CHICO, Calif. - Chico State held a Native American welcome reception on campus today. The Mechoopda tribe was in attendance, and a special signing occurred between the two parties.
Chico State signed an agreement back in 2005 and again in 2011 with the Mechoopda Indian Tribe.
The signing reinforced the recognition that the ground in which Chico State sits, is located on the Mechoopda tribes ancestral land.
On Wednesday, they renewed their pact with another signing.
A representative from the Mechoopda Tribe said a blessing in their language to start the ceremony. The agreement is called a memorandum of understanding.
The Chairman for the Mechoopda Tribe, Dennis Ramierez said there were two signings in the past.
"We had two previous ones 2005 and 2011 and I think this one's a more stronger one than in the past," Ramierez said.
Ramirez, said the strength of this agreement has a lot to do with President Gayle Hutchinson coming to office in 2016.
"I think in the past they recognized it but really didn't, really didn't care, I hate to say that word, they did some drilling and stuff and we weren't allowed to monitor those, so now we're allowed to monitor and drilling or disturbance of the ground in case there's any artifacts or bones," Ramierez said.
Hutchinson said they're taking this agreement to a new level, and every five or six years a document should always be relooked at to keep up with the times.
"And this is just a renewal what's different about this MOU from other MOU's," Hutchinson said. "It's a renewal and we've taken it a step further with a greater commitment to work and collaborate with one another."
The agreement will help the two parties work together as the campus plans to expand.
"We've added an appendix that really shares procedures on how we're gonna work together when we either build a new building or when we have significant ground disturbance," Hutchinson said.
Rachel McBride, the Tribal Director at Chico State, said this appendix helps to make sure that the artifacts and ancestors are not disturbed and are taken care of in the right way.
The Mechoopda Tribe celebrated 26 years of federal recognition, rebuilding and growth this past May.