Stories from Native California
In celebration of Indigenous heritages and futures, join us for stories of land return and rematriation from across California. We are honored to be in conversation with leaders in land return from Ohlone, Pit River, Wiyot and Tongva Territories of California.: Corrina Gould (Confederated Villages of Lisan ) Villages of Lisjan Tribal Chairperson, Co-founder Sogorea Te’ Land Trust Michelle LaPena (Pit River) Circle Law Group Founder Michelle Vassel (Wiyot) Tribal administrator (CEO) of the Wiyot Tribe Samantha Morales-Johnson (Tongva, she/her) Land Return Coordinator of the Tongva Taraxat Paxaavxa Moderated by Viola LeBeau and Inés Ixierda.
About the speakers:
Corrina Gould Corrina Gould is the Tribal Chair for the Confederated Villages of Lisjan/Ohlone. She was born and raised in Oakland, CA, the territory of Huchiun. She is an Indigenous activist and organizer that has worked on preserving and protecting the ancient burial sites of her ancestors in the Bay Area for decades. She is the Co-founder and a lead organizer for Indian People Organizing for Change, a small Native run grassroots organization and co-founder of the Sogorea Te Land Trust, an urban Indigenous women’s community organization working to return and to Indigenous stewardship in San Francisco’s East Bay.
Michelle LaPena Michelle LaPena, is a member of the Pit River Tribe, and of Maidu and Cahuilla descent. With 25 years of law practice in the field of Indian law, she has published a number of law review articles, essays and non-fiction articles on topics relative to her work with California Indian tribes. She has lectured at primary, secondary and university levels, as well as the California Tribal College on federal Indian law topics for over two decades. She has worked in nation-wide Indian law practices and also operated her own Indian law practice from 2006-2018. After serving as a partner in Rosette, LLP for four years, she established The Circle Law Group, P.C., to serve the legal needs of tribal governments in the western states. Michelle has served as a trainer in seminars with the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research regarding the implementation of SB 18, a statewide general planning law that she drafted in collaboration with Governor Gray Davis’ Legal Affairs Department in 2004. She is extensively involved in developing statewide policy in California regarding cultural resources protection, including drafting, negotiating, and ensuring the passage of improved cultural preservation laws, including burial site protection and consultation requirements for new projects. In addition to her dedication to cultural resource protection issues, she has worked to improve tax laws and regulations that impact California tribal governments and has negotiated nine tribal-state gaming compacts with the State of California. Find out more about her practice at thecirclelaw.com
Michelle Vassel (Wiyot) Find out more at www.wiyot.us and Dishgamu Humboldt.
Samantha Morales-Johnson Samantha Morales-Johnson (Tongva, she/her) is Land Return Coordinator of the The Tongva Taraxat Paxaavxa Land Conservancy (TTPC), a science illustrator, and ethnobotanist. Alongside her mom, Kimberly, she started the Protect White Sage digital campaign to protect Grandmother White Sage. She has a BA in Marine Biology from CSU Puvungna and has been adapting her ecological knowledge to work with Tongva ethnobotany she grew up with to handle advanced ecological problems that come with land return from non-native species to native species in the midst of climate change. Find out more about TTPC at www.tongva.land.
Viola LeBeau Viola LeBeau is an interdisciplinary artist, poet, advocate of traditional knowledge, and member of the Pit River Nation. They lead the facilitation of Sogorea Te’s LandBack Coordinating, and support with Community Outreach, Cultural Programming, Strategic Planning, Media/Website Production, the Ya Nuunukne Newsletter, and more.
Inés Ixierda Inés Ixierda is an interdisciplinary Mestizx artist, curator and media maker with more than 20 years of experience in decolonial organizing, youth work, and community arts. Inés leads Sogorea Te Land Trust’s creative projects, political education, organizes events, and works on the land with plant medicines.
Brought to you by Sogorea Te Land Trust Sogorea Te’ Land Trust is an urban Indigenous women-led land trust based in the San Francisco Bay Area that facilitates the return of Indigenous land to Indigenous people. Sogoreate-landtrust.org