Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation Tribal News
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
March 5, 2021
Smith River, CA
CITIZEN NOTICE – Smith River Fire Protection District Negotiations Update
The Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation (“Nation”) was alarmed this morning to see the Smith River Fire Protection District’s (“District”) Facebook announcement (“Announcement”) which included a number of inaccurate statements and has needlessly alarmed the citizens of Smith River.
The Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation has been in a cooperative agreement with the District for nearly twenty years, and has increased the amount provided to the District to reflect the increased valuations of Tribal Lands.
May 2020, the Nation received a request to pay annually $150,000, an amount over twenty (20) times previous year’s payments, in addition to several other expenses to be borne by the Nation. Included in these additional expenses was the requirement that in the third year of the agreement the Nation was to provide the District $250,000 to be used solely for the conversion of its recently purchased building (the former Ray’s Food Place in Smith River) into its new headquarters. This massive increase has
triggered a lengthy negotiation between the Nation and the District, which is ongoing.
In a meeting with the District, the Nation attempted to ascertain how the District had arrived at the proposed increase in costs. The District was proposing to create a new methodology for calculating fire protection costs. The Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation would be the only organization subject to this new methodology. This is patently unfair. The District’s response was that other “taxpayers” are protected by law, and that they cannot change the methodology used for them. The Nation and many of its Tribal Members are citizens of Del Norte County and pay taxes. If the District finds it needs to change the methodology under which its fees are generated, the Nation suggests doing as others have done and taking the proposal to voters of the District.
The Nation’s most recent counter-proposal included an annual payment of $11,101, which is an amount equitable to the taxes the District would receive from the Nation were the Nation’s properties subject to taxation by Del Norte County. Additionally, to make the District whole, the Nation proposed a back payment of $18,750 to the District for services from July 1, 2019 to December 31, 2020. The Nation hopes to continue to refine this number in relation to the valuation of its landholdings, and to provide a
fair and equitable payment to the Smith River Fire Protection District.
While the Nation wishes to continue good faith negotiations, and to pay its equitable share for fire protection services, the entire cost of fire services for Smith River cannot be built on the backs of the citizens of the Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation.
The Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation continues to explore all legal and governmental avenues available to it, to ensure the safety of its Tribal Citizens and visitors.
Additional inquiries can be addressed to Troy Ralstin, Executive Director, at 707-487-9255 or email@example.com.
The Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation maintains a government to government relationship with many state and federal agencies. One of those agencies is the CA Department of Transportation (Caltrans). There are many moving parts to Caltrans projects which include: Planning, Biological/Natural Resources, TERO and Cultural Resources. One project currently underway in our ancestral territory, and directly below our K’vsh-chu Administration Office on Rowdy Creek Rd., is the construction of the new Dominie Creek Bridge. This new bridge is replacing an old dilapidated box culvert as mitigation for the Dr. Fine Bridge Replacement Project.
The working relationship the Tribe has built with Caltrans has allowed for the opportunity to incorporate Tolowa design elements into the new bridge structure. The Tribal Historic Preservation Office and Waa-tr’vslh-’a~ (Culture) Committee worked closely with the Caltrans Cultural Resource and Landscape Architect staff to include a design of lhuk (salmon) and friendship basketry pattern on each end of the bridge. (See photo simulation of the design to the right.)
This design is inspired by the fact that tr’ee-ghii~-li~ (creeks), such as Dominie, are critical for salmon and trout spawning. Along with Dominie Creek, Rowdy Creek has been recognized by NOAA Fisheries as a tributary of particular importance to rebuild the Coho Salmon population in the Smith River basin. It has also been documented by numerous studies as supporting a variety of special-status species including Chinook Salmon, Steelhead, Coastal Cutthroat Trout, Rainbow Trout, Pacific Lamprey and other aquatic species. Since 1972, access by fish and other aquatic species to thirteen (13) miles of combined habitat on Rowdy and Dominie Creeks has been significantly reduced or completely blocked due to the presence of the in-channel infrastructure at Rowdy Creek Fish Hatchery. The purpose of Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation’s Rowdy and Dominie Creek Fish Passage Improvement Project is to remove and replace Hatchery infrastructure in order to restore passage to fish and other aquatic species on Rowdy and Dominie Creeks.
