According to reports, a northern California Native American tribe—the Esselen Tribe, now owns land that was once theirs before Spanish colonizers took over.
The Esselen Tribe is reportedly one of California’s smallest and least known tribes, and they inhabited the Big Sur coast for years. Almost 250 years ago, the tribe had their land taken away by colonizers and have been without land ever since. Now, the Esselen Tribe’s land has been restored to their people in a $4.5 million deal with the Western Rivers Conservancy for 1200 acres.
Tribal chairman of the Esselen Tribe of Monterey County—Tom Little Bear Nason previously spoke on the restoration of the land to his people, saying “It is with great honor that our tribe has been called by our Ancestors to become stewards of these sacred indigenous lands once again. These lands are home to many ancient villages of our people, and directly across the Little Sur River sits Pico Blanco or ‘Pitchi’, which is the most sacred spot on the coast for the Esselen People and the center of our origin story.”
The land reportedly features animals that are on the endangered species list, and it was noted that both parties in the deal will not place any commercial properties on the land.