Karuk Storytellers Bypass Bookshelf

Ben Saxon, back to camera, polls students for their reactions after a lesson in oral tradition and storytelling at Junction School in Orleans./Photo by Malcolm Terence, Two Rivers Tribune Contributor.For generations children were taken from Native families in the U.S. and sent to Indian boarding schools where they were instructed in the English language white culture at the expense of their own language and culture. The Karuk Tribe is using a handful of federal grants to move in the other direction with the present generation of young people. The new program was put into action when a group of story tellers came to river schools. Besides the stories, the group shared xuun sára, acorn bread or crackers, and champínishich, yerba buena tea. Jesse Goodwin, one of the students, nodded appreciatively at the snacks and said he’d never had either before. His classmates agreed. Read More →

Somes Bar 8th Grader Reports on Standing Rock

A crowd of water protectors form a prayer circle as part of an action at Standing Rock. Their campaign to stop the construction of a pipeline that could threaten Sioux tribal water supplies has drawn thousands of supporters to North Dakota and members from at least 300 tribes. Their tactics, all non-violent, have been met with increasing violence by heavily militarized police./Photo by Aja Conrad. Editor’s note: Emma Boykin is 13 years old, an eighth-grader at Junction School in Somes Bar and a member of the Karuk Tribe. I heard about the protests to stop pipeline construction at Standing Rock for a while, and I was very interested in the actions by Natives and other people from all over the country. My brother Brent Boykin and two cousins had been there and returned full of stories. We got to the Oceti Sakowin camp in the middle of the night. In the morning I went up to the main camp where we joined a water ceremony. We went to the Klamath Basin Camp because we brought a lot of food to donate. The cook told us we were welcome. We moved our tent over to the Klamath Basin camp and began helping in the kitchen. We knew a few people, but everyone was very welcoming so you got to know everyone quickly. We helped organize the food and helped prep food for upcoming meals. No one argued the whole time we were there. Read More →

Karuk Tribe Holds Its Own Climate Study Session

Acorn soup was a staple and still looms large in discussions of tribal cultural survival and of food security. When EcoAdapt, a consulting firm, convened a meeting of “stakeholders” in early spring to discuss climate change vulnerability, they dropped tanoak trees from a list of key species. The Karuk Tribe called its own climate assessment meeting this month to present its issues to agencies and to remind them that agencies had a special responsibility to consult with tribes./Photo courtesy of Malcolm Terence.  EcoAdapt, a non-profit outfit, was writing a risk assessment about climate change for the federal land management agencies that control much of Northern California. They invited stakeholders to workshops in the spring. Tribes were invited, but they have long said that they are legally entitled to government-to-government consultation, a level of process that should operate differently than the stakeholder interactions with other groups such as environmental groups, irrigators, and other interested locals. Read More →

Slack Management of Wilderness Grazing gets Scrutiny from Tribes and Environmentalists

Tonya Lindsey, an environmental assistant from the Quartz Valley Indian Reservation, takes water samples from lower Shackleford Creek as part of the Tribe’s ongoing study of the effects of cattle grazing allotments in the headwaters. A sweat lodge shell is in the background. /Photo courtesy of Quartz Valley Indian Reservation.There was a question of what might be the source, possibly recreational hikers in the wilderness, but the University of Montana conducted a statistical analysis with the first seven years of the Quartz Valley Tribe’s survey to determine where the highest concentrations might be coming from. It is available online at http://goo.gl/3ZzZpv. Read More →

Tribe Starts Endowment As Alternative To Grant Funding

Restoration of the fire management regimes used by the tribes in the region is one of the goals of an endowment fund recently started by the Karuk Tribe’s Department of Natural Resources. The fund has already raised $11,425 from 86 contributors, mostly local. Details are available at https://www.gofundme.com/bdjn9ezq. Silk painting by Susan Terence.The Karuk Tribe may not have flocks of rich alumni, but this month its fundraising crossed the threshold to begin its own endowment. Bill Tripp announced that the Karuk Endowment for Eco-Cultural Revitalization had raised $11,555 in four months, not billions, but enough to invest in a portfolio managed by Humboldt Area Foundation (HAF). Read More →

Food Security Draws Big Crowd and Money

Perri McDaniel shared an Upper Basin proverb from her Klamath Tribe elders in a crowded meeting in Orleans last week. “You’re born with two ears and one mouth,” she said, “so you should listen twice as much as you speak.” Read More →

Karuk Winter Youth Camp: Artisans and Oral Tradition…Say What?

Despite the roads, Rosie, 8, and Susanna, 11, Quim came from Yreka because their Grandma Blanche Moore brought them. Asked what they’d like to learn about during the camp, they both started talking animatedly: “We wanna learn Karuk stories!” “Yep!” Read More →

Karuk Food Workshops and Youth Groups

Ten different agencies, among which are the Yurok, Karuk, and Klamath Basin Tribes, as well as UC Berkeley and the Mid-Klamath Watershed Council, have joined forces to combat what is deemed by the USDA as our “food insecurity,” that is, the shortage of physical and economical access to nutritional foods at all times. Read More →