Join Shelly Covert from the California Heritage Indigenous Research Project (CHIRP) live online in her welcoming address as she inspires our county to look towards our own local history and talk about the work of CHIRP and the Nisenan tribe.
is the Spokesperson for the Nevada City Rancheria Nisenan Tribe. She sits on
the Tribal Council and is community outreach liaison. She is also the Executive
Director of the Tribally guided, non-profit, CHIRP (the California Heritage:
Indigenous Research Project), whose mission is to preserve, protect and
perpetuate Nisenan Culture. Nevada City Rancheria Nisenan Tribal members
are direct, lineal descendants of the original indigenous people who were
here thousands of years before the gold rush. Most of Shelly's work is
focused within the Bear and Yuba river watersheds which are the Ancestral
homelands of her Tribe. Recently, with the efforts to restore federal
recognition to the Nevada City Rancheria, her work has taken on a wider scope
that includes social, environmental, and racial justice topics that impact the
Tribal community and their wellbeing. Undoing the erasure of Nisenan history
has been at the forefront of Tribal efforts and a focus for CHIRP. Raising the
visibility of the Nisenan through community outreach, public events, and
education has been of great importance as the Tribe struggles with the
reintroduction of its culture and identity in 2020. As Tribal liaison, Shelly
works closely with the Elders, Tribal Council, and Tribal members, to identify
the areas of greatest need, and then guides CHIRP as Executive Director, to
develop and implement projects that have found funding.
"There is an intimate and symbiotic relationship that's organically formed between CHIRP and the Tribe that I never could have expected; each reflects the other. Every day is a learning experience and I challenge myself continuously to keep up my personal growth and to stretch my capacity. This culture is in critical danger and it's such a beautiful thing and worthy of saving. That's why it's become my life's work. I struggle. I am proud. I fail. But I'll never give up the fight until we get our recognition back and CHIRP has a steady, multimillion-dollar budget to support the long list of projects whose implementation will be for the betterment of us all."