Christmas Story — Esselen tribe to get their land back…

…At least some of it. “Although the history of Native American indigenous peoples have unquestionably been filled with hardship, the Esselen Tribe in California—maybe the smallest native tribe in the country—has perhaps struggled the most. But now, thanks to a historic deal, it has gotten its land back.

“Forcibly converted to Christianity by Spanish missionaries, pulled into missions for tutoring, and exploited for forced labor, the number of remaining descendants from their tribe located in Big Sur is so small that in 2010, the Bureau of Indian Affairs denied their request to be recognized as a tribe and given tribal status.

“Recently, however, California authorities managed to raise $37 million for 21 different cultural and city projects, including a $4.5 million grant to buy a large tract of ancestral Esselen land as part of the Esselen Tribal Lands Conservation Project.

“The 1,199-acre ranch, once owned by a Swedish man named Alex Adler, runs along the Little Sur Coast near the Central California shore where the Santa Lucia Mountains rise above the Pacific Ocean.

Tracts of old-growth oak and redwoods, grasslands, and chaparral cover the area where the Spanish missionaries first encountered the Esselen during their travels north through California. Thanks to the grant, the Esselen are no longer landless; the forests and fields where their ancestors lived are theirs once more to continue the traditions of the past.

“This is one of the first times a tribe has gotten its land back,” Tom Little Bear Nason told Monterey County Now. “We consider the place sacred and we intend to protect it. We will use it to preserve our traditions.”

“Nason, who heads the Esselen Tribe of Monterey, a nonprofit set up in June to accept ownership of the ranch, also added that there will be no commercialization of the land and their culture, although they do plan to allow small tour groups to visit and learn from their settlement a few times a year.”

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Happy Thanksgiving, 2019

“Life without thankfulness is devoid of love and passion. Hope without thankfulness is lacking in fine perception. Faith without thankfulness lacks strength and fortitude. Every virtue divorced from thankfulness is maimed and limps along the spiritual road.”

– John Henry Jowett (1864-1923)

I may not have time to blog for the next few days, and in case that turns out to be true, I wanted to take this moment in time to wish all of you a blessed Thanksgiving Day. May it be filled with love, joy, friends and family. Take a few moments each day to fill your soul with the gratitude you truly feel. Blessed be.

Jo-Ann always put together such a beautiful Thanksgiving table. I miss this
Thanksgiving Morning on top of the World by Brendon Shave

Day 6 – finally on the home stretch, literally

After Rock Knocker talked to the tourists heading to Treebones, we headed south on South Coast Ridge Rd. At the very first blockage, our neighbor and friend, Peter, came up behind us. They could have both gotten under these trees, but I was too tall. Peter drove 3 miles past his own turn to see us all the way to our back gate. What a guy! Inside the gate, the top of a dead pine came down.  I’ll just let the photos speak for themselves.

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Winter Solstice, 2018

The longest night and shortest day of the year…and I reflect on what this year has brought into my life, and I feel blessed. It has been challenging, at times, but not as difficult as other times in my life. I have friends and family that are close and far, but all dear and they help to carry the weight of these challenges with me. I am powered by the sun…my being…my household…my sleeping and waking patterns. Tomorrow the light is reborn. I celebrate this Yule time with you. Whatever one’s religion, we can all agree that the lengthening of the days that begins tomorrow is reason to celebrate. I wish for us all lengthening days and stability in our world. Blessed be.

Dave Egbert posted this on his FB page, and it fits with this day and how I feel about it, so I borrow it for the day. Thanks, Dave.


Happy Thanksgiving, 2018

I miss these Thanksgivings in Jo-anne’s garage, and the people who have since moved away…I am thankful for you all and count my blessings that you are in my life. I am thankful for all the friends I have met through this blog for the last 10 years, and for what we have shared together – happy and painful. We have a wonderful community of Big Surians now spread over a great distance from Thailand to Switzerland and beyond. We are family.