Historic Agreement to Restore Karuk Cultural Site

FROM LEFT: Patty Grantham, Forest Supervisor from the Klamath National Forest; Russell “Buster” Atterberry, Karuk Chairman; and Tyrone Kelly, Six Rivers NF Forest supervisor./Photo courtesy of The Karuk Tribe

Press Release, KARUK TRIBE

The Karuk Tribe and the U.S. Forest Service  recently announced the signing of an agreement that will ensure that one of the Karuk Tribe’s most sacred landscapes will be restored using traditional land management techniques perfected by the Tribe over countless generations.

The Katimiin Cultural Management Area (KCMA), near present day Somes Bar, Calif., is where the Tribe’s Pikyawish, or World Renewal, ceremonies are concluded each year. For years the Tribe has struggled to have the lands surrounding the ceremonial site managed in a manner consistent with cultural traditions. That struggle is now over.

According the Agreement, “…the Tribe and the Forest Service can move forward in a the management of Katimiin Cultural Management Area in a way that is consistent with both Karuk cultural environmental management practices and the Klamath National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan, which is administered by the Six Rivers National Forest.”

According to Karuk Chairmen Russell Attebery, “this Agreement will allow us to revitalize this sacred landscape through ceremonial burning and other practices. We hope this endeavor will lead to a more strategic approach to resource management based on Traditional Ecological Knowledge, principal, practice and belief on a larger scale.”

The Tribe and the USFS believe that traditional management on a large scale could help prevent catastrophic wildfires, as well as facilitate understanding and cooperation between distinct cultures, communities, and the natural environment.

According to Tyrone Kelley, Forest Supervisor, “This is the culmination of a lot of hard work and effort on behalf of both forests and the Karuk Tribe. We are pleased to be able to work alongside the Karuk people in this culturally important area of the forest. We are looking forward to restoring not only the lands, but strengthening our relationship with the Karuk Tribe. This MOU hopefully will serve as the flagship for other agreements between the USFS and the Tribe.”

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