On behalf of the California Heritage: Indigenous Research Project (CHIRP), ‘Uba Seo: Nisenan Arts and Culture, and MEC Builds Inc., the community is invited to join Nevada City Rancheria Nisenan Tribal members and artists of the mural on Sunday afternoon, May 22nd, 2022, from 3pm – 6pm, in the mural parking lot at 309 Neal Street in downtown Grass Valley, California.

Photo of Nisenan Mural by CHIRP
Photo of Nisenan Mural by CHIRP

The gathering will celebrate with food and beverages provided by the new El Barrio Mexican Market, music by local artists, and talks by Tribal Spokesperson Shelly Covert and and Tribal member Jennifer Plunkett, muralist Nikila Badua, youth assistant Naomi Alani, and mural curator Haven Caravelli.

Pictured from left to right Mural Curator Haven Caravelli Mural Artist Nikila Badua.
Pictured from left to right Mural Curator Haven Caravelli Mural Artist Nikila Badua. Photo Taken by Naomi Alani

Learn more about the story behind the mural and local Indigenous history, as well as the upcoming installation of the downtown Grass Valley mural walk tour. Along with the mural, we will celebrate the Tribe’s recent addition to the California State Native American Heritage Commission list, an important acknowledgment for the Nisenan, and a big step forward within their ongoing fight for restoration of Federal Recognition.

The community is also invited to visit the new ‘Uba Seo: Nisenan Arts and Culture Center and Gallery in downtown Nevada City, and experience the center’s current Nisenan art exhibition “ERASED: a Timeline and History of Legislative and Legal Erasure”. More info below. Gallery Hours: Thursday 1-6pm, Friday – Saturday 12-5pm

Statement from Shelly Covert on Mural:

Pictured from left to right Tribal Vice Chairperson Ginger Covert Tribal Spokesperson Shelly Covert.
Pictured from left to right Tribal Vice Chairperson Ginger Covert Tribal Spokesperson Shelly Covert. Photo Taken by Nikila Badua

Shelly Covert, Tribal Council Spokesperson for the Nevada City Rancheria Nisenan and Executive Director of CHIRP comments on the mural, “This gorgeous mural stands witness to our long and rich history here. Everyone who drives by, no matter what time day or night, can experience a bit of Nisenan Culture in downtown Grass Valley. The mural is an ally that can stand 24hrs a day, 7 days a week, rain or shine. It is directly confronting and undoing the Erasure of our people. Working with Nikila who is such an incredible artist on so many levels and disciplines, was a huge gift to us. I see her go into many communities to support them, and now we have a piece of her here supporting us. I think the community was ready for this. I have heard it said that this is the most beautiful mural folks have ever seen – and that makes me really proud. Also, that my little cousin is featured and representing our Tribe also makes me feel an overwhelming sense of belonging.”

‘Uba Seo: Nisenan Arts & Culture

‘UBA SEO: Nisenan Arts and Culture is a new gallery space in downtown Nevada City. The gallery project falls under CHIRP’s Art’s and Culture Program and is yet another way to bring visibility to the Nevada City Rancheria Nisenan Tribe while fulfilling CHIRP’s mission: to preserve, protect, and perpetuate Nisenan Culture. ‘Uba Seo is another step toward raising the visibility of the Nevada City Rancheria and the continued fight to have Federal Recognition restored. Since opening its doors in the Spring of 2021, ‘Uba Seo has created rich opportunities for visibility, advocacy, healing, and community education. The ‘Uba Seo Gallery creates an unprecedented social space curated through Nisenan perspectives and voices.

The current semi-permanent exhibit at ‘Uba Seo is ERASED: a Timeline and History of Legislative and Legal Erasure. This exhibit is much more informative and content-driven than previous exhibits the gallery produced in 2021. ERASED constitutes the first time that local history has been publicly reviewed and discussed from a Nisenan perspective in Nevada City. It is an extraordinary example of how self-determined storytelling and curation can provide meaningful opportunities for local awareness and structural change.

The Gallery is also currently screening a short film by Shelly Covert and Heidi Quante aptly called, ‘Uba Seo. About the film: Alluring visuals envelop the viewer while a haunting soundtrack sings the story of The Great Destruction, aka the gold rush. The single, “momim ni” was composed and performed by Shelly Covert and is sung in the Nisenan language.


The Nisenan are the Indigenous People who were here thousands of years before the gold rush. Despite the destruction of their homelands, broken Treaties, and forced assimilation, they remain here in their homelands today and strive to have their identity reflected in the fabric of the community. Federal Recognition: Woodrow Wilson signed an Executive Order in 1913 that gave Federal Recognition to the Nisenan and the Nevada City Rancheria preserved 76 acres of land in trust as an Indian Reservation. In 1964 the Nevada City Rancheria was one of forty-four California Rancherias wrongfully “terminated” by Congress and today is one of three California Rancherias awaiting restoration. True and correct knowledge of the Nisenan and their ancient existence on this land, up until very recently, had been fully erased from history and the Tribe was nearly forgotten. The need for visibility as the Tribe fights to have their Federal Recognition and sovereignty restored has begun to turn the tide of historic amnesia. Creation of the non-profit organization: Up until very recently, most of that education and change has had to be shouldered by the Tribe itself. Thus, the California Heritage: Indigenous Research Project, aka CHIRP, was created to assist the Tribe in areas of Federal Recognition, Education, Art, Cultural Resource Protection, Land Back, Community Education and Communications, Media, Fundraising, and more. CHIRP’s mission serves the needs of the Nevada City Rancheria Nisenan Tribe, guides and informs right-relations with Indigenous communities, stabilizes Nisenan Culture and community, all while bringing education and connection to the public through its charitable purposes. CHIRP’s 501c3 status brings opportunities that as a terminated Tribe, the Nevada City Rancheria does not have.

WHEN: Sunday, May 22nd, 2022 | 3pm – 6pm | Free

WHERE: Mural Parking Lot: 309 Neal St., Grass Valley, CA 95945

WHO: SPEAKERS: Nisenan Tribal Spokesperson & Exec Director of CHIRP – Shelly Covert | Muralist – Nikila Badua | Mural Focus – Jennifer Plunkett | Mural Curator – Haven Caravelli | Youth Mural Assistant – Naomi Alani Laxamana-Hubbell
FOOD & BEVERAGES: El Barrio Mexican Market