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Briannon Fraley: Tribes share traditional marine knowledge

Filed Under: Opinion
More on: briannon fraley, california, smith river
   

Briannon Fraley of the Smith River Rancheria explains how tribes will help manage marine resources in California:
As an indigenous person, I cannot separate myself and my family from the lifeline of our redwood forests, the Pacific Ocean and the Smith River; we are from and of the land and waters of Northern California. I am a part of the Tolowa Dee-ni’, of the Smith River Rancheria. We have fished and gathered and lived among the redwoods and on the shores of the Pacific since our genesis, and it was our stewardship of ocean resources like seals, salmon and seaweed that resulted in the abundance Europeans found when they came to our land.

Prior to contact, my people numbered upward of 10,000 and within one generation we were left with less than two hundred survivors. As the people who cared for the land and sea vanished, resources suffered and today, fish stocks and abalone have plummeted.

The Tolowa Dee-ni’, along with many other tribes on the north coast, are holocaust survivors, but we still hold the memories of our ancestors’ knowledge and as we heal as a Tribe, so will the land. This month, my Tribe was awarded a grant to collect tribal knowledge that will establish a benchmark of cultural keystone species that aid in the understanding of the marine environment as well as indicate marine protected areas (MPA) performance. It’s a first for the state, and this work will be part of a monitoring effort that will inform resource management of the north coast MPAs.

Get the Story:
Briannon Fraley: Indigenous Wisdom: Don't Take the Baby Clams (Indian Country Today 12/27)


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