The Wiyot Tribe held sacred rituals on Duluwat Island for generations before it was seized by the state of California in 1860. Now, in a historic accord between the City of Eureka and the Wiyot people, the island has been returned to its original owners.
In 2014, the Wiyot tribe raised $100,000 to purchase a 1.5 acre plot on the island including the sacred site, Tuluwat. In 2018, the city returned another 40 acres, but it was not until this year that the island was returned in its entirety to the Wiyot people.
After a unanimous city council vote, Eureka mayor Susan Seaman signed a deed of trust with tribal chairman Ted Hernandez transferring ownership the remaining 200+ acres of the island on October 21, 2019. The decision sets an important precedent for tribal land rights and the importance of sacred sites. Hopefully, this restoration will empower other areas to re-allocate sacred sites to their rightful indigenous owners.