**This blog entry orginally appeared on the website oceanspaces.org.**/p>
The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) expressed a goal of maintaining and creating ” conditions under which man and nature can exist in productive harmony , and fulfill the social, economic, and other requirements of present and future generations of Americans.”
In California, the Chumash peoples heritage exemplifies this harmony under which man and nature had coexisted for thousands of years. The Chumash inhabited the California coast and historically are one of the few tribes that navigated the Pacific Ocean, to fish and facilitate the distribution of goods.
Interest is being shown both on a state and federal level for the need of Tribal involvement in government policy decisions making. Recently The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) formally endorsed a plan to support the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and Governor Brown’s Executive Order B-10-11 is geared to establishing improved dialog with Tribal governments on state legislature, policy and regulation issues.
Also, the West Coast Governors Alliance (WCGA) is soliciting feedback from Western Tribal leaders regarding the West Coast Ocean Data Portal in the upcoming West Coast Ocean Summit.
In a recent Facing West blog by Ryan Meyer called ” Scientist and Policymakers: Wave Goodbye to the Valley of Death”, Mr. Meyer does an excellent job defining the challenges and opportunities of linking science and policy in a practical and applicable manner.
In his article, Mr. Meyer states the following:
“Powerful metaphors are often used to describe the challenges of linking science to its application and use in the world. We often hear about the gap that needs to be bridged, the chasm between two cultures, the insurmountable barriers or, most evocative of all, the valley of death”
An integral part of bridging the gap between the scientific community and how it can translate into governmental policy that can be dynamically adaptable requires a third element…. the art of sustainability. The linkages between sustainability, biodiversity and cultural significance have been recognized internationally as integral elements for human and environmental health. By bringing together academia, politicians and people of diverse cultures, especially ones who have inhabited an area for thousands of years, in a meaningful and respectful way, we all could be part of changing the ‘Valley of Death’ into becoming the ‘Sea of Life’.
This is what the formation of the California Central Coast Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary (CCCCHNMS) is seeking to accomplish: a practical application of policy implantation for future generations of diverse cultures.
Please see attached letter from the Northern Chumash Tribal Council (NCTC) Administrator, Fred Collins, describing the cultural significance and benefits of this historical event.
Richard E,T,Sadowski and Marla jo Bruton T,Sadowski