Trinidad Rancheria Finalizes Historic Land-Into-Trust Transfer—’Empowering Tribal Sovereignty!’

This is a press release from the Cher-Ae Heights Indian Community of the Trinidad Rancheria:

Trust Signing Opening Prayer

The Cher-Ae Heights Indian Community of the Trinidad Rancheria (Trinidad Rancheria) is proud to announce that the US Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs has placed the Trinidad Harbor Properties into Trust for the Trinidad Rancheria. The completion of this landmark land-into-trust transfer, solidifies the sovereignty and self-determination of the Trinidad Rancheria.

The transfer, commonly referred to as a fee-to-trust acquisition, signifies a significant step forward in the Tribe’s efforts to assert jurisdiction over our ancestral lands and resources. Under this agreement, the Trinidad Rancheria facilitated the transfer of land title to the federal government, which will now hold the land in trust for the exclusive benefit of the Trinidad Rancheria.

“We are here today to celebrate this land-into-trust transfer as it is a monumental achievement for the Tribe,” said Garth Sundberg, Trinidad Rancheria Chairman. “With this action, we reclaim our inherent rights to stewardship over our lands and resources.”

Trinidad Rancheria Chairman Garth Sundberg and Bureau of Indian Affairs Regional Director Amy Dutschke executed the Grant Deed and Acceptance of Conveyance during a formal signing event at the Trinidad Harbor Seascape Restaurant on May 1, 2024. The signing event attended by the Trinidad Rancheria Tribal Council and Staff, BIA Regional Director and Staff, Trinidad City Mayor Cheryl Kelley, Board of Supervisor Rex Bohn, and District Representative John Driscoll on behalf of Congressman Jared Huffman.   

“Today we accept the responsibility of the governance of these Tribal lands and acknowledge the sacrifices of our ancestors since time immemorial,” stated Robert Hemsted, Trinidad Rancheria Vice Chairman. “We shall continue to move forward in the spirit of our Original Assignees”.

The acquisition of land in trust is not merely symbolic; it carries tangible benefits for the Trinidad Rancheria and its tribal members. By placing land into trust

, the Tribe gains greater control over land management decisions, enhances access to crucial resources, and maximizes eligibility for federal services and programs aimed at improving the well-being of Tribal communities.

Aprilskye Hemsted, Trinidad Rancheria Councilwoman, expressed, “Being here on this historic day is truly an honor. We’ve waited a long time for this moment

, and it’s immensely gratifying to witness our hard work yielding positive results as our goals and projects reach completion.”

The successful completion of this land-into-trust transfer reflects the culmination of comprehensive  mitigation and cleanup of hazardous waste, renovation of harbor infrastructure, and numerous legal challenges. It stands as a testament to the resilience and determination of the Tribal community to safeguard our cultural heritage and secure a prosperous future for generations to come.

Jacque Hostler-Carmesin, Trinidad Rancheria CEO, stated, “The Trinidad Rancheria Tribal Council, Tribal Members, and Tribal Staff have worked tirelessly to ensure these 9.3 acres were secured in Trust for the Trinidad Rancheria. This endeavor epitomizes Indian Self-Determination and Tribal Sovereignty, prioritizing the preservation of cultural and environmental treasures. Moving forward, we remain steadfast in our commitment to fostering commercial and recreational fishing activities, while also extending a warm welcome to visitors and kayakers eager to explore our stunning harbor.”.

The Trinidad Rancheria is grateful to all those who have contributed to this historic endeavor, including tribal members, community members, government officials, and partnering organizations. Your dedication, perseverance, and unwavering support have been instrumental in realizing this milestone achievement.

“This is a significant moment for me”, Trina Mathewson, Trinidad Rancheria Secretary / Treasurer, reflected. “My grandmother, Carol Ervin-Tripp, served as Chairwoman in the 90s, dedicating over 20 years to our community. This achievement was her vision for our people, and I’m thrilled to see her dedication bearing fruit. She would be proud.”

The process to place land into trust requires coordination among multiple stakeholders, compliance with legal and regulatory requirements, and careful review of land titles and environmental considerations. The Bureau of Indian Affairs plays a critical role in facilitating the trust acquisition process, ensuring compliance with legal and regulatory requirements, and safeguarding the interests of the Trinidad Rancheria.

“It is my pleasure to be here and I am honored to take this land into Trust on behalf of the Secretary of the Interior”, said Amy Dutschke as she signed the Acceptance of Conveyance. “This land will now be held by the United States on behalf of and for the benefit of the Trinidad Rancheria. Forever!”

Trinidad Rancheria Flag Flying over Trinidad Harbor

Trinidad Rancheria CEO Jacque Hostler-Carmesin

Chairman Garth Sundberg and BIA Regional Director Amy Dutschke

Left to Right: Trinidad Rancheria Tribal Councilmembers: Secretary/Treasurer Trina Mathewson, Councilwoman Aprilskye Hemsted, Vice Chairman Robert Hemsted, Chairman Garth Sundberg, and BIA Regional Director Amy


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c u 2morrowD
2 months ago

wonderful !

2 months ago

Yup. They are now exempt from California Coastal laws and Humboldt County permits !