October 19, 2022
BROOKS, CA (October 19, 2022) – Today, the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation issued a letter to President Biden urging him to use the Antiquities Act to expand Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument and permanently protect Molok Luyuk. Expanding the Monument to include this mountainous ridge would safeguard lands sacred to our tribal nation and preserve and restore habitat vital for wildlife and biodiversity threatened by climate change.
Yocha Dehe and other central and coastal tribes have a long and significant connection to Molok Luyuk, stretching back thousands of years. The ridge includes important historical trade routes, and was an important site for hunting, gathering and practice of religious ceremonies.
Currently known as Walker Ridge, Molok Luyuk is Patwin for “Condor Ridge,” named for the critically endangered species that once thrived there. Affixing this indigenous name to the mountainous region is a meaningful step towards reconnecting the Patwin people to their traditional lands.
“Many of the plant and animal species within Molok Luyuk are traditionally important to the lifeways of the Patwin people, and we consider their protection and stewardship to be part of our sacred responsibility to the land. Molok Luyuk was home to California condors as well as bald eagles, golden eagles, and peregrine falcons, and the area provides wildlife corridors and vital habitat for other culturally important species. The Yurok Tribe’s recent reintroduction of the California condor to the north of Molok Luyuk gives hope that condors will once again soar over the ridge,” said Yocha Dehe Tribal Chairman Anthony Roberts.
Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument ranges from Napa County to Mendocino County and includes 330,780 acres of public land. Currently, Molok Luyuk is split, with only part of the ridge located inside the Monument. The proposed expansion area includes public lands on the eastern edge of the existing Monument. Adding these lands would help permanently protect the entirety of Molok Luyuk.
A key goal of the Tribe is to build a co-management strategy with the Bureau of Land Management, the federal agency managing all public lands within Molok Luyuk. Co-management will ensure that tribal knowledge, perspectives, and practices will be a part of the Monument’s stewardship.
For these reasons, the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation strongly supports the current legislative and administrative efforts and urges the Biden Administration to explore all possible methods of protecting Molok Luyuk. The full letter from the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation Tribal Council is available here. To learn more about the effort to expand the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument visit www.expandberryessa.org.
Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation
The Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation is a self-governed, sovereign nation that supports our citizens by strengthening our culture, stewarding our land, and creating economic independence for future generations. We are committed to building strong communities and developing effective partnerships with our neighbors in California’s Capay Valley and regionally in Yolo, Solano, Colusa, Lake, and Napa Counties, where our people have lived from time immemorial.