Protecting the safe haven known as Indian Canyon

Land grabs from Indigenous Peoples are not something from the past, it is still happening today. A portion of Indian Canyon was sold recently, apparently without a title search, and portions of that land belong to Indian Canyon. The original Indian Village site at the mouth of Indian Canyon has already been plowed.  Although this site is not on a portion of the disputed land lots it shows the lack of respect the new owner has for the original people that resided there. And plans to continue “developing” the land for agriculture that are in Indian Canyon threaten other ceremonial places.

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Indian Canyon is the only federally recognized “Indian Country” between Sonoma and Santa Barbara, and has been sacred land and home for Ohlone/Costanoan people for thousands of years. During the 1700 and 1800s, Indian Canyon served as a safe haven for the local indigenous peoples who were being abducted, recruited and transported to the Spanish Missions. The local Ohlone peoples knew the terrain however and many were able to traverse the territory into the secluded valley of Indian Canyon and remain safe. It currently hosts many Native gatherings and offers its land as a sovereign space for any Indigenous Peoples in need of land for ceremony and education.


Indian Canyon needs funds and volunteers for title searches and legal fees to prove, through the colonial lense, that this land is rightfully theirs.  The goal is to put the surrounding land in a land trust to keep it for the rightful caretakers, the Indigenous Peoples. The longer we wait, the more that will be irreplaceably lost. Donate Here 

As a community, we must come together and stand in solidarity with the Indian Canyon Nation. They have suffered tremendously due to disingenuous self-serving people who left devastation in their wake. Now, Indian Canyon is in danger from land-grabbing neighbors and agricultural industries who do not respect or value indigenous peoples and their lifeways. We cannot stand idly by while such injustices occur.

We must step up and learn more about the struggles and current needs of the Indian Canyon Nation. We must provide them with legal assistance, financial contributions, and support in any way possible. We can start by reviewing their needs website and wishlist to learn about items that people can donate. We can also learn about their projects and see if our network or environment of abundance or resources can align and be of assistance. By doing so, we can help the Indian Canyon Nation to protect their land and their way of life. Let us come together and show our support for this incredible community

Acknowledging truth in history and recognizing our impact regarding both climate and social justice are essential in strategizing sustainable futures. When we engage with our community and include diverse perspectives, we become better ancestors-in-training by learning from the past and working together towards a more equitable and sustainable future. Honoring the truth allows us to confront uncomfortable realities and learn from them, while recognizing our impact on the environment and society helps us take responsibility and make positive changes. Through community engagement, we can build stronger relationships and foster collaboration towards a shared vision of a better world, creating a legacy that future generations can be proud of. This all needs to start and consistently include Indigenous peoples and narratives. #NothingAboutUsWithOutUs

Kanyon CoyoteWoman Sayers-Roods

Please watch this video below to get a feel for Indian Canyon from Kanyon Coyote Woman

Alternative Ways to Support

Field Trip to Indian Canyon – offering prayers to the Healing Pole, carved by Shane ‘Tonu’ Eagleton

Recap of Challenging Times

In April 2022, tribal-elder Ann-Marie was hospitalized. Her daughter, Kanyon, risking bodily harm, rescued Ann-Marie from a toxic, violent caretaker. The “caretaker,” a vagrant, manipulated Ann-Marie’s kind nature; using threats, aggression, and intimidation, forced Kanyon off her ancestral land. Ann-Marie was sympathetic, telling Kanyon, “She’s helping me and I care about her, and she has no place to go.” The dynamic quickly turned manipulative and toxic, with Ann-Marie failing to recognize this or the level of abuse she was enduring. Kanyon, feeling unwelcome and unsafe at ICN for the first time in her life, visited her mother as often as possible. She watched Ann-Marie’s health deteriorate over the next five years. Fearing her mother’s life was in danger, Kanyon gathered a group of her allies to stage an intervention and rescue Ann-Marie. While Ann-Marie (wheelchair-bound, unable to walk from muscle atrophy) was being moved to a car for an emergency room visit, the caretaker assaulted two of Kanyon’s allies, punching and biting one, and defiled an abalone shell (sacred to Mutsun people) to draw blood from the other. Ann-Marie’s condition was dire. She had: anemia, needing two blood transfusions; blood in her prefrontal cortex from an untreated, unreported head wound; shoulder dislocation from another unreported, untreated injury; intestinal bleeding; mental fog; and confusion. Nearly a half-year in rehab followed before returning home. The toxic caretaker is currently removed from the land, however, she continues to make contact, recently leaving a note, “I’m still here.”

Seeking legal assistance to save Ann-Marie and ensure the caretaker’s return would be disallowed, Kanyon was taken advantage of by a con-artist, falsely representing himself as a lawyer, receiving donation funds for the CIR meant to fund the care of two elders in failing health, off-the-grid land maintenance, and self-sustainability establishment.

Neighboring vineyard landholders threaten to encroach on the land. Water’s taken from the land, impacting natural resources, ecological diversity, and access to ceremonial/sacred sites. The actions, utterances, and posturing of one neighbor cause deep concerns of unneighborly machinations to claim ICN land, repeating the settler colonial violence of entitled land grabbing that has beset the Indigenous American Tribes since first contact.

ICN is currently burdened by the devastating aftermath of the “Pineapple Express” storm from March of 2023. ICN’s creeks overflowed, and flooding led to infrastructural damage, destroying the main entry road, access to multiple cultural heritage/sacred sites, and suffered structural damage requiring roof repair and maintenance on compromised electrical systems. ICN has needed infrastructural updates for some time; the recent flooding makes this urgent. Beyond repairs, ICN must expand off-the-grid infrastructure (i.e., its 20-year-old+ solar-electric system needs replacement) to support its residents.

Elders, Ann-Marie and Chris are retired and require caretakers for meals, to build fires, tend the cabin, replace the gasoline and propane, ensure the water tank is full and pumped as needed to guarantee running water, etc., and sometimes need help to get up or bathe. The tribal family needs funding for greatly needed care and ADA-compliant domiciles to ensure elders’ safety.

CIR plays a vital role in supporting ICN and its mission. Through its programs and initiatives, CIR promotes cultural heritage preservation, education, and community development. They offer tours of ICN, lectures, workshops, and other events to educate the public about the California Natives and their traditions.

Ecocamp Coyote + Sudden Oak Life + Kanyon Konsulting alongside Costanoan Indian Research in Indian Canyon

CIR is also involved in land restoration projects, working to restore the native plant species and habitats of ICN. They have also launched a language revitalization program to preserve and rebuild the currently dormant Mutsun language. Kanyon has self-published a Mutsun-language coloring book focused on educational language revitalization. Approximately 900 copies have been sold. While she is planning to self-publish more, she would benefit greatly from a partnership with a publishing house or another printing service.

Recent updates & highlights of Indian Canyon Nation Spring 2023