Photo of Lake County, California via Wikipedia.

Photo of Lake County, California via Wikipedia.

This article was originally published at Lake County News.

Growth, both personal and as a people, simply doesn’t happen in a vacuum.

While we draw great strength from our tribal history and internal cohesion, our outside partnerships with the surrounding community have been essential for the people of the Habematolel Pomo of Upper Lake to live up to our full potential.

It is the links that we have forged with our neighbors and the surrounding region that provide us with a complete, sturdy foundation from which to grow and continue to improve on all fronts.

The benefits of our location have not been lost on the tribe. The natural landscape of Northern California provides a constant source of inspiration and reinforces on a daily basis our connection to the land from which we came.

It is on this land that we have been able to develop our tribe and engender growth in a multitude of ways. We understand that with the fruits of this development comes a responsibility to share with our neighbors not only tangible things, but amiability and appreciation.

Our tribe has continually fostered a warm, caring relationship with our neighbors in Lake County. In perpetuating this relationship, we have been able to show our gratitude through assistance to local organizations and municipal institutions.

Without the support that these establishments provide to our neighbors and the area as a whole, this region would not be the place it is today. We believe part of being good citizens means stepping up and doing our part to keep the county a great place to live and work.

Contributions from the tribe have also gone directly to Lake County, which helped the county office produce public relations material to help share its message of natural beauty and goodwill out to the world at large.

Another gift, to the Lake County Sheriff’s Office, bolsters the Child Safety Identification Program. The safety of the children of the community, inside our tribe and out, is always a priority. It fit in perfectly with our neighborly mission to partner with law enforcement so that they can continue to provide the best security possible.

On that same course, we have also gladly supported our local fire department by helping them bring jobs in-house that had previously been outsourced.

When locals can take an active part in providing local services, we’re all participating in making our region a better one. It means a great deal to be able to help bring jobs to those neighbors who have helped us so much.

When improvements are made in the lives of young people, the future potential of the whole region is placed in better hands. The children of our area make up the providers of tomorrow, the people who will guide this land we love so much into the next century and beyond. We would be dreadfully remiss if we didn’t have them in mind when we reach out to help the area around us.

Our youth education initiatives have also been an opportunity to work with our local schools, the places our children learn the citizenship skills to become members of their outside community along with our own.

Outside of sending our children to these local schools to join their peers, the tribe offers educational programming to bolster those crucial early lessons. Our Early Childhood Development program has been a great help to parents looking to get their children prepared for school with foundational lessons.

Many young people in the area have attended our after school tutoring program to help with their skills. We strongly believe in education as a bridge between our people and those with whom we share this bountiful land, and our engagement with local education is a point of pride for us all.

Recreation is an important part of a well-rounded upbringing as well. The tribe’s contribution to the Lights of Love charitable fund allowed for a state-of-the-art lighting system to be installed on Upper Lake High School’s sports fields, meaning that students would now be able to play and practice at night during the hot summer months when daytime heat makes exercise under the sun unfeasible and unsafe.

Our children play alongside those of our neighbors on these very fields, sharing in the character development that comes with youth sports.

It’s also important to us that we do not keep our cultural traditions cloistered away, but share them with the community.

We often host our fellow county residents for events and get togethers on our tribal land, opening up our doors for our friends and neighbors.

We enjoy sharing many of the aspects of our culture that we continue today at these gatherings, including traditional song and dance.

To create a new kind of gathering where all can take part gives us the joy of paying tribute to our past, while bringing about a new kind of future.

Protecting the environment is the best way we can protect this future, and our Environmental Department has helped with various projects and events that ensure our land will stay beautiful for years to come.

A tribal presence at environmental cleaning projects, festivals, and other outings both solidifies our local friendships and promotes the idea that we can all achieve more by working together.

We at the tribe are continually inspired by the generosity and kindness of the citizens of Lake County and the entire Upper Lake region. We truly feel lucky to have a presence among the great people that make up this community.

The relationships and bonds that we have forged over the years are, we feel, the best way that we can demonstrate our gratitude.

By partnering with our neighbors, we make our lives a little better, and hopefully make the whole area a welcoming place that we can all be proud to call home.