Press release from the Humboldt Area Foundation:
Humboldt Area Foundation and the Wiyot Tribe have finalized a Memorandum of Understanding that will help restore traditional land practices to the community foundation’s campus in Bayside. The MOU, which was signed by Wiyot Tribal Chair Ted Hernandez and HAF Executive Director Patrick Cleary on May 15, establishes gathering rights for Wiyot tribal members to harvest hazel and other culturally significant plants from the grounds. Hazel is one of several materials used by the tribe for basketry.
“I would like to thank Humboldt Area Foundation for working with the Wiyot Tribe and our Traditional Gatherers with this new MOU for gathering on their property of traditional plants that surround their property. Also for seeing how important the plants on their property have been for the Wiyot People in our basketry and medicine since the beginning of our creation,” said Hernandez.
“Traditional Native practices such as gathering and basket-weaving are an essential of the Wiyot people’s cultural work,” said Cleary. “However, with displacement from their traditional lands and increased development, many Native culture bearers have fewer spaces where they can gather. HAF is pleased to make this partnership with the Wiyot Tribe, and we hope other local property owners will also open their lands for tribal members to gather.”
The agreement was approved unanimously by the Humboldt Area Foundation Board of Directors in February 2019 with the understanding that the tribe will provide consultation and advice on traditional land management practices on the 14.5 acres of Bayside property that includes the Lynn Vietor Nature Trail. The Bayside property falls within the historic boundaries of Wiyot land. As part of the MOU the community foundation has agreed to spread awareness about how other landowners may partner with the Wiyot Tribe to enact similar agreements. Sitka spruce, hazelnut, salmonberry and red huckleberry are some of many plants tribal members may be interested in gathering. Landowners who want to participate are encouraged to call Tribal Offices at (707) 733-5055.