California Native American Tribes Awarded $10 Million For Youth Conservation Corps Programs

women standing in garden talking

Veronica Cortina, left, and Janell Bunch, middle, discuss their plans for a youth conservation corps at the Tuolumne Band of Me-Wuk Indians’ Community Garden in Tuolumne, CA.

The Tribal Nature-Based Solutions Conservation Corps Grant Program awarded five California tribes millions of dollars in funding to establish and maintain tribal youth conservation corps programs across California.

“These grants can make a long-lasting impact on promoting conservation to Native American youth and particularly on their ancestral lands,” said Bruce Saito, Director of the California Conservation Corps. The grants are administered by the California Conservation Corps.

The CCC awarded a total of $10 million, with the Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California receiving the largest grant – $3 million. The Washoe Tribe intends to use its award to create A full-time tribal youth conservation corps serving eight youth in the first year of funding, then expand to serve 12 youth in year-two.

Participating youth in all five tribal conservation corps awarded these grants will engage in natural resources conservation projects on tribal land while receiving career training and readiness support.

Grant proposals were required to include components focused on workforce development and features that implement sustainable land management practices as they relate to climate change and climate adaptation/resiliency.

“The CCC makes such a natural partner for these grants and their goal. We look forward to sharing with the tribes our knowledge that comes from more than 45 years of operating the nation’s oldest and largest conservation corps, and we can’t wait to learn from the tribes more traditional ecological knowledge they have amassed from generations of caring for California’s lands,” said Saito.

The five awardees are:

logo of Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California

Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California – $3,000,000

Establish full-time Washoe Tribe Youth Corps aimed at providing training, career exploration, career readiness through engaging in natural resource projects

Tuolumne Band of Me-Wuk Indians insignia

Tuolumne Band of Me-Wuk Indians – $2,400,000

Create conservation corps serving 25 youth over three-year period with the goal of creating career pathways through work on tribal lands

Logos of Fernandeno Tataviam Band of Mission Indians and Tiuvac'a'ai Tribal Conservation Corps

Fernandeno Tataviam Band of Mission Indians – $2,161,060

Expand existing tribal conservation corps to continue focus on traditional ecological knowledge

logo of Bishop Paiute Tribe

Bishop Paiute Tribe – $1,636,700

Develop seasonal tribal conservation corps program for 10 tribal youth to experience meaningful resource management on tribal and federal lands

Great seal of the Tolowa Dee-ni' Nation

Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation – $801,117

Initiate a seasonal, tribal conservation program serving up to five tribal youth participating in educational and conservation projects on tribal lands