Native American tribe reclaims part of Big Sur ancestral lands stolen from them 250 years ago

The indigenous people of the Big Sur area of northern California have been a landless group for 250 years. Taken from their ancestral homelands by Spanish colonials and sent to three different missions to be converted to Catholicism, the already small Esselen Tribe of Monterey County was nearly decimated.

"The missionaries were here to save the souls of the heathens, as they called us," the official website of the Esselen Tribe states. "In this way they hoped to take the land for the Spanish king, Carols III. This had severe consequences for the Esselen and other tribes that called these mountains their home. There were four other tribes that were also affected by the missionary's efforts for salvation."

Prior to colonial invasion, the Esselen had inhabited the Santa Lucia Mountains and the Big Sur coast for 6,000 years. Now, they are taking back almost 1200 acres of that land, with the help of a $4.5 million grant from the California Natural Resources Agency.


The grant made it possible to transfer the land from the Portland, Oregon-based Western Rivers Conservancy to the tribe. The Conservancy had negotiated to purchase the land with the intention of transferring it to the U.S. Forest Service, but local residents were concerned about increased use of the land and whether the Forest Service would have the resources to care for the land. As the Conservancy began working with the Esselen people, they tapped into the grant, which came from a taxpayer-funded bond that included $60 million for acquiring Native American natural, cultural and historic resources in California.

"It is beyond words for us, the highest honor," Tom Little Bear Nason, chairman of the tribe, told KTLA 5. "The land is the most important thing to us. It is our homeland, the creation story of our lives. We are so elated and grateful."

According to The Hill, the land is a ranch just south of Carmel-By-The-Sea, and is a little larger than the Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. Nason says that the tribe will build a sweat lodge and village to conduct traditional ceremonies and teach the public about Esselen culture. No permanent homes or businesses will be built on the land.

"We're the original stewards of the land," Nasion said. "Now we're returned. We are going to conserve it and pass it on to our children and grandchildren and beyond."

Congratulations to the Esselen people on this historic win.

Courtesy of FIELDTRIP
True

The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected diverse communities due largely in part to social factors such as inadequate access to housing, income, dietary options, education and employment — all of which have been shown to affect people's physical health.

Recognizing that inequity, Harlem-based chef JJ Johnson sought out to help his community maximize its health during the pandemic — one grain at a time.

Johnson manages FIELDTRIP, a health-focused restaurant that strives to bring people together through the celebration of rice, a grain found in cuisines of countless cultures.

"It was very important for me to show the world that places like Harlem want access to more health-conscious foods," Johnson said. "The people who live in Harlem should have the option to eat fresh, locally farmed and delicious food that other communities have access to."

Lack of education and access to those healthy food options is a primary driver of why 31% of adults in Harlem are struggling with obesity — the highest rate of any neighborhood in New York City and 7% higher than the average adult obesity rate across the five boroughs.

Obesity increases risk for heart disease or diabetes, which in turn leaves Harlem's residents — who are 76% Black or LatinX — at heightened risk for complications with COVID-19.

Keep Reading Show less

Lately, Twitter has been a rough place for famous Chrises. First Evans had his day on the trending side bar, and now it's Pratt's turn. With the way things are going, we cringe for what's in store for Hemsworth.

Earlier this week, Warrior Nun writer Amy Berg posted a photo on Twitter of four famous Chrises - Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Chris Pine, and Chris Pratt. "One has to go," Berg captioned the photo.

Pratt started trending as he was quickly dubbed the "worst Chris." And things just got worse from there. Until some real-life heroes stepped in and tried to address the situation, defending their co-star and friend.


Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
True

Glenda moved to Houston from Ohio just before the pandemic hit. She didn't know that COVID-19-related delays would make it difficult to get her Texas driver's license and apply for unemployment benefits. She quickly found herself in an impossible situation — stranded in a strange place without money for food, gas, or a job to provide what she needed.

Alone, hungry, and scared, Glenda dialed 2-1-1 for help. The person on the other end of the line directed her to the Houston-based nonprofit Bread of Life, founded by St. John's United Methodist pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus.

For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

Glenda sat in her car for 20 minutes outside of the building, trying to muster up the courage to get out and ask for help. She'd never been in this situation before, and she was terrified.

When she finally got out, she encountered Eva Thibaudeau, who happened to be walking down the street at the exact same time. Thibaudeau is the CEO of Temenos CDC, a nonprofit multi-unit housing development also founded by the Rasmuses, with a mission to serve Midtown Houston's homeless population.

Keep Reading Show less
via Witty Buttons / Twitter

Back in 2017, when white supremacist Richard Spencer was socked in the face by someone wearing all black at Trump's inauguration, it launched an online debate, "Is it OK to punch a Nazi?"

The essential nature of the debate was whether it was acceptable for people to act violently towards someone with repugnant reviews, even if they were being peaceful. Some suggested people should confront them peacefully by engaging in a debate or at least make them feel uncomfortable being Nazi in public.

Keep Reading Show less

A photo of Joe Biden hugging and kissing his only living son, Hunter, is circulating after Newsmax TV host John Cardillo shared it on Twitter with the caption, "Does this look like an appropriate father/son interaction to you?"

The question is clearly meant to be a dig at Biden, whose well-documented life in politics includes many examples of both his deep love for his family and his physical expressions of affection. While his opponents have cherry-picked photos to try to paint him as "creepy," those who know him well—and who are in some of those viral images—defend Biden's expressions of affection as those of a close friend and grandfatherly figure. (And in fact, at least one photo of Biden holding and kissing a child's face was of him and his grandson at his son Beau's funeral, taken as a still shot from this video.)

Everyone has their own level of comfort with physical space and everyone's line of what's appropriate when it comes to physical affection are different, but some accusations of inappropriateness are just...sad. And this photo with this caption is one of those cases.

Keep Reading Show less