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Yurok Tribe supports Governor Newsom’s California Blueprint

Forward-looking budget seeks to address most pressing issues in the state

Making the river more resilient to climate change, Roger Boulby, a Yurok Watershed Restorationist, skillfully constructs new salmon habitat in the Klamath Basin.

The Yurok Tribal Council sent a letter to the California legislature’s budget and appropriations committees’ chairs praising Governor Gavin Newsom’s California Blueprint proposal.

“The Yurok Tribe strongly supports the proposal’s approach to addressing the symptoms of the state’s most significant challenges as well as their causes,” said Joseph L. James, the Chairman of the Yurok Tribe.

With a 9 percent increase from the last year’s budget, the California Blueprint contains five focus areas, including: the climate crisis, COVID-19, homelessness, public safety and infrastructure.

“The Yurok Tribe is tackling these broad issues directly and has been a regional example for swift and innovative responses. Still, in this rural, economically disadvantaged region, there is much to be done when it comes to the constantly evolving COVID-19 crisis, climate change, infrastructure, public safety, and homelessness,” according to the letter. For example, “the Yurok Tribe has already begun working to mitigate the impacts of drought and wildfires through landscape-scale river restoration and far-sighted forest management, while proactively planning for our own climate resilience and food sovereignty. This funding will put our region in a much better position to deal with the diverse impacts of the climate crisis, which have already begun in the Klamath Basin.”

When the California budget is revised in May the Yurok Tribe requests the inclusion of direct funding and set-asides for tribes to address all five focus areas because tribal nations are better suited to confront these challenges on tribal lands. In recent years, the State of California has endeavored to establish an equitable relationship with tribal nations. In 2019, Governor Newsom issued an apology for the state’s role in the genocide of native people and established a Truth Healing Council to create a permanent record of the violent atrocities the state visited upon tribes. In large part, California became the world’s fifth largest economy because of the immense wealth derived from arable land and other natural resources stolen from tribes.

“California must continue to strive to set a national standard for cooperation and collaboration with Tribes. Direct funding to Tribes will enable the Yurok Tribe to focus our efforts and unique understanding of our ancestral territory to accomplish the collective goals of both governments. The Yurok Tribe looks forward to continuing its collaborative relationship with the state of California through government-to-government consultations with the Governor’s Office and many California agencies and departments responsible for the implementation of California’s final budget within the Yurok Tribe’s ancestral territory,” concluded the letter.

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