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Homeland Return for Nevada City Rancheria Nisenan

Tax deductible
For full story: chirpca.org/homelandreturn

The Nevada City Rancheria Nisenan Tribe has a time-limited opportunity to purchase 232 acres located on a historic Nisenan Village site called Yulića near Nevada City, CA - what is currently known as Woolman. Our fundraising goal of $2.4 million includes the purchase price, government-mandated improvements, and an operating endowment. Phase 1 fundraising: $1.5 million by April 4, 2024. This is the Tribe’s best opportunity to re-establish a homeland in more than half a century, but we need your help to make it happen.

As with all Indigenous traditions, the Tribe’s health and its Culture is symbiotic with the Land and with the connection between People and Land. Because the Tribe was left with no land to call its own after the violence of the gold rush and federal legislation aimed at eradicating Native Americans, it’s no wonder that the Tribe still struggles.

The California Heritage: Indigenous Research Program (CHIRP) is a California nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization. CHIRP's mission is to preserve, protect, and perpetuate Nisenan Culture and support the Tribe’s efforts to restore its federal recognition. CHIRP realizes its mission through eight program areas: Cultural Preservation; Economic Development; Land-Back and Sacred Sites; Environmental and Human Health; The Arts; Research, Archives and Database; Visibility, Advocacy and Education; and Leadership Development. These programs exist in feedback loops that weave each area out into the larger society and back through the Nisenan people.

While all of CHIRP’s cultural preservation activities are critical, there’s only so much the organization can do without addressing a fundamental root cause of trauma and dis-ease among the Tribe -- i.e., the separation of the Land from its People and vice versa. This initiative returns land to its original caretakers, giving the Tribe a more effective and sustainable pathway towards healing and restoring justice and balance in our country and in our world.

CHIRP seeks tax-deductible donations to support this capital campaign. Funds raised will cover the land’s cost, government-mandated improvements, and an endowment for ongoing costs including insurance, property taxes, and maintenance.

Thank you so much for helping bring this dream to fruition and ensuring that the Nevada City Rancheria Nisenan Tribe has a home in its own Homelands once again. Transitioning the land back to the Tribe embodies Woolman’s values and is a spiritual endeavor to promote right relationship between its recent stewards and the land’s original inhabitants.

NOTE: All funds raised for purchasing the Woolman land, will be applied exclusively for the identification and purchase of a property that fits the needs identified by the Tribe, should the Woolman land purchase fall through for any reason.

If you’d like to make a larger donation or prefer to pay by check, you can:
・Make checks payable to CHIRP (memo line: “Homeland Return”) and mail to: CHIRP, P.O. Box 2624, Nevada City, CA 95959 -or-
・Contact us through GoFundMe for bank account information or other forms of payment.
・EIN: 47-1477386

If you'd like to know more, read on and check out this website:

History to Present
The People of the Nisenan Tribe of the Nevada City Rancheria have always been here. In 1848, gold was found locally and this area became an epicenter of the California “gold rush”. Through starvation, displacement, and murder, the Nisenan population was reduced by 98%, an almost complete genocide. In subsequent years, genocide survivors were pushed to smaller and smaller pieces of land until all that remained was 75.48 acres that became a federally recognized reservation called the Nevada City Rancheria. Unlike most California Rancherias, the Nevada City Rancheria was not created for “homeless Indians”, but rather created specifically for the Nisenan Tribal people who had for millenia existed in what is now Nevada, Yuba and Sierra Counties, and who resided on the land at that time. In 1964 the reservation was sold and the Indians were “terminated” through devastating legislation called the California Rancheria Act of 1958. Of the 40 plus Tribes throughout California that were terminated under that Act, today only three of those congressionally terminated Rancherias have not been restored their Federal Recognition. Unfortunately, the Nevada City Rancheria Nisenan Tribe is one of those three still awaiting justice.

While the Tribe has now been recognized at city, county and state levels, it needs access to the programs only federally recognized tribes can access. Federal Indian programs fund tribal education, housing, health care, tribal government operations, cultural programs, environmental programs, economic development programs, workforce training, and much, much, more. Federal recognition gives legal meaning to tribal sovereignty and rights to self-governance, self-determination, and federally-protected tribal Homelands.

The Opportunity
In addition to reconnecting the People and Land, which promises immeasurable benefits for the wellbeing of both, ownership of this land supports the following imperatives:

- Federal Recognition: Owning a piece of their Ancestral Homelands gives the Tribe an advantage in the process of restoring Federal Recognition.

- Tribal housing: Intergenerational trauma combined with systems of oppression that continue to disadvantage Native Americans mean that many Tribal members live in poverty. Existing homes on the land could house Tribal members and their families. Housing for Tribal Elders would be prioritized, facilitating their care by bringing together those who have lived far away from one another.

- Support and Care Hub: The land would provide a base for a range of programs and services to support Tribal members, including childcare, health and wellness programs, job training, art programs, Cultural education programs, intergenerational exchanges and education, and more.

- Cultural preservation: Bringing Tribal members together on land, where they can share traditions, practice language, be together in community, and revive traditional ways is essential to disseminate and preserve Cultural practices. In addition to the existing residential dwellings, the property includes office space, commercial kitchen, community eating hall, a working farm with opportunities for collaboration in the topic of food sovereignty, workshop/classroom space for education and gatherings, a ceramics studio and unique Japanese climbing kiln, and extremely important Cultural resources.

A Building Block
This land brings together Tribal stewardship and the opportunity for collaboration with the wider community around the Tribe, its history and traditions, environmental health, the arts, and community wellbeing,stretching the boundaries to explore humans living within the environment in a good way, rather than being a destructive force to Nature.
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Donations 

  • Kristina Benson
    • $100 
    • 20 hrs
  • Lisa Parks
    • $50 
    • 1 d
  • Cicada Dennis
    • $30 
    • 2 d
  • Anonymous
    • $100 
    • 2 d
  • Anonymous
    • $10 
    • 4 d
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Organizer

California Heritage Indigenous Research Project
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