This project in combination with the new Dominie Creek Bridge will be a wonderful restoration effort in Del Norte to improve fish passage to important spawning habitat. To learn more about Rowdy Creek Fish Hatchery please visit: rowdycreek.org
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
February 23, 2021
Smith River, CA
Contact: Troy Ralstin Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation Executive Director, (707) 487-9255 x1220
Download Press Release
As the original inhabitants and stewards of the Smith River Plain an Estuary the Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation has been presented with a quintessential opportunity to return a critical portion of our unceded ancestral territory back under the rightful ownership and management of the Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation. Reservation Ranch is located on the lower Smith River, and lies in the heart of the original 40,000 acre Smith River Indian Reservation of 1862. This land was secured by our ancestors through negotiations with California State Representatives who signed a Peace Treaty in 1855; however, neither the 1855 Treaty nor the 1862 Reservation were upheld, forcing our people to relocate from their homes and sacred place of Genesis. The property is currently for sale by the long-standing owners and is the subject of regulatory oversight for alleged extensive and egregious
California Coastal Act, California State Water Resources Control Board, and National Marine Fisheries Services violations resulting from current and past land management activities.
The Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation is actively seeking support, allies and comments to assist in the reclamation of this sacred land for the purposes of restoring the natural habitat and diverse ecosystems, resulting in the protection and perpetuation of natural and cultural resources. Please visit our StoryMap (linked below) to learn more about the historical and cultural significance of this land and the extensive environmental issues that must be rectified. To express your support please contact the Nation via email: firstname.lastname@example.org; or in writing:
140 Rowdy Creek Rd. Smith River, CA 95567.
The Natural Resources Department is seeking public comment on the ‘E’sr-k’aa-ni Traditional Plant Management Project. Public comment may be submitted until Wednesday, March 31 st at 5 pm by:
email to email@example.com or
mail to 140 Rowdy Creek Rd
Smith River, Ca. 95567
Attn: Natural Resources
The Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation’s goal for this project is to establish protocols based on Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK), living culture, and western science to inform active management of tribal resources and lands; maintain cultural and community vitality; restore traditional management practices; support resilient and biodiverse habitats, and traditional plant restoration. Traditional plant restoration will be for food, medicine, and basketry/dye materials, as well as to improve local access to cultural practices and re-establish wildlife habitat.
We are asking for input regarding the plant management and preferred level of trail maintenance. We have completed a bio- inventory and trail assessment on the existing conditions at ‘E’sr-k’aa-ni. We are recommending managing for desired native species and removal and maintenance of non-native species.
To learn more download ‘E’sr-k’aa-ni Public Comment
North Coast Regional Water Board Program for Discharges of
Waste Associated with the Production of Lily Bulbs.
Public Review of the Draft Smith River Plain Water Quality
Management Plan (SRPWQMP)
Regional Water Board staff have developed a draft SRPWQMP to address water quality associated with the cultivation and production of lily bulbs in the Smith River Plain. The SRPWQMP is an adaptive management pollutant control plan that will provide information for the development of a Waste Discharge Regulation (WDR) permit for lily bulb growing operations in the Smith River watershed. The SRPWQMP was developed by Regional Water Quality Control Board (Regional Water Board) staff at the direction of the Regional Water Board to address water quality impacts associated with lily bulb cultivation in the Smith River Plain.
The plan sets up a program of implementation, monitoring, and reporting to the Regional Water Board and the public. It includes a surface water monitoring program and an adaptive management process to assess effectiveness of program implementation. The plan was developed with input from the Smith River Watershed Stewardship Team composed of lily bulb growers, natural resources agencies, the Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation, and the Smith River Alliance, a local restoration group.
