California moving to allow tribal access at marine preserve sites

The California Fish and Game Commission is moving to allow tribes to gain access to marine preserves.

Tribes were left out of the Marine Life Protection Act of 1999. But for the first time, the commission has granted an exception that will allow the Kashia Band of Pomo Indians to continue using Stewarts Point for ceremonies and food gathering.

"Our people believe we first walked onto the Earth right there at Stewarts Point, and a lot of our traditions are passed down along that coast," Vice Chairman Reno Franklin told The Sacramento Bee.

The commission is close to creating another exception for the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians. Other tribes are seeking access to ancestral sites.

"I believe they are listening and I believe they are hearing us," Thomas O'Rourke, the chairman of the Yurok Tribe, told the Bee. "Bottom line, we all want the same thing, and that's to protect our resources. We understand each other there."

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State officials allow Kashia Pomo tribe access to Stewarts Point (The Sacramento Bee 2/9)

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