Wednesday April 19, 2023

The Mendocino Voice

For Nikcole Whipple, an indigenous law student and member of the Round Valley Indian Tribes, talking about the Eel River means talking about her family. She remembers traveling into the mountains with her dad and grandmother to care for elders in the community, driving over “bellyache slide,” a bumpy roadway that perennially washed out because of its proximity to the water. Her mom always taught her to be proud of their river, and learning about its water issues at tribal council meetings inspired her to further explore environmental policy — which she is doing now as an intern with Save California Salmon. 

She’s also seen the Eel’s water contaminated, with water from the river piped to low-income housing developments on the reservation turning an orange hue at times. In recent years, on her drives in and out of the valley, seeing almost no water in the Eel has been “devastating.” 

“I hope that we can get our water back — and get our culture back,” she told The Mendocino Voice in a phone conversation. “We were fish people, just like the rest of the far north people. That was our food and we lived off that land, and that included the river.” 

Read more >

Link copied successfully