The SRPWQMP is not a regulatory order, nor is it part of a Basin Plan Amendment process, and therefore will not be considered a regulatory action by the Regional Water Board. The Regional Water Board staff in consult with the Smith River Watershed Stewardship Team will evaluate public comments for possible refinements to the SRPWQMP. After the revisions, if any, are complete, the draft SRPWQMP will be considered by Regional Water Board’s Executive Officer for approval of the final plan.
Draft Smith River Plain Water Quality Program
- Draft Smith River Plain Water Quality Management Plan Public Review Draft – February 11, 2021
Comments on the draft SRPWQMP are due March 12, 2021 to:
(707) 576-6750 or mail to:
Regional Water Quality Control Board
c/o Ben Zabinsky
5550 Skylane Blvd., Suite A
Santa Rosa, CA 95403
Please email Ben.Zabinsky@waterboards.ca.gov if you have questions or problems downloading the draft plan.
Dear Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation Citizens:
RE: No 1099’s issued for 2020 CERP/ COVID-19 Payments
Using funds received under the CARES Act, following the strict guidelines of the Act, the Council has enacted this COVID-19 Emergency Response Program (“CERP”), pursuant to Resolution No. 2020-25, an approved program under the Nation’s General Welfare Ordinance.
The CERP distribution is a General Welfare Benefit made in accordance with the General Welfare Doctrine and Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) Rev. Proc. 2014-35, 26 C.F.R. § 601.601. As General Welfare Benefits, the Tribal Council deems that these funds are not includable in tribal citizens’ gross income and do not need to be reported on your tax filings as revenues.
Across Indian Country, Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month (TDVAM) is an important opportunity to listen to and talk with youth and teens about healthy relationships and dating violence. As Native people, relationships represent our sacred connections with each other, grounded in the traditional understanding that ‘we are all related.’ However, we also know
relationships are challenging and especially so for Native youth and teens that are exploring romantic relationships for the first time.
Nationally, nearly 1 in 11 female and approximately 1 in 15 male high school students report having experienced physical dating violence in the last year, and about 1 in 9 female and 1 in 36 male high school students report having experienced sexual dating violence in the last year. No one deserves to be abused in any way. Romantic relationships should be grounded in respect, not based on power and control masked as love.
Some signs of dating violence can include when a partner:
- Acts extremely jealous or possessive of you
- Follows you home or to school, or shows up wherever you are unannounced
- Are annoyed or upset when you spend time on the phone with other people
- Tells you who you can or cannot be friends with
- Starts rumors or threatens to start rumors about you
- Excessively texts you or sends non-stop DMs
- Checks your phone for who texts or calls you
- Tags you in hurtful social media memes, posts or pictures
- Criticizes your dreams, goals, family or friends
- Tells you what to wear or how to dress
- Explodes in anger toward you or acts aggressively when they’re upset
- Kisses, grabs or touches your body without your permission
- Forces you to take sexually explicit selfies or videos
- Threatens to hurt themselves or commit suicide if you don’t do what they want.
Dating violence is not our tradition. Our young relatives deserve healthy, respectful love.
Help honor youth and teens in your lives by raising awareness of dating violence and promoting healthy relationships. Let’s help to empower the next generation in reclaiming and defining what safe, healthy and strong relationships mean for them.
Shu’ Shaa nin-la
On December 30, 2020 a large k’vsh-chu fell across Howland Hill Rd. in Crescent City, CA. Our Tribal Council learned of the fallen k’vs-chu via a social media post by the Redwood National and State Parks. This area of our Tolowa ancestral land is now managed by the California Department of Parks and Recreation as part of the Jedediah Smith State Park. By direction of Tribal Council, the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer sent a letter to the CA State Parks Superintendent requesting the k’vsh-chu for traditional cultural purposes. The Superintendent agreed to the request and was very supportive of the Nation’s efforts to obtain as much of the fallen k’vs-chu as feasible for the Nation to transport.
