First ever U.S. Indigenous Marine Stewardship Area declared in California
By Liz Kimbrough
January 29, 2024
• The Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation, Resighini Rancheria, and Cher-Ae Heights Indian Community designated the first ever Indigenous Marine Stewardship Area (IMSA) in the U.S. along the northern California coast.
• The tribes plan to steward nearly 700 mi2 (1,800 km2) of their ancestral ocean and coastal territories from the California-Oregon border to Little River near the town of Trinidad, California.
• As sovereign nations, the tribes say they’re not seeking state or federal agencies’ permission to assert tribally led stewardship rights and responsibilities; rather, they want to establish cooperative relationships recognizing their inherent Indigenous governance authority.
• The tribes aim to restore traditional ecological knowledge and management practices that sustained the area’s natural abundance before colonial disruption.