Our Story

WULABITK (ROOTS): OUR STORY 

Regional Context: Addressing Dual Crises
Wiyot people have lived along the Pacific Ocean and around Wigi (aka Humboldt Bay) since time immemorial. Until the 1850s they stewarded over 40 miles of coastline, extending inland about 10 miles. The Wiyot people understand the sacred interconnectedness between people and place. 

This balance was disrupted with the onset of settler colonialism -- starting with the Gold Rush, and intensified through decades of extractive practices around timber, fishing, and water diversion - through to the modern day. This has left the region to face increasing economic inequality alongside environmental degradation and destabilization. 

Dishgamu Humbodlt was created to address these challenges and help restore balance to Wiyot ancestral territory - now a collection of highly interdependent yet disparately governed cities and towns, as well as the population center of Humboldt county and the northern California coast. Our deeply rooted environmental knowledge and territorial-scale perspective make us uniquely equipped to address the scale and complexity of the challenges before us.            

Affordable Housing
A key symptom of this imbalance is the lack of access to affordable, safe, and healthy housing. This not only impacts the ability of Wiyot people to remain in their homeland, but threatens the ability of the entire community to thrive in right relationship to the land. Short-sighted or profit-driven responses to current housing market pressures threaten to destroy natural resources, put communities in the path of environmental hazards, and ignore the needs of historically underserved communities.

Understanding the scale of our region’s housing needs and the communities most impacted helps us set priorities for new housing construction. 

It is clear that those with incomes below the area median are the most vulnerable in our current housing market. Below are example median incomes for certain demographics in Humboldt County, compared to the area median of $54,752.

Acute Housing Shortage in Wiyot Territory
According to Humboldt County’s state-mandated Regional Housing Needs Assessment, the county must produce 3390 new units by 2027. The vast majority of these are either assigned to or likely to be built within Wiyot Ancestral Territory.

Environmental Hazards
Our region is growing - yet environmental hazards limit the areas suitable for new development and threaten already urbanized areas. Many of these hazards have been exacerbated or caused by human-driven climate change. We cannot only seek to avoid increasing   hazards, but must also proactively combat their cause. This dynamic calls for a strategic approach to both land conservation and housing development. By mapping current and projected environmental risks, we can make informed decisions about how to acquire and use land, as well as how to direct development in ways that support community resilience and reduce carbon emissions that drive climate change.