Biden and Congress Return 1000 Acres to North Coast Tribe
On January 6, in a rare act of unity for a very divided federal government, President Joe Biden signed into law an act returning the center of the world to the Karuk Tribe. Eight years in the making, the Katimiîn and Ameekyáaraam Sacred Lands Act took roughly 1000 acres of land hugging the shores along the confluence of the Klamath and Salmon Rivers near the border between Humboldt and Siskiyou Counties and placed it in trust for the Tribe.
The land has previously been managed by the US Forest Service. In 1850, the California legislature passed the Act for the Government and Protection of Indians which, among other things (including establishing indentured servitude and laying the groundwork for genocide), facilitated the removal and displacement of Indigenous Californians from their ancestral lands. By the time that the first seeds of what would become the US Forest Service were planted in the late 1800s due to exploitation of the forests by miners and loggers, the original stewards of the lands that would come to be managed by the federal government had already been forcibly removed. For perspective, the Tribe’s ancestral territory encompasses over one million acres, 95 percent of which is currently occupied by the US Forest Service, so although this act of land return is cause for celebration, it is a mere fraction of the territory historically inhabited by the tribe...
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