By Louis Martin, RCAC staff writer
In Mendocino, California, a group of Indigenous people from the Sherwood Valley Band of Pomo Indians are defying a bevy of state and local laws. Intended to crack down on poachers who over-harvest local sea resources, the laws also criminalize Native traditions of sustainable harvesting, which stretch back hundreds of years.
California Native Tribes are still fighting for full recognition of treaties that were negotiated with the state decades ago, but never ratified by Congress. These treaties would recognize their right to hunt on traditional lands. But rather than wait for a long, protracted legal battle, the gatherers are hopping fences and ignoring government warning signs in order to harvest the local mollusks, surf fish, seaweed and shells. They use the resources for everything from cooking and medicine, to crafting their traditional regalia.