Sustainable Future Strategy Meeting April 30, 2024

On behalf of the Leadership Council of the Tribal Marine Stewards Network, we extend an enthusiastic thank you to everyone who attended and participated in the Sustainable Future Strategy Meeting in Sacramento on April 30th. We are grateful to the leadership and many staff from our State partners at the California Natural Resources Agency, Ocean Protection Council, State Parks, State Coastal Conservancy, and the Department of Fish and Wildlife for attending and actively engaging in discussions that seek to meaningfully support Tribal/State partnerships.

We are also so grateful to our philanthropic and other partners from Ecotrust, The California Endowment, Humboldt Area Foundation, James Irvine Foundation, The Pew Charitable Trust, and Resources Legacy Fund for participating and sharing ideas for continued opportunities to collaborate and learn more about the work of the TMSN. And we are so appreciative to the Tribal Council leadership for sharing the vision and voice to guide this important work.

The meeting began with a profound land acknowledgment and moving songs from Santa Ynez Tribal Elder Reggie Pagaling, which set a tone of reverence and connection. This blessing was followed by Secretary Wade Crowfoot, whose opening words framed our discussions with a sense of purpose and deep consideration for the future. This powerful start gave us exactly what we needed to begin co-creating exciting ideas that will help us advance the critical shifts needed for sustainable funding. We are deeply grateful for these contributions, which enhanced the collaborative spirit of our gathering.

Powerful stories were then shared by TMSN leaders and representatives. As we reflect on the progress made during the Sustainable Future Strategy Meeting, it is essential to recognize the powerful stories shared by our leaders. Chairmen Valentin Lopez of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band, Traditional Paddler Eva Pagaling of the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash, Chairpersonwomen Fawn Murphy from the PuliklaResighini Tribe of Yurok People (formerly known as Resighini Rancheria), and Council member Jaytuk Steinruck of the Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation, all spoke eloquently about the importance of the Tribal Marine Stewards Network for their people, past, and present, and future. Their narratives underscored how this network has supported and will continue to support Tribes in stewarding their lands. These stories not only connect us to our past but also guide us as we navigate our future.

Desired Outcomes of the Sustainable Future Strategy Meeting
The Sustainable Future Strategy Meeting was not just an occasion to come together but a pivotal opportunity to connect, align, learn, and make substantial progress toward our goals. Here’s what we aimed to achieve and how we approached these goals:

Our gathering was rooted in the spirit of connection. We aimed to not only build and deepen relationships but also to authentically share our individual, organizational, and collective needs. This foundational work is crucial as it supports the strategies we co-design, ensuring they are reflective of our shared intent and values.

A key outcome we sought was alignment on the vision that the Tribal Marine Stewards Network (TMSN) can be financially self-sustaining in the long term. We discussed what we call the “proof of possibility,” sharing inspirations and models that illuminate the path forward.

We dedicated time to learning from the successes of other self-sustaining Indigenous networks. Understanding the enabling conditions and success factors of these networks provides valuable insights that directly relate to the vision of TMSN and our partners.

The crux of the meeting focused on co-developing strategies among the TMSN Tribes, State representatives, and philanthropic partners to advance the critical shifts necessary for sustainable funding into the future. We not only collectively drafted these strategies but also agreed on the next steps to advance them. Additionally, we developed and prioritized a set of actionable ideas that the Leadership Council will actively move forward. We look forward to continuing to work with both state and philanthropic partners on next steps, ensuring continuous momentum and engagement.

Next Steps
As we move forward, the commitments made and the strategies developed during this meeting lay a robust foundation for our continued collaboration and success. We are committed to honoring our shared history and the wisdom of our ancestors through every step we take, ensuring that our efforts today will benefit generations to come. Together, we are building a sustainable future that remains true to our traditions and values. Again, a tremendous thank you to everyone who contributed to this vision and participated in this important event that will guide our work together.

We have lots of work to do!

In Gratitude,

TMSN Leadership Council