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Esselen Tribe of Monterey County

Esalen Institute has been dedicated to healing and reconciliation work with the Esselen Tribe since 2019.

About the Esselen Tribe

The land the Esalen Institute campus resides on was a place of healing and renewal for the Esselen Tribe long before the Institute’s founding in 1962. Reportedly, for more than 6000 years, the Esselen Tribe has continuously inhabited this land as well as territory stretching from the Santa Lucia Mountains to the Big Sur coast, and from Carmel Mission South, 40 miles to Pacific Valley. The tribe would send people to these lands to heal. It was like sending someone to the hospital. The people would go through ceremony and cleanse themselves in the hot springs waters. Those who were healed would leave, and those who could not heal were buried on the land. This is still the place they call home.

Photo courtesy of the Esselen Tribe of Monterey County.

The Esselen Tribe of Monterey County is first and foremost a Tribal Group working toward continuing cultural traditions and preserving the cultural heritage of the historic tribes that are located within Monterey County. The ETMC is also registered as a nonprofit organization, founded with preservation of cultural traditions and heritage as a main goal, as well as protecting and preserving the recognized and unrecognized sacred lands and archeological sites.

For further educational materials, please refer to the ETMC website and these resources.

bigsurcalifornia.org: Esselen Indians of Big Sur and Monterey County

Monterey County Historical Society: A Brief Overview of the Esselen Indians of Monterey County

Legends of America: Esselen Tribe of California

Photos

On November 13, 2022 Esalen Institute invited the Esselen Tribe to a land acknowledgement ceremony and to share in the planting of sage between the Murphy and Price homes.

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Land Acknowledgment

As co-stewards of this sacred land in Big Sur, California, and with gratitude and humility, Esalen acknowledges in an act of respect that the Esselen Tribe are the Indigenous and traditional stewards of the land and coastal waters that the Esalen Institute resides upon.

We honor and respect the ancestors of the Esselen Tribe, the elders who lived here before, the Indigenous today, and the generations to come, as we continue to cultivate and nourish an equitable space for all.

The Esalen Institute has been dedicated to healing and reconciliation work with the Esselen Tribe of Monterey County since 2019.

To learn more about the Esselen Tribe of Monterey County, please visit their website.

For further educational materials about the history of the land, its residents — human and non-human, and Esselen culture, please refer to these resources.

Esselen Tribe of Monterey County: ABOUT US

bigsurcalifornia.org: Esselen Indians of Big Sur and Monterey County

Monterey County Historical Society: A Brief Overview of the Esselen Indians of Monterey County

Legends of America: Esselen Tribe of California