Indian Canyon, California

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Indian Canyon (formerly known as Indian Gulch) is the only federally recognized Indian country from Sonoma to the coast of Santa Barbara in California, a distance of over 300 miles. The canyon is a mile long.[1] As the only such place within the original Costanoan-Ohlone territory, anyone of Native American heritage can come to Indian Canyon to hold ceremonies on this sacred and traditional land.[2] Until 1978, when the American Indian Religious Freedom Act was passed, Native Americans were prohibited from practicing all traditional forms of spirituality.[1]

The canyon's arbor is used for cultural storytelling, chanting, and dancing that bring together indigenous peoples from around the world, from the Maori of New Zealand to the Gwich’in of Alaska.[1]

Anne Marie Sayers and the reclamation of Indian Canyon[edit]

Anne Marie Sayers is a Mutsun Ohlone leader and the tribal chair of the Indian Canyon.[3] In a landmark 8-year case ending in 1998, Sayers used the Dawes Act (also known as the Allotment Act of 1887) to reclaim land in the Indian Canyon, that had belonged to her family for centuries.[4][1]

Sayers is also the Director of the Costanoan Indian Research, Inc., an organisation based in the Indian Canyon, dedicated to the preservation and return of native artifacts to their tribal groups.[5]

In 2015, during Pope Francis' visit to the United States, Sayers joined religious leaders across the country to protest fracking.[6]


  1. ^ a b c d Chitnis, Rucha (30 September 2015). "In the Land of My Ancestors: Native Woman Stands Her Ground in Ohlone Territory". Indian Country Today Media Network Retrieved 17 July 2016.
  2. ^ Pritzer, Barry (1999). Native America Today: A Guide to Community Politics and Culture. ABC-CLIO. p. 57. ISBN 978-1576070772.
  3. ^ Markus, Bethania Palma (16 November 2013). "The "Golden State's" Brutal Past Through Native Eyes". Truthout Retrieved 17 July 2016.
  4. ^ "Background". Indian Canyon Retrieved 17 July 2016.
  5. ^ . Indian Canyon Village Retrieved 17 July 2016. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  6. ^ Hauter, Wenonah (24 September 2015). "Faith Leaders Speak Out Against Fracking Amid Pope Francis' Visit to U.S". Ecowatch Retrieved 17 July 2016.