August Shared Plate Recipient
Amah Mutsun Land Trust

Introducing the Amah Mutsun Land Trust This isn’t just another good cause. This is about religious freedom and respect. It is about overcoming the effects of centuries of settler colonialism by being in solidarity with indigenous people to protect their sacred sites and to practice their religions in their ancestral way. It responds to the call issued at the Unitarian Universalist General Assembly in June 2020 in the Action of Immediate Witness to Address 400 Years of White Supremacist Colonialism. Native American spirituality has been devalued since Europeans arrived. In the 1800s Congress ignored the 1st Amendment and passed a law making it illegal for Native Americans to practice their religions, and that wasn’t repealed until the 1970s. Indigenous religions are still considered “less than” by the dominant US culture, and their sacred sites get desecrated with impunity by commercial interests. We are asking your help to stop these desecrations. The Amah Mutsun Land Trust (AMLT) is a native-led, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, established by the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band in 2013 to support its access to and stewardship of the ancestral lands of the Mutsun and Awaswas peoples. A historical and continuous
California Indian Tribe, the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band has endured and survived a brutal history of colonization and forced assimilation that displaced them from their ancestral territory and from many of their cultural traditions. The tribe’s membership, including more than 600 Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) documented enrollees, consists of the descendants of the indigenous peoples taken to the Santa Cruz
and San Juan Bautista missions during Spanish colonization. Since the mid-2000’s, the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band has worked diligently to reconnect physically, culturally, and spiritually with its ancestral territory of Popeloutchom and to return to its obligation of caring for the diverse landscapes and inhabitants of this territory. The creation of AMLT has been central to this effort, with the organization serving as a vehicle for cultural relearning and the revitalization of tribal connections to place through three core focal areas: Indigenous stewardship, conservation and restoration, and research and education. Where traditional land trusts emphasize land acquisition, AMLT has worked through an array of innovative partnerships with public and private landowners to engage tribal members in hands-on stewardship and research activities that support the recovery of traditional cultural and ecological knowledge while advancing contemporary conservation and restoration goals. While AMLT has made important strides in realizing the tribe’s vision, a great deal of work remains. From defending sacred tribal sites like Juristac to preparing today’s youth to be tomorrow’s tribal leaders to restoring ceremony
and sacredness to Popeloutchom, AMLT is working to support the tribe’s healing from the historical trauma of colonization and to support more just and sustainable environments and communities for all. Please support this important work with a taxdeductible donation.