First Nations Awards 12 Grants to Help Protect California-based Tribal Lands

LONGMONT, Colorado (August 3, 2022) – To increase California Tribal people’s access to ancestral homelands, First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) recently awarded grants averaging $35,000 to 12 California-based tribes or tribally controlled nonprofit organizations.

Made possible through the support of the Elizabeth R. & William J. Patterson Foundation, the Clarence E. Heller Charitable Foundation, the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, and the Walter and Elise Haas Fund, these grants are designed to help strengthen California-based Indigenous stewardship and protection of ancestral lands.

Rebecca Tortes, associate director of First Nations’ California Tribal Fund, said the funding will go a long way in helping Native communities in California. “We are grateful to our donors for recognizing the physical, cultural, and spiritual relationship that our California tribal communities have with their ancestral lands. First Nations thanks them for their generous support that will help ensure the continued stewardship of this land.”

The California Tribal Fund was created to support California-based, California-Native-led nonprofits and tribal programs in controlling and protecting their food systems, water, languages, traditional ecological knowledge, and land. The fund is operated as a project of First Nations Development Institute.

The grant period for this funding opportunity is 18 months, beginning March 1, 2022, and ending Aug. 31, 2023.

The following are the 2022 California Tribal Fund community partners and brief descriptions of their projects:

Big Valley Rancheria of Pomo Indians, Lakeport
This project will create a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the tribe and Clear Lake State Parks Department to include plant gathering, fire practice, and medicine cultivation.

California Indian Museum and Cultural Center, Santa Rosa
CIMCC staff members and Native youth will draft a strategy for the nonprofit land trust and obtain feedback on it from 20 or more stakeholders in one community event.

Kai Poma, Willits
Funding will go toward technical assistance to create the nonprofit organization resulting from transfer of Blues Beach property from the California Department of Transportation (CalTrans).

Modoc Nation, Alturas
This grant will help fund a site survey of complex property boundaries in traditional territories within the tribe.

Native American Land Conservancy, Banning
This project will create a scientific survey of Old Woman Mountain Preserve and update the Adaptive Management Plan.

Northern California Tribal Court Coalition, Eureka
This tribal organization will use the funds to create an online training series on land return and land trust formation for Humboldt County tribes.

Potter Valley Tribe, Ukiah
The project will involve developing a community forest plan, including support for an environmental assessment, easement research, and land use and zoning.

Sogorea Te’ Land Trust, Oakland
The support will go toward the Sequoia Point Rematriation Project, which encompasses a cultural easement and rematriation/indigenous cultural zone.

Tataviam Land Conservancy, San Fernando
This grant will be dispersed over a variety of tribal land projects under general operations support.

Tongva Taraxat Paxaavxa Conservancy, Altadena
Funds will be used to rehabilitate the newly purchased Altadena property, including elder housing, and create a garden of native plants.

Tuolumne Band of Me-Wuk Indians, Tuolumne
The tribe will develop a survey of cultural sites, create site protection policies and procedures, and offer traditional ecological training opportunities.

Yurok Tribe, Klamath
The tribe will compile historic land documents, scan them into a digital format, and place in a centralized digital location.

To learn more about the California Tribal Fund, visit

About First Nations Development Institute
For over 42 years, using a three-pronged strategy of educating grassroots practitioners, advocating for systemic change, and capitalizing Indian communities, First Nations has been working to restore Native American control and culturally-compatible stewardship of the assets they own – be they land, human potential, cultural heritage or natural resources – and to establish new assets for ensuring the long-term vitality of Native American communities. First Nations serves Native American communities throughout the United States. For more information, visit