Have a burning question for the Amah Mutsun Land Trust?

Maybe you are curious about indigenous stewardship, or you have a question for one our research associates, or want to know more about Amah Mutsun history and culture?

Future AMLT Newsletters will have a question and answer section featuring questions submitted by our readers.

Email your questions to sreid@amahmutsun.org and you may find the answer to your question in our next newsletter!

 

AMLT in the News

AMAH MUTSUN LAND TRUST FEATURED IN INDIAN COUNTRY TODAY

Indian Country Today Media Network, one of the foremost Native news publications in North America, recently published a story featuring the AMLT’s partnership with the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District and their efforts to open Mt. Umunhum to the public as a ceremonial site. Read the full story here.

AMAH MUTSUN AND BLM SIGN COAST DAIRIES AGREEMENT

The Amah Mutsun signed an historic Memorandum of Understanding with the Bureau of Land Management this week, granting the Tribe formal access to the 5,800-acre site in their traditional territory to conduct ceremonies and steward biological and cultural resources. The agreement is the first MOU the BLM’s Central Coast Office has signed with any tribal organization. Read the Santa Cruz Hilltromper’s full story here.

AMAH MUTSUN LAND TRUST FEATURED IN SANTA CRUZ SENTINEL

The Santa Cruz Sentinel recently featured the Amah Mutsun Land Trust, describing the background of the Land Trust in the context of Tribal history as well as some of its long-term goals and strategies to advance indigenous stewardship. Read the full story here.

AMAH MUTSUN LAND TRUST FEATURED IN SAN JOSE INSIDE

San Jose Inside recently featured the Amah Mutsun Land Trust, describing the historic agreement signed with the Bureau of Land Management granting the Amah Mutsun access to the Cotoni/Coast Dairies property near Davenport. Read the full artile here.

Spring 2016 Newsletter 

AN INTRODUCTION FROM CHAIRMAN VALENTIN LOPEZ

Dear Friends,

Our Amah Mutsun Land Trust (AMLT) is pleased to bring you the first edition of our AMLT Newsletter. Our Amah Mutsun Tribe is comprised of the documented descendants of the indigenous peoples taken to Missions San Juan Bautista and Santa Cruz in the greater Monterey Bay area of California.

As Chairman of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band, I would like to introduce you to our Tribe and Land Trust. To understand the Amah Mutsun it is important to understand our creation story.  Our Creation story occurs at the peak of Mount Umunhum, which was the highest peak in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Mount Umunhum translates to the home, or place, of the hummingbird in our Mutsun language. All life, plants, wildlife, people, wind, fog, etc. were created at Mount Umunhum; they are our relatives… continue reading

AMAH MUTSUN LAND TRUST FEATURED IN BAY NATURE MAGAZINE

Read the most recent article published in Bay Nature Magazine on the work of the Amah Mutsun Land Trust. The article, titled “Rekindling the Old Ways: The Amah Mutsun and the Recovery of Traditional Ecological Knowledge,” is available at: https://baynature.org/articles/rekindling-old-ways. This article was written by award-winning environmental journalist Mary Ellen Hannibal.

INDIGENOUS STEWARDSHIP AND CONSERVATION IN A CHANGING WORLD

By Nicole Heller, AMLT Research Associate

When I first learned the science of conservation biology as a student in the early 1990s, the emphasis was on getting people out of the equation. “Ideal nature,” the thing to be restored, did not include human beings. Conservation work was about protecting the land, removing all human impacts, and then leaving nature alone to return itself to its historic composition.

Leaving nature alone to heal itself, however, has not proved viable. Read more.

YERBA SANTA, A MEDICINAL PLANT EXTRAORDINAIRE

By M. Kat Anderson, AMLT Technical Advisor

One of the more common shrubs growing in California’s chaparral and woodlands, yerba santa (Eriodictyon californicum) is also one of the state’s preeminent medicinal plants. In pre-mission California, there was hardly a tribe with yerba santa in its territory that did not use this plant for medicine. Click to read more.

NOTES FROM THE NATIVE STEWARDSHIP CORPS

By Abran Lopez, AMLT Native Steward

The AMLT Native Stewardship Corps reconnects tribal members with traditional cultural practices, places, and knowledge through conservation fieldwork and cultural education. Here Native Steward, Abran Lopez, explains in his words what the Native Stewardships Corps means to him and his tribe. Read more.

A SUMMARY OF AMAH MUTSUN LAND TRUST PROJECTS

From archaeological and fire research to educational gardens, the Amah Mutsun Land Trust is bringing indigenous stewardship back to the lands of the Amah Mutsun. Through a range of projects that span the Tribe’s ancestral territories, we have forged valued partnerships with conservation organizations, land managers, and research institutions. The variety of our work testifies to the breadth and importance of indigenous ecological knowledge. Learn more about our current projects. 

WISDOM FROM ASCENCION

By Jay Scherf, AMLT Project Assistant

Ascension Solorsano was a Mutsun healer and leader who had extensive knowledge of Mutsun culture, language, plant uses, and customs. In the 1920s and ’30s she and other Mutsun people shared their knowledge with the ethnographer John P. Harrington, who recorded over 78,000 pages of her wisdom, which are stored at the Smithsonian. Here are some of her words…continue reading. 

 

AMLT in the News

AMAH MUTSUN LAND TRUST ON THE COVER OF SAVING LAND

The Land Trust Alliance attended a session of our Native Stewardship Corps program and interviewed Chairman Valentin Lopez in July, 2015 to learn more about the history, work, and accomplishments of the Amah Mutsun Land Trust. Read all about it in Saving Land, the magazine of the Land Trust Alliance, by clicking here.

 

 

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