Land Conservancy


Native American Land Conservancy illustration


Native American Land Conservancy

Geographic Location:


(Southern California)

Size of territory:

NALC serve an intertribal area greater than 40,000 square miles

(over 100,000 sq km)

Number of communities:

Traditionally over ten nations, today over thirty reservations

(Cahuilla, Southern Paiute, Mojave, Chemehuevi, Lummi)


200,000 (California)


Cahuilla (Ivilyuat), Chemehuevi (Nuwu), Kumeyaay ('Iipay and Tiipay), Kwtsaan, Luiseño (Chamteela), Mojave

(English is the lingua franca and there are a large number of Spanish speakers)

Native American
Land Conservancy

The Native American Land Conservancy (NALC) is a US nonprofit organization that purchases and owns land collectively, as a land trust, governed by local Native American leaders who have a historical, cultural, and spiritual connection to their ancestral lands and are seen as the legal/practical “owners” and stewards of their lands. Most of the Native leaders on the NALC board are members of local federally-recognized tribes who have reservations that are held in trust by the federal government for the Tribal Nations. Most NALC members are members of local tribes and live on their reservations. Some live in other adjacent areas outside the reservation lands.

The NALC protects the vital ecosystems of the Mojave and Sonoran Deserts of the American Southwest and Southern California regions through its Old Woman Mountains Preserve and other protected sites. It also works with Native lands connected to the Colorado Plateau to the East and the Chaparral and Coastal Scrub to the West. The NALC combines Traditional Environmental Knowledge of the local Tribes with the Western scientific paradigm to protect and restore fragile desert ecosystems, Native communities, Native plants, endangered animals, and critical water resources. The NALC strongly advocates for the protection of water in the Mojave Desert and has successfully protected many endangered and sacred springs.

NALC lands are protected as cultural-ecological sites, so no one lives there except maybe a part-time caretaker. The NALC directly “owns” and manages 2,600 acres of tribal territory, including many sacred places. They also work on thousands of other acres through partnership, co-management, and their reservation lands.

Film: Tuhaymani’chi Pal Waniqa (The Water Flows Always)

In the first of a series of global films highlighting Indigenous Peoples from the Wayfinders Circle initiative, water and culture bring together a father and daughter as they fight to protect their Indigenous homelands in Southern California…

Father and daughter Sean and Gina Milanovich walk in the Mojave Desert
Film Directors of Tuhaymanichi Pal Waniqa in the Mojave Desert California

Podcast: Tuhaymani’chi Pal Waniqa (The Water Flows Always) in the Mojave Desert.

For this episode of Seedcast, let’s meet in the Mojave Desert in a spot where we can gaze upon Mamápukaiv, also known as the Old Woman Mountains. We’re surrounded by boulders, mesquite, deer, bighorn sheep, and even eagles. The air smells of creosote, and when it rains, you can smell tar. Water is an extremely precious resource here, and the survival of every living thing – humans, animals, and plants – depends on it.

Images provided and used under permission by the Native American Land Conservancy. Copyright belongs to its rightful owners.