Partner Profile | Honoring the Nevada City Rancheria on Nisenan Heritage Day

In honor of Nisenan Heritage Day on November 4th, we aim to shed light on Nisenan history and celebrate Nisenan heritage.

Written by: Saraya Hamidi, Indigenous Partnerships Manager

For countless generations, the Nisenan People lived by the ‘Uba Seo. Long before the gold rush, long before California became a state, long before settlers called it the Yuba River, the Nisenan called this land home. Despite decades of federal and state-backed annihilation, assimilation, and termination efforts, the Nisenan People are here today. Blue Forest is fortunate to call the Nevada City Rancheria partners and be part of a collaborative effort to restore their homelands through the North Yuba Forest Partnership. In honor of Nisenan Heritage Day on November 4th, we aim to shed light on Nisenan history and celebrate Nisenan heritage.

The Nevada City Rancheria was the original, federally recognized reservation of the Nisenan Tribe of California. It was created by Executive Order of President Woodrow Wilson in 1913 and terminated by Congress in 1964.

Through the Termination Act, the federal government ceased recognition of 109 Tribal Nations, removing 2.5 million acres of land from protected status and revoking the status of 12,000 Tribal members. For the Nevada City Rancheria, this resulted in the loss of Tribal members’ sovereignty, status, and reservation land, leaving the Nisenan People homeless.

The Nevada City Rancheria remains in a “terminated” state today and is therefore barred from accessing any Federal Indian programs. They continue to advocate for federal recognition as a Tribe and the California Heritage: Indigenous Research Project (CHIRP), a nonprofit serving to preserve, protect, and perpetuate Nisenan Culture.

November 4th is the 14th Annual Nisenan Heritage Day.

Shelly Covert, Tribal Spokesperson for the Nevada City Rancheria, shares, “This year’s Nisenan Heritage Day theme is Changing Perspectives. We will explore subjects where we have seen great movement and positive change from the Tribe’s perspective, such as LandBack, Land Acknowledgements, etc. We will also discuss areas that remain stagnant or resistant, such as funding for staff and misinformation.” She shares that the event will provide a space to discuss the importance of partnerships and how community members can be allies.

It has been an honor for me, as Blue Forest’s Indigenous Partnerships Manager, to learn about the Nevada City Rancheria’s rich heritage, meet Tribal members, visit the powerful ‘Uba Seo art exhibit in Nevada City, and seek out opportunities to support recognition efforts.

To support the Nevada City Rancheria to advocate for federal recognition, learn about their Ancestral Homelands Reciprocity Program.

For those local to Grass Valley, join the Nevada City Rancheria Nisenan Tribe and CHIRP at the 14th Annual Nisenan Heritage Dayon November 4th.