For millennia, California Indians, as this group prefers to be called, have gathered abalone and seaweed, taking only what they need. Today, their traditions are being disrupted by smugglers and colonial regulations.

“It’s a way to connect to the past and honor … reaffirm that our culture never went away.” —Aryana Henthorne, Sherwood Valley Pomo Tribe

Kahlil Hudson
2022 / 11 Min

Along California’s windswept coast, in the rocky crags and tide pools, California Indians have subsisted for millennia on fish, abalone and seaweed, never taking more than can be naturally replaced. The effects of the climate crisis, combined with underground smuggling operations that supply some of the world’s most luxurious restaurants have decimated their traditional food sources. Today, they continue their subsistence gathering despite regulations—and keep their cultural practices alive.

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