Our Commitment to Learn, Discuss, and Take Action to Address Racism and Injustice in our Conservation Community:
We see the hurt, pain, and injustice that racism causes in our country. And, we believe it must end. The continued deaths of too many unarmed persons of color leave us recognizing that as a conservation community we have much to learn, listen for, be accountable to, and reflect upon.
We come to our conservation work because the outdoors inspires us, because the beauty of the Methow Valley sustains us, and because we believe it is important to protect the ecological health of places like the Methow watershed. We recognize, however, that not all people have equal access to or feel welcome in this beautiful place we work to protect. We take seriously our role in learning and in taking action to do more to address issues of historical and current racism and injustices.
As a land trust, we acknowledge that we seek to protect and steward land that for literally thousands of years was cared for thoughtfully by members of the Methow Tribe. We recognize we must do more to build better relationships and acknowledge our past with our Methow Tribe descendants who still live and care for the land in this Valley. We have much to learn from them.
We don't claim to have the answers, but we do acknowledge the need to see our work and mission in a larger context. As a starting point, our staff read, listened to, and reflected on important voices like Carolyn Finney, PhD., Dorceta Taylor, PhD., and Ijeoma Oluo on race, racism, and the environmental movement. We intended for this time of discussion and reflection to lead to clear actions steps we can take to both ensure our land protection work is just and to ensure our educational programs are open to all and provide opportunities for community discussion on important issues like race and racism in conservation. Our goal is to make sustained change over time, rather than one-time only actions.
As we work to broaden the lens through which we see our work, we believe an important action we can take now is to highlight and encourage the support of organizations that work to ensure that conservation and outdoor recreation are safe and accessible to everyone. We have curated a list of great non-profit organizations below. We will add to this list each month in our monthly Enews, with a new organization featured each month. Please consider supporting these organizations and their important work.
- Methow Valley Interpretive Center – located in Twisp, the Interpretive Center recognizes the pre-European history of the Methow Valley
- Team Naturaleza – a resource for the Spanish-speaking community in North Central Washington, Team Naturaleza’s mission is to: engage Latinx/Hispanic bilingual communities in informal natural science education and to achieve a healthier community by getting people safely outdoors.
- FYRE - Foundation for Youth Resiliency and Engagement - Founded by Amitie Sandoval, Mady Sandoval, and Michelle Sandoval, PhD, all of whom grew up in Okanogan County, FYRE is "committed to centering the voices of today's and tomorrow's youth, using knowledge and critical thinking for the betterment of our community, and addressing equity and inclusion through deliberate representation and advocacy."
- Trailposse - a non-profit journalism and advocacy project seeking to change the perception of the outdoors to be more equitable and inclusive, so our country’s emerging non-white majority grows a meaningful stake in our planet and its environmental challenges.
- Black Girls Trekkin - inspiring and empowering black women to spend time outdoors, appreciate nature, and protect it.
- Girl Trek – the largest public health nonprofit for African-American women and girls in the United States, Girl Trek’s mission is to pioneer a health movement for African-American women and girls grounded in civil rights history and principles through walking campaigns, community leadership, and health advocacy.
- Outdoor Afro – A cutting edge network that celebrates and inspires Black connections and leadership in nature.
- Outside Voices Podcast - With episodes focused on farming, camping, surfing and more, the podcast provides important (and too often unheard) points of view from BIPOC contributors (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) and shares their stories and reflections in fascinating thought-provoking ways well worth your time.
- Color the Crag – Designed to build community, promote leadership from people of color (POC), provide a positive narrative of underrepresented communities in the outdoors through inclusive and educational climbing festivals and events.
- Climbers of Color - A Washington State non-profit that aims to promote diversity, equity and inclusion in the climbing and mountaineering community by creating leaders of color.
- Color Outside - helps women of color harness the power of the outdoors to create the JOY-filled, balanced lives they crave through coaching, workshops, & one-of-a-kind retreats.
- Diversify Outdoors - a coalition of social media influencers –bloggers, athletes, activists, and entrepreneurs – who share the goal of promoting diversity in outdoor spaces where people of color, LGBTQIA, and other diverse identities have historically been underrepresented.
- The Mountaineers -- based in Seattle, this outdoors-based adventure organization has a variety of programs and initiatives focused on ensuring the outdoors are and feel accessible to all.
- Latino Outdoors – a Latinx-led organization working to inspire, connect, and engage Latino communities in the outdoors and embrace cultura y familia as part of the outdoor narrative, ensuring our history, heritage, and leadership are valued and represented.
- Soul Fire Farm - "an Afro-Indigenous centered community farm committed to uprooting racism and seeding sovereignty in the food system."
As we so often do, we want to close by thanking you for loving this Valley...and encourage you to join us on this journey of understanding how loving this Valley requires us all to think deeply about how human issues like racism affect our ability to care for nature and each other.
Our conservation work takes place on land where the original Methow People (mətxʷu) and their descendants have lived since Time Immemorial.
Today, more than 9,432 descendants of 12 aboriginal tribes of Indians are enrolled in the Confederated Tribes of the Colville. The twelve tribes which compose the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation include: ščəlá̕ mxəxʷ (deep water) or Chelan; walw̕ áma (Wallowa people) or Chief Joseph Band of Nez Perce; sx̌ʷyʔiɬp (sharp pointed trees) or Colville; šnt̕ iyátkʷəxʷ (grass in the water) or Entiat; snʕáyckst (speckled fish) or Lakes; mətxʷu (blunt hills around a valley) or Methow; škwáxčənəxʷ (people living on the bank) or Moses-Columbia; nspilm (prairie) or Nespelem; uknaqin (seeing over the top) or Okanogan; palúšpam (people from Palouse) or Palus; sənpʕʷilx (grey mist as far as one can see) or San Poil, and šnp̓ əšqʷáw̓ səxʷ (people in between) or Wenatchi.
In 2021 we purchased 328 acres of ancestral lands along the Chewuch River and in 2022 returned that land to the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation on behalf of the Methow People. Read more HERE.