Howland Hill Rd. was closed until the tree could be cleared from the roadway. Due to the holiday season the Nation and CA State Park Staff had to wait until after the New Year to begin work cutting and removing the tree. The main tree was approximately 6ft in diameter with an additional offshoot tree approximately 4ft diameter. The large size and good condition of both will allow us to use a majority of the acquired k’vsh-chu to construct xee-nvs, traditional dugout canoes and possibly other cultural projects. After the logs have properly seasoned the plan is to host trainings for our young men to learn the art and skill of canoe carving. This is very exciting news as there has not been canoes constructed by Tolowa people in at least the last two generations, if not more.
In addition to men collecting the logs for xee-nvs, a small group of female basket weavers were able to salvage some k’vs-chu wee- ye’ (redwood roots) that were exposed before the stump was cut and tipped back into the root-ball hole. K’vsh-chu wee-ye’ are typically limited in use for ceremonial baskets that are used for prayer and rituals such as Nee-dash (Feather Dance), Lhuk Mii- naa~-li (Salmon Ceremony) and Ch’a~lh-day-wvn Srdee-yvn (Flower Dance).
Submitted by Amanda O’Connell & Cynthia Ford
Gathering Permits for traditional cultural resources (such as basketry materials, herbal medicines, etc.) in the CA State Parks are available to tribal members on the Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation website at: https://www.tolowa-nsn.gov/tribal-forms/. You can also get a copy from the Tribal Historic Preservation Office or Natural Resources Department. The Tribal Historic Preservation Officer will work with tribal members to submit the permit applications to the proper staff at CA State Parks.
Emergency Rental Assistance Program- COVID-19
For persons and families renting a house, New Emergency Rental Assistance is available to income-qualified persons to help pay rent and utilities.
Eligible Households may receive up to 12 months of rental & utility assistance, as well as payment of any back rent you owe. There are no geographic restrictions, so Tolowa Households anywhere in the US can receive assistance if you meet the eligibility criteria.
THIS IS A NEW PROGRAM, SEPARATE FROM ANY PREVIOUS ASSISTANCE.
Are you eligible? Apply & find out!
LINK TO APPLICATION https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/tolowa_emergency_rental_assistance
1) Your household income is 80% or less than the Area Median Income, where you live.
2) You have experienced a loss of income (or increased expenses), even temporary, since March 13, 2020.
This program is for rental assistance only, not mortgage assistance.
Fill out the APPLICATION and see if you qualify.
LINK TO APPLICATION https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/tolowa_emergency_rental_assistance
To be eligible, INCOME RANGE VARIES FROM $40,000 – $78,000 for a family of 4, depending on where you live.
The Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation hosted a one-day Tribal Fall Clean-up event on Saturday, November 12, 2020. This year provided many challenges, including the cancellation of events due to Covid-19. In spite of many obstacles, the Tribe was able to carry out a successful, safe, and socially distanced event.
Each year the Tribe partners with a variety of agencies to ensure waste is disposed of are taken to the appropriate facility. This year Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation worked with 4 local agencies: The solid waste management company Recology was contracted for solid waste bins and hauling. The Del Norte Solid Waste Management Authority was secured to dispose of a variety of solid waste and recyclable items. Humboldt Moving and Storage took the recyclable mattresses and box springs for free through the California Government mattress recycling program, Bye Bye Mattress which is managed by the Mattress Recycling Council. Cascade Metal, from Grants Pass, hauled away the recyclable metal for free. Tribal Citizens also participated in a short solid waste survey to gather current data for how the Tribe can facilitate solid waste management.
This year the Fall Cleanup was limited to 1 load per Tribal household within a reasonable distance to haul solid waste to the cleanup. The purpose of this event is to support pollution prevention, minimize environmental impacts, and to provide informational and educational materials, as well as educate and support tribal citizens on proper disposal of residential waste. In order to maintain environmental health conditions, citizens are discouraged from storing every-day household garbage to dispose of at cleanup events; this is why we did not take household garbage.