Preserving History: The Alliance for Felix Cove at Tomales Bay
Imagine an abandoned cabin sits at the edge of Tomales Bay. Graffiti decorates its walls and a heart made of seashells on the porch. Untold stories from generations fill this tiny space. Standing next to it, the ocean breeze hits you and you’re transported back in time. This is an ancestral home of Theresa Harlan. She is a descendant of the last family to live freely on Coast Miwok/Támal-ko lands. They were evicted in the 1950’s. Harlan recently established the Alliance for Felix Cove.
Complete with a view of the ocean, this small cabin site is administered by the Point Reyes National Seashore. The Alliance wishes to protect, restore and rematriate the ancestral homelands of the Coast Miwok/Támal-ko people. Native Non-Profit Day is on May 19th here are a few things you should know.
Native Non-Profit Day is on May 19th here are a few things you should know:
Before the geological formation of San Francisco, the Coast Miwok/Támal-ko called Tomales Bay home. That’s over 10,000 years. This history was very nearly erased during the last 150 years. Colonial powers forcibly removed the last Coast Miwok/Támal-ko from their homes and blocked them from returning. The federal government refused to recognize the Coast Miwok by 1958, along with many other tribes. As a result of this cultural genocide, the culture was very nearly lost.
The Alliance for Felix Cove is committed to restoring the cabin and reclaiming access to the land it sits on for all Coast Miwok/Támal-ko descendants. Community gatherings such as the crafting of a Tule Canoe serve as a way of connecting.
The Alliance wants the Felix family’s story to be shared widely and told accurately. Támal-ko descendants and allies need a safe space to connect with a language, culture and traditions nearly lost to colonialism. Restoring this connection is key to renewal and healing for the future. The movement to return Indigenous lands to Indigenous hands (also known as Land Back) is gaining popularity in Northern California.
In Point Reyes, signs pepper the roadside announcing the “historic ranches”. Cows graze near Tule elk in front of stunning views of the coast. At the Bear Valley Visitor Center you can take a small hike and see Kule Loklo (meaning Bear Valley) a replica of a Coast Miwok Village. There is no mention of the cabin a few miles away that was home to generations of people who loved and cared for the land that sustained them.
How to learn more about Alliance for Felix Cove:
Native Non-Profit Day is on May 19th. Please consider donating to Alliance for Felix Cove.
To learn more about the Alliance for Felix Cove: alliance4felixcove.org
All photos are by Vita Hewitt
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