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Marshall McKay

Marshall McKay
Tribal Chairman, Yoche Dehe Wintun Nation
Culturally, I believe this land is being preserved in an upstanding way.

Marshall McKay is chairman of the elected Tribal Council of the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation.  Chairman McKay grew up in Brooks, California, near his present-day home in the Yoche Dehe tribal community in the Capay Valley.  He bagan his career in tribal government in 1984 and is committed to cultural renewal and preservation, a focus he extends into education and sustainable land-use practices.

Can you tell me the different names that have been given to your tribe and what they mean?

The names that have been given to the group here, my tribe, have three different variations.  One is an overall general term called Patwin which, in our language, translates to the people.  So we would call each other “The People” when we met each other in settings like this.  We are also the Southern Wintun because we are at the southern end of the Wintun grouping which runs all the way up to Susanville in a very narrow band between the coast and the Great Valley.  Then also it certainly isn’t a bad thing to be called the Wintun Tribe.

What was the intended purpose for The Tending and Gathering Garden within the tribal community?

The Tending and Gathering Garden was conceived to actually be a place to collect materials for basket weaving and other textile creations and that was a very, very important portion of this preserve to have that available to the tribal members.  It was a significant move forward I think with a bond between the tribe and the community.

How has your tribe been involved in the restoration efforts right here at the preserve?

My aunts and other family members have been involved with the idea of placement of material replanting and they have a very good idea of where things should be placed for authenticity and the best placement of plant product for the preserve to have its authentic flavor.

So how do you think place is being restored culturally?

Culturally I believe this land is being preserved in a very upstanding way that I believe our ancestors, my ancestors would be very happy to see it being done again.

Written by: 
Ashley Woodbury

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