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District 1 Newsletter

Posted on: December 16, 2020

Revisiting History: Supporting Federal Recognition for the Nisenan Tribe of Nevada City Rancheria

Hall_Nisenan Photo Shoot

At the December 15th Board of Supervisors meeting, the BOS unanimously voted to support the restoration of Federal recognition of the Nevada City Rancheria Nisenan Tribe. I have worked on moving this forward with Shelly Covert since I started on the Board in 2017, and was a major priority for me this year. I am pleased the County BOS did the right thing - and grateful to Supervisor Hoek for co-sponsoring the Resolution.  

The history pertaining to the Nisenan’s Federal recognition and its termination is complicated and includes unratified treaties, presidential action, congressional legislation, judicial judgments, and complicated and time-consuming administrative processes. The Nevada City Rancheria was created from via Executive Order by President Woodrow Wilson in 1913 from a land allotment obtained by Chief Charlie Cully in 1887. Cully's land on Cement Hill became Federal Trust Land and the Tribal government became a federally recognized entity.

The Nevada City Rancheria was one of 41 Rancherias terminated in the 1950s and 1960s by the 1958 California Rancheria Termination Act. To date, most of the impacted tribe’s federal status have been restored. As big as this step is, this is just one step in a long process towards Federal recognition for the Nisenan Tribe. Tribal member duly elected tribal official and designated tribal spokesperson for the Nisenan, Shelly Covert, will be working with congressional leaders moving forward.   “I know that the county is proud of our history. This history has been missing for quite some time. It has been decades long work, my mother before me and my grandfather before her, to get this history back into the history books,”   Shelly Covert recently explained. “For me, it all starts at home. Your support, our Board of Supervisors, helps us get to the next step to receiving federal recognition and is a critical piece to the survival of the Nisenan culture.”

Learn more about the Nevada City Nisenan Rancheria tribe at and

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