A sample of the interview of Shelly Covert with Ruth Chase, recorded by Radu Sava.

After meeting Shelly I decided to create the BELONGING project; about how people find a sense of belonging through the land. Their answers sit in a strange dichotomy as Tribal members feel a varying “personal” sense of belonging having lived here in their ancient tribal homelands never having been removed. Individuals have family, friends and community connections that help them to BELONG. But, when asked if the Tribe as a whole feels a sense of belonging, the answer was quite different; and how could it be any-other-way after their people were nearly annihilated during the Gold Rush.  The Tribe itself is invisible. The Tribe is “terminated”. The Tribe has no local value that can be seen by the community. This is in contrast to many of their personal feelings of home, community and belonging. The Nisenan are a vital link to our own sense of belonging to the land, like the roots of our community tree; the relationship they have held with the land can teach us how to connect with it ourselves.

To learn more about the Nisenan and Shelly Covert click here.

About the Author Ruth Chase

My work documents the human spirit and the powerful insights that allow people to find a sense of belonging within their community. The public plays a vital role in the outcome of my work, taking a journey with me that can last up to two years. I produce multi-media installations that include paintings, audio, social media, slideshows, video, and social engagement. Self-aware subjects with strong belief systems fascinate me and draw me in.