ABOUT THERESA HARLAN
The Rose Foundation announced Theresa Harlan, Founder and Executive Director of the Alliance for Felix Cove, as the winner of our 2022 Anthony Grassroots Prize.
For many generations Coast Miwok, Tomalko people lived on Tamal-liwa (Tomales Bay). But like so many narratives of Indigenous peoples in California and beyond, this essential part of Point Reyes and Tomales Bay culture and history has been virtually erased, and overwritten with narratives of Spanish missions and Euro-American dairy ranching. Today’s 1,300 Coast Miwok represent a 10,000-year tradition of resilient land stewardship, yet it is the 150-year history of settler cattle ranching that is recognized and celebrated at the Seashore.
In 2021, Theresa launched the Alliance for Felix Cove to restore and represent the history, culture, and ecological wisdom of the Coast Miwok at their ancestral homeland in Point Reyes National Seashore. The organization takes its name from the ancestral homesite of the last Tomalko family to live on the western shores of Tomales Bay. Theresa’s immediate goal is to establish the cove as a historical district at Point Reyes, with a living history center and garden for Indigenous history and traditional ecological knowledge. But she sees her work as part of a much broader movement. “All across the Americas, Native peoples are leading the shift toward re-affirming ancestral relationships with public lands and honoring the sacred.” Theresa explains.
Theresa hopes her work at Point Reyes will inspire other Native Peoples to do the same at public lands in California and across the country. “The land is calling us, and I’m trying to bring Native people, relatives, children, and grandchildren back to this place to heal,” Theresa explains. “I am truly honored to be selected for this award dedicated to protecting and restoring our earth, our mother and all our relatives in nature. To be in the company of past recipients fortifies our work to honor our beloved ancestors and heal the separation from our family’s home. We do this work so that future generations will know the resilient legacy of past generations and continue the Indigenous cultural and ecological practices of Tamalko people, people of Tamal-liwa (Tomales Bay).”
Learn more about the Alliance for Felix Cove and the Coast Miwok people at alliance4felixcove.org
PHOTOS OF THERESA AT WORK