Dishgamu Humboldt Community Land Trust
Dishgamu in Soulutluk, Wiyot Language. (pronouncing Dishgamu)
RESTORING BALANCE BY RESTORING WIYOT LAND
The Wiyot people understand the sacred interconnectedness between people and place. Since time immemorial, the Wiyot people have lived along Shou’r (the Pacific Ocean) and around Wigi (Humboldt Bay). This region was once in balance. This balance was disrupted with the onset of settler colonialism and intensified through decades of extractive practices around fur, minerals, timber, fishing, and water diversion. This has left the region to face economic decline alongside increasing environmental threats such as sea level rise and wildfires.
The Wiyot Tribe (Tribe) sees an opportunity for place-based healing that is multi-generational, with benefits that are both immediate and looking ahead to the next 500+ years.
The Wiyot Tribe has already demonstrated how land return can restore balance, heal trauma, and provide opportunity. For over a century, Wiyot people have worked to remain in a reciprocal relationship with their unceded ancestral territory - through private land purchases, legal action, and more recently, voluntary land returns (see p.8-9 for a timeline of some of these events). Through this work, the Wiyot Tribe has exemplified how native and non-native peoples can exist in relationship to the land and to one another.
As the Community Land Trust of the Wiyot Tribe, Dishgamu Humboldt is the next step on this journey. Named after the Soulatluk word for love, Dishgamu Humboldt is designed to facilitate the return of Wiyot ancestral lands to Wiyot stewardship, putting land in trust for the purposes of affordable housing creation, workforce development, and environmental and cultural restoration.
We work with community, capital, and government partners to return land to tribal ownership. Using the community land trust model, we direct land use towards three impact areas:
Affordable Housing Creation
We develop and preserve affordable and sustainable housing to allow Wiyot people to remain in their homelands while addressing our region’s dual crises of housing and climate change.
We use our projects to create local living-wage jobs and green building training programs that empower our community.
Environmental and Cultural Restoration
We prioritize projects that protect and restore land with ecological, cultural, or ceremonial significance in collaboration with Wiyot Tribal Departments.
As a tribal community land trust, land is at the center of everything we do. By using the CLT model, we maintain Wiyot ownership in perpetuity, remove land from the speculative market, and direct its use in ways that build community and individual wealth.