Restoring Our Native Land

A primary goal of the Todd’s Valley Miwok Maidu Cultural Foundation is to preserve the indigenous forest management practices that sustained California Indians for centuries. 

Prior to European contact in the early 1800s, the native population actively managed wild plant resources and animal habitat throughout the Sierra Nevada. Indigenous management practices were long-term and widespread, and had substantial impacts on California ecology. Controlled fire, also known as broadcast burning, was one of the primary tools used at this time. These practices maintained diverse and productive ecosystems for thousands of years, but these ecosystems were dependent on indigenous management. 

During the 1800s the native population was decimated by disease and denied access to their native land. Fire suppression became the norm, first to protect the valuable timber industry and later to defend expanding residential communities. These fire suppression policies led to increased fuel load on the forest floor and decreased biodiversity, negatively impacting the California ecology and setting the stage for potentially catastrophic wildfires. 

partially cleared forestland
On the right side of the photo above is overgrown forest. On the left, overgrowth has been cleared to increase open space. Open space allows sunlight and rain to penetrate the forest canopy and reach the plants below, improving the overall health of the forest.

Our goal is to restore as much of our native land as possible to a state reminiscent of the pre-colonial period and to create a model for restoration and management that can be replicated across similar forest land. 

TVMMCF facilitates local land management projects that include:

  • Hazardous fuel reduction to improve wildfire resilience and overall forest health
  • Cultivation and re-introduction of native plant species
  • Harvesting and tending practices to maintain healthy ecology
  • Returning land to indigenous stewardship