Making Land Back Real: Using An Indigenous-led CLT for Regenerative Economic Development

David Cobb May 12, 2021

The Wiyot Tribe, Cooperation Humboldt, and Full Spectrum Capital are engaged in a collaborative process for restorative economic development in Wiyot ancestral territory. Our projects will culminate in community control of wealth and resources of this place, and begin re-Indigenizing this bioregion. We commit to assisting other communities to replicate this model.

All investments will flow though the Gouts Lakawoulh Hiwechk (GLH) Fund (Gouts Lakawoulh Hiwechk means ‘money that makes us well’ in Soulatluk, the Wiyot language). The Wiyot tribe, as land stewards, will have the ability to approve, modify or reject any proposed projects.

We are also creating an Indigenous-controlled community land trust that will be modeled after the East Bay Permanent Real Estate Cooperative and will act as developer of the individual projects. Whenever possible the CLT will directly own the land, and the buildings and improvements will be owned by new cooperative structures. The DCLT Board will be made up of four representatives designated by the Wiyot Tribal Council, one representative designated by the Cooperation Humboldt, one representative designated by Full Spectrum Capital Partners, and one representative designated by the Humboldt Area Foundation.

Cooperation Humboldt will provide ongoing technical assistance and support for the development of housing cooperatives, worker-owned cooperatives, and other Solidarity Economy entities to ensure that these projects are interconnected to create a vibrant and transformational economic ecosystem.

We have relationships with numerous local entities to help incubate and support this growing ecosystem including College of the Redwoods, our regional Small Business Development Center, North Coast Co-op, Arcata Economic Development Corporation, Humboldt Area Foundation, Pacific Builders, the City of Eureka, Humboldt County, The Ink People, Access Humboldt, Dell’Arte and others.


Michelle Vassel (Wiyot Tribal Administrator) and David Cobb (Cooperation Humboldt) are the principal community stewards. They have assembled a solid local “Financial Integrity Team.”

Alex Ozaki-McNeil (Investment Manager), Danny Kelly (Edge Caliber), Gregg Foster (RREDC), John Bartholomew (County Treasurer), Kate Lancaster (HSU Business Professor), Kathy Moxon (retired banker), Kit Mann (Kokatat), Len Mayer (Natural Decadence), Lonny Graffman (HSU Appropriate Technology/Engineering professor), Peter Pennekemp (former ED HAF, on Board of Credit Union), Ross Welch (AEDC).

Taj James and Ruben Hernandez (Full Spectrum Capital) are the principal financial stewards.


A 40-50 unit Low Income 40,000-70,000 square feet apartment building on publicly-owned property in Eureka pursuant to Implementation Program H-34. Partnering with Pacific Builders. Estimated total cost $15-20 million.

A 47 unit ecovillage on Eggert Road. Estimated total $8million. Details here.

A commercial building co-owned and operated by the Wiyot, Ink People and Access Humboldt as an Artist’s Hub, maker space, and studio in Eureka. Possible site 410 5th St Estimated total cost $3-5 million.

Student housing in Blue Lake co-owned and operated by the Wiyot and Dell Arte’ School.

There are several multi-unit homes available which could be easily converted into housing cooperatives.



Meta Themes

  • Impact Investing

  • Equity & Inclusion

  • Sustainable Development

  • Social Entrepreneurship


Regenerative Economic Development, Place-Based Healing, Solidarity Economics, Re-Indigenization

Purpose and Desired Outcome

We invite philanthropists, investors, and other interested parties to join us in transformational, place-based healing by accelerating the use of integrated capital (philanthropic and investment money) for large-scale social transformation in Northern California that provide market rate returns on projects that culminate in community ownership. These investments democratize the economy, advance racial equity, and finance climate justice projects. We also want to inspire other communities to replicate this process!


  • Allocators (Family Offices, HNW Individuals, Foundations)

  • Intermediaries (Financial Advisers, Investment Bankers)

  • Entrepreneurs

  • Artists & Culture-makers

  • Academia

  • Accelerators & Incubators


  • NameDavid Cobb
  • TitleExecutive Director
  • OrganizationCooperation Humboldt
  • StatusConfirmed
  • NameMichelle Vassel
  • TitleTribal Administrator
  • OrganizationWiyot Tribe
  • StatusConfirmed
  • NameRuben Hernadez
  • TitleFounding Partner
  • OrganizationFull Spectrum Capital
  • StatusConfirmed
  • NameTaj James
  • TitlePartner
  • OrganizationFull Spectrum Capital
  • StatusConfirmed
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