The Coming Home Song: Wiyot People Joyous as Eureka City Council Takes Another Step Towards Returning Indian Island

Wiyot Tribal Council and Eureka City Council after historic vote that returns Island to the native people.

Wiyot Tribal Council and Eureka City Council after historic vote that returns Indian Island to the Wiyot people. [Photo by Bobby Kroeker]

Last night, the Eureka City Council unanimously voted to make the next step in returning 202 acres of Indian Island, located between the city and the Samoa peninsula, to the Wiyot people.

The property was declared “surplus” which allows it to eventually be transferred back to the local tribe which considers the area sacred.

In 2000, the Wiyot’s purchased about 1 and a half acres and after cleanup and restoration performed the World Renewal Ceremony there in March of 2014. The last time previous to that the ceremony had been performed was in February of 1860 when the mostly women and children staying at the ceremony site were massacred at night by a group of local white men.

One speaker said that the City of Eureka will be the first in the entire United States to return Sacred land to an Indigenous people without being forced to do so by a court order.

At the meeting last night, Wiyot’s sang their Coming Home song, before the historic Eureka City Council vote.

Wiyot Tribal Chair Ted Hernandez said that the Island was the “center to their world,” that is “sacred to us,” and is “dear to our hearts.”

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