A message from General Manager Andrea Mackenzie:
We stand in solidarity as we celebrate, recognize, and honor the beautiful languages, traditions, and contributions of Indigenous Peoples here in Santa Clara Valley and beyond.
For thousands of years, Indigenous Tribes have stewarded the lands we protect and manage today, and many Indigenous Peoples, including the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe and the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band, still reside in the region. Our Tribal Partners’ wisdom of responsible land stewardship continues to this day, but we would be remiss not to acknowledge the long history of violence, oppression, cultural appropriation, and erasure that has occurred, and the impacts that last in our communities and on the lands we manage today.
As a government agency and current landowners, we have a responsibility to understand and acknowledge Indigenous history and current circumstances. As our dedication to conserving the natural environment, supporting agriculture, and connecting people to nature continues, our commitments and actions to include the principles of justice, equity, diversity, inclusion, and accessibility into our work must evolve and move forward in step.
To do so, we must make space for individuals and communities that have been overlooked for centuries; those who continue to experience the lasting impacts from the genocide that took place on these lands; those who protected the very lands we manage for millennia; who are actively working to protect these lands; and we must join them in their fight for justice.
In working to become better allies with Indigenous Peoples and local Tribes, we acknowledge their relationship to the land, and that we must understand our place within that relationship. And by learning how Indigenous communities envision their future, we hope to grow these partnerships to provide access and input on the planning and stewardship of the lands that we manage.
We have much to learn from our Tribal partners, and we look forward to listening and educating ourselves from their historic ethics of responsible land stewardship, cultural practices, and education, so we can create a greener, brighter, and more inclusive future, together.