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An Ancient Tribal Group



The Mission of the ETMC is to preserve and to protect our cultural heritage and ancestral sacred sites, namely of the Esselen, Rumsen, Chalone, Sureño, Chunchunes and Guatcharrone people, which includes but is not limited to the villages of Achasta, Chalon, Echilat, Ensen, Excelen, Esslenajan, Ixchenta, Jojopan, Kuchun, Pachepas, Sargenta-Ruc, Soccoronda, & Tucutnut, located within sacred pre-historic and historic tribal lands of Monterey County, California.

The Esselen Tribe of Monterey County organization was founded with the goal of continuing cultural traditions and preserving the cultural heritage of the historic tribes that are located within the Monterey County, along with protecting and preserving the recognized and unrecognized sacred lands and archeological sites.

Saleki Asatsano, 

It is with great honor that the Esselen Tribe of Monterey County has been called by the Ancestors to become stewards to a piece of our ancestral lands once again. On Friday July 24th, 2020 the Tribe became the official stewards of a piece of our ancestral homeland.

This sacred property gives us the chance to tell our story to demonstrate our resilience. The opportunity to be able to recreate and rebirth, to put forth our efforts in the preservation and continuation of cultural traditions and have a place to have our cultural identity restored. The property offers the opportunity for tribal members and other Native Americans to engage in ceremonies and carry on our cultural practices.

We have been working closely with Western Rivers Conservancy, Big Sur Land Trust and other community partners to conserve the property, which is located in the northern area of the Big Sur Coast along the Little Sur River and links the protected lands on the coast to the Santa Lucia mountain range. This connectivity is critical for wildlife, including the endangered California condor which needs healthy, intact habitat across large expanses of the Big Sur coast.

The project, called the Esselen Tribal Lands Conservation Project, is one of 21 projects picked to receive Proposition 68 funding throughout the State of California. Prop 68 was created to help protect and enhance natural, cultural, historic, park and community resources.

Words cannot begin to describe the importance of these ancestral lands to our People. It is with great honor that we become stewards of these sacred indigenous lands once again.  This land will allow us to protect our traditions and preserve the cultural heritage of the historic tribes of this region.  

This would not have been possible without the incredible partnership we have forged with the Western Rivers Conservancy.  We are perfectly aligned in our values and our shared vision to not only preserve and protect our ancestral lands but to conserve the property and the critical habitat and species along the Little Sur River. 

We look forward to coming together and gathering as a tribe on the sacred land of our ancestors.

Esselen Tribe of Monterey County, Tribal Council

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