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Assemblymember Ward Introduces Bill to Solicit Environmental Knowledge from Native American Tribes

For immediate release:

(SACRAMENTO, CA) – As California works toward its goal to preserve 30% of land and coastal water by 2030, current conservation efforts do not include input from Native American tribes. To address this oversight, Assemblymember Chris Ward has introduced AB 2225, which would require the California Natural Resources Agency (CNRA) to conduct a listening tour across the state to develop a traditional ecological knowledge or TEK policy from tribal leaders to incorporate into state conservation and land management. If signed into law, the bill would also require any policy developed to honor and uphold the sovereignty of Native American tribes.

“Native American tribes have intimate and detailed knowledge that is critical to successful land management, passed down through generations over thousands of years,” Assemblymember Ward (D-San Diego) said. “Incorporating this knowledge into our current conservation efforts is essential to maintaining the long-term health of our public lands.”

The term Traditional Ecological Knowledge, or TEK, is used to describe the knowledge held by indigenous cultures about their immediate environment and the cultural practices that build on that knowledge. TEK can provide a fundamental tool for restoration and conservation management of state lands.

“Restoring a sustainable relationship with the earth will require a united effort of all peoples,” said Michael Connolly Miskwish, a Kumeyaay resource economist and historian. “Finding solutions in the traditional environmental knowledge of Native Nations may help restore the physical, as well as the spiritual connection of humans to this place we now call California.  This bill helps carry us further toward that reality.”