As Patwin people, we prioritize the protection of cultural sites and honor traditions that teach respect for the environment. Knowledge of the location and appropriate management of our cultural sites has been handed down through the generations. Today, this knowledge guides the work of the Yocha Dehe Cultural Resources Department.
Tribal cultural resources are defined as sites, places or objects with cultural value. Cultural sites can be archaeological, such as village sites or cemeteries; historical sites, such as gathering areas for baskets or medicines; or traditional sites, such as a place where specific cultural events have occurred. Sites can be located above or below ground, or at water level. Cultural resources are of critical importance to Native peoples because they help define tribal Nations as distinct cultural and political groups and they inform us about our past.
The Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation takes a proactive approach to protecting its cultural resources. We use Geographic Information System (GIS) technology designed to capture, store, analyze and manage a variety of data. We store our records on a GIS database that displays multiple levels of geographic data on map layers, allowing our Tribal Monitors to access this information quickly and easily to make informed decisions about projects that might impact cultural resources.
We have created a Tribal Historic Resource Center that resembles the California Historical Resources Information System, so we can maintain and monitor all information regarding our archaeological and historic resources. Using information from this center and our elders, we work and partner with numerous federal and state agencies and private developers to protect traditional lands. This is often done in the field, where our Tribal Monitors are on site to make sure that culturally sensitive resources are protected.
In 2011, the Tribe gained more authority to manage our historic and cultural resources when it was conferred a Tribal Historic Preservation Officer (firstname.lastname@example.org) by the U.S. Department of the Interior. Currently this office is held by Tribal Council Member Yvonne Perkins.
In 2014, the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation, Kletsel Dehe Band of Wintun Indians and Cachil Dehe Band of Wintun Indians signed a historic document, adopting many of the cultural resource protection principles found in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People. Together, we exercised our rights as sovereign nations to collectively preserve and protect our common culture.
Yocha Dehe has been increasingly involved in government consultations, sharing our expertise and authority in situations involving tribal rights, properties and territory issues.
For cultural related inquiries about the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation, contact email@example.com.