A Heart (K) Warming Reunion: Land reunites family across continents, centuries
When Susan Payne answered the FRLT phone recently, she had no idea how special that call was. A man with a Welsh accent said he was visiting Berkeley from London with his son. He and his family were very interested in visiting the Davis Ranch in Genesee Valley. He'd searched for the ranch online, and found out it now belonged to the Feather River Land Trust as part of its Heart K Ranch.
The man, named Martin Davies, had read on FRLT's website about Trina Cunningham, a young Maidu leader and FRLT's partner in stewardship on the Heart K, and he was eager to meet her. Could we put them in touch? Well, they did meet Trina, and it turned out to be a very special reunion indeed.
About 160 years ago, at the age of sixteen, this man's great, great uncle left his home and family in Wales for America. Eventually finding his way to California, John Davies married a Genesee Maidu woman, Mary Yatkin, and together they founded the Davis Ranch in Genesee Valley. From this union, grew a large family, of which Trina is the great, great granddaughter.
The two families met and Trina and her father Marvin Cunningham gave them a tour of the ranch, the house, and the family cemetery.
Trina's great, great grandfather John and Martin's great grandfather Edward were very close, and while they remained in touch by letters, it was a heartbreak to the two brothers that they never saw one another in person again after John left Wales. Generations later, a very special place and an unbroken Maidu relationship to land brought their great grandchildren together.
FRLT is working with Trina and others to protect and promote Maidu access to land. Learn more about how this partnership bringing contemporary and Maidu Traditional Ecological Knowledge together to restore and steward the Heart K Ranch and nourish Maidu culture.
Hike on June 7: Heart K from a Maidu Perspective