Committing to 

Pay an Annual Voluntary Honor Tax to the Wiyot people.

The Fellowship is located on their 

Ancestral lands

Information from 7th generation website – I open with this statement from – Michelle Vassel, Wiyot Tribal Administrator:  “Tribal governments provide essential service to their citizens. Other  governments tax property, land, and income in order to provide these services.  Tribal Governments cannot do this as their ancestral territory is occupied. We  cannot tax our own people because they are already paying local, state, and  federal taxes and tribal lands are held in trust by the federal government, or being  taxed by other governments. The Wiyot Tribe operates primarily on grant funding. That places Tribes in a position  of being subject to the whims of the federal government and nonprofit foundations which often dictate how funds  must be spent. For me, the Honor tax is a really important tool to develop economic  sovereignty because it allows us to choose how we spend funds with no strings  attached.” – Michelle Vassel, Wiyot Tribal Administrator 

 The website of Cooperation Humboldt states “An Honor Tax is a tangible way  of honoring the sovereignty of Native Nations. It is called a tax because it’s not a  gift or donation. The tax is voluntary… “the amount is decided by the individual or business or other organization… and is paid directly to the Wiyot Tribe.” 

Cooperation Humboldt has chosen to commit a voluntary Honor Tax of 1% of their  annual revenue.

 Others have suggested an amount relevant to the value of their home or  property, perhaps a portion of the value as assessed by the county or the amount of  their annual property tax, or even a portion of their rental payments. 

By consensus vote, our Fellowship congregation has committed to pay an Honor Tax to the Wiyot Tribe as one small way to honor our use of unceded Wiyot territory. 

HUUF began our Honor Tax contributions to the Wiyot Tribe in 2019 and will continue to give annually for the years to come.

As  individuals, please considering your own voluntary payments of an Honor tax. 

You can mail your payment to the address 

The Wiyot Tribe 

1000 Wiyot Dr. 

Loleta, CA. 95551


We will hear some say that an “Honor Tax is a tax, not a donation.” I suggest that  the value in this view is that we are encouraged to accept this honoring of native  peoples as an obligation. Similarly we honor our obligation to the Humboldt  Unitarian Universalist Fellowship with our pledge dollars. 

So we can say that an Honor Tax is both a tax and a tax-deductible contribution.  The following is from the Wiyot Tribe’s official acknowledgement of a donation:  

“RE:  Honor Tax  

On behalf of the Wiyot Tribe I would like to say Hu’ (thank you) for your  donation of $(amount) made (date). 

“The Wiyot Tribe is a federally recognized Indian Tribe, as such your Honor Tax  donation may be claimed as a tax deduction. This letter serves to acknowledge  your donation for that purpose.” 

The acknowledgment letter then quotes IRS code at length. Here I present the most  relevant sentences from IRS: 

“Congress authorized federally recognized Indian tribes and their political  subdivisions to be treated like states for certain specified purposes because tribal  governments, like state governments, serve the public within their jurisdictional boundaries, and  accordingly, should be permitted to devote their limited resources to that end… 

“As a result, of being an Indian tribe described in IRC Section 7871 a federally recognized tribe  and/or its political subdivision is determined by the IRS to be an organization to which  contributions may be tax deductible, as provided in IRC Section 170.” federally-recognized-tribes-considered-organizations-to-which-charitable-contributions-are-tax deductible