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Sonoma County Family Returns Coastal Land To Native American Tribe

SONOMA COUNTY (CBS SF) -- Sonoma County landowners are returning nearly 700-acres of coastline that once belonged to a local Native American tribe.

The Press Democrat reports a coalition of groups that included the Sonoma County government and Trust for Public Lands raised $6 million to buy land from the descendants of the area's Richardson family. Last week, it was officially transferred to the Kashia Band of Pomo Indians.

The Richardson family accepted the discounted price nearly $1 million below the appraised value.

Now the tribe, who was forced inland 150 years ago, will no longer have ask permission to use the land for tribal ceremonies and gatherings.

"They have aided us in righting a wrong," Tribal Chairman Reno Franklin said.

Tribal members will also be able to return to traditional subsistence activities like collecting seaweed and shellfish.

As part of the land transfer agreement, the tribe will commit to protecting the property, which includes redwood forests and coastal bluffs along the Pacific Coast Highway, and allow public access on a soon-to-be expanding California Coastal Trail.

Since the 1990s, the Trust for Public Lands' Tribal and Native Lands Program has worked with more than 70 tribes to transfer more than 200,000 acres.

Nicole Jones is a digital producer for CBS San Francisco. Follow her musings @nicjonestweets


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