Native Advisory Council Making Great Strides Advancing Indigenous Leadership

In addition to the reintroduction of cultural burning, the Native Advisory Council (NAC or the Council) at Pepperwood continues to bring an Indigenous perspective to many aspects of Pepperwood’s work.

ReIndigenizing Names of Places

Signage for trail names now include not only the English names, but the Indigenous names. Where there are no translations, such as Roller Coaster Ridge, the Council has renamed the trail. In the case of Roller Coaster Ridge, the Native Advisory Council has renamed the trail Lel Kana, or Rocky Ridge Trail.

Cultural Burning has Returned to Pepperwood

After seven generations, the NAC has returned hel hushiyakhi, “good fire” to the land. Three of NAC Founding Members, Clint and Lucy McKay’s grandchildren, Sally, Angeline, and Luke, marked the significance of cultural continuity by igniting cultural fire to fulfill their responsibility and commitment to Indigenous stewardship of their traditional homeland.

Plans to Enact a Food Sovereignty Program

The Council understands that access to traditional foodways is crucial to providing the necessary dietary components to keep Indigenous communities healthy in body, mind, and spirit. The NAC is identifying Native plant communities that still exist on the land that through support and Indigenous stewardship, can provide sustainable food systems for the Indigenous community, and eventually to the community at large.

Increased the Number of Indigenous Visitors to Pepperwood

Through hikes, gatherings, and education programs, the local Native community has found a place to reconnect with the land. Native youth have felt this connection in ways that can only be experienced by spending time on the land. They are learning history, plant use, fire ecology, and all aspects of land stewardship through an Indigenous perspective.

The NAC has a New Look

We are excited to announce that Josephine McKay has rejoined the Council. Josephine was a founding member of the NAC years ago. She is an enrolled member of the Ione Band of Miwok Indians and is also Dry Creek Pomo and Wappo. She holds a master’s degree in Social Work and is an adjunct professor at Santa Rosa Junior College and Sonoma State University. Josephine brings a wealth of traditional knowledge as well as new ideas to keep the council moving forward.

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