- Jun 2014
- Cleveland, Ohio
‘It’s a really good example of resilience because Wiyot people never gave up the dream,’ Wiyot tribal administrator says
"Indian Island off the coast of Northern California was the site of a massacre, a place that was contaminated by a shipyard and flush with invasive species.
It’s also the spiritual and physical center of the universe for the small Wiyot tribe, and it will belong to them almost entirely Monday after a city deeds all the land it owns on the island to the tribe.
“It’s a really good example of resilience because Wiyot people never gave up the dream,” tribal administrator Michelle Vassel said. “It’s a really good story about healing and about coming together of community.”
The tribe was decimated in 1860, when scores of elders, women and children were wiped out during a raid by settlers while the tribe’s men were away gathering supplies.
Since then, the now 600-member tribe has been making small strides toward regaining the land it lost.
The tribe sold art and fry bread and took in donations to buy 1.5 acres (0.6 hectares) on the eastern tip of the island for $106,000 in 2000. Years later, the city of Eureka gave the tribe more land.
On Monday, the city will sign over the deed to the largest chunk – more than 200 acres in what was the historic village of Etpidolh. No money was exchanged.
“For our city, it’s the right thing to do, and that’s why we’re doing it,” said Kim Bergel, a councilwoman who was born and raised in the county. “Certainly, it’s been far too long.”
This terribly polluted island has been restored to health by the work of the tribe, with townspeople helping.
IDC whether you think reparations are a terrible idea. This is clearly the best remedy for this tribe for the horrible injustices visited on them, and it can serve as a model for other broken treaties, etc.