The NALC’s mission is to acquire, preserve, and protect our sacred lands.
Focusing on aboriginal territory of tribes in present-day Southern California, the Native American Land Conservancy protects and restores sacred sites and areas, provides educational programming for Native American youth and the general public, and conducts scientific studies on cultural, biological, and historical resources on sacred lands. The organization started in 1998 with leadership from an intertribal cultural group interested in protecting off-reservation sacred sites in the Southern California desert. Today, the NALC’s work is more important than ever as development continues in the Inland Empire, Coachella Valley, and Morongo Basin.
In 1769, more than 300,000 Indians lived in California. Today, an estimated 200,000 Native Americans continue to live in California, limited to reservations that represent less than 5% of lands that they used historically. Because Native Americans have been dispossessed of their lands since European and Mexican settlement, the vast majority of culturally- and historically-significant areas are no longer under tribal ownership or control. Present-day development further threatens these sacred sites and ecologically-significant areas. As many Native American communities cannot access or protect their own traditional cultural sites and sacred sites, groups like the NALC have formed to protect them.The Native American Land Conservancy focuses on these off-reservation sacred areas. The NALC allows for Native American communities access to sacred sites, and works proactively to protect these ancestral sites for future generations.