700 Acres of Sonoma County to Be Returned to Native American Tribe

October 22, 2015

Posted in: News Articles

The crashing waves along the jagged Sonoma coastline near Stewart’s Point reverberated through the soul of Walter Antone. He heard the deep layers of years in each slap of wave against rock — the childhood he spent fishing along the cliffs with his father — and even father back when his ancestors would fish and gather abalone and mussels along the same cliffs.

“We’re from the coast,” Antone said, gazing out at the point where cliff gave way to water. “We’re coast Indians and we live off the ocean.”

Antone grew up not far away from the spot, on the 40 acre Kashia band of Pomo Indians reservation. By the time Antone was born, the Kashia had long been cut-off from their native coastal lands — a coastal tribe without access to the coast. As a boy, Antone’s father had to ask permission of the land owners to access the same cliffs which once fed his ancestors. These days, tribal members sometimes snuck through the fences in order to conduct traditional coming-of-age ceremonies.

“Made me feel shutout,” Antone said. “It’s land where we used to go before but now you can’t — we’re fenced off.”