The earth and its peoples are facing multiple threats. Indigenous people always suffer the worst during these times. The Yurok people are threatened from without by the effects of climate change, diversions of their waters, collapse of the Salmon population, unaffordable energy, land takings and misuse. They are threatened from within by drugs, alcohol, cultural disintegration.
The Yurok people once lived within a network of sustainable self-sufficient villages. Our village will find solutions to today's problems and their effects and serve as an example for others to follow through becoming self-sufficient and sustainable, cultural preservation and renewal, community building, ecological stewardship and individual renewal and healing.
Blue Creek - Ah Pah Traditional Yurok Village will provide:
Economic Self-Sufficiency, Sustainability and Livelihoods through:
- Healthy organic food production.
- Hosting conferences and youth camps.
- Providing counseling, respite and work for rehabilitation clients.
- Self-sufficiency training and consulting.
- Creation and sale of educational products.
Energy Self-Sufficiency and Sustainability through:
- Solar, hydro and wind energy development.
- Solar hot water systems.
- Gray water systems.
- Building green structures.
Cultural Preservation and Renewal through:
- Building a traditional village, sweat house and dance pit.
- Teaching traditional skills and practices including:
- Dugout redwood canoes.
- Traditional drum making.
- Regalia making.
- Salmon fishing, preparation, smoking and cooking.
- Traditional plank house construction.
- Fishing net making.
- Gathering of traditional plants and herbs.
- Traditional basket weaving.
Community Building through:
- Providing a gathering place at mid-river - the center of Yurok Territory.
- Facilitating ways to recreate sustainable Indigenous cultures
- Hosting a Brush Dance and other dances throughout the year.
- Encouraging the building of a network of sustainable self-sufficient villages all along the Klamath River.
- Providing a clean and sober environment - refocusing Yurok lives on traditional culture, responsibility and stewardship.
- Facilitating ways Indigenous people can reconnect to the land
- Bringing people home to reconnect with their ancestors & community
- Reawakening traditional Yurok community, society and governance
- Facilitating ways Indigenous people can exercise true tribal sovereignty
- Promoting ecological and cultural awareness locally and globally
Ecological Stewardship through:
- Protecting and restoring salmon and eel habitat.
- Restoring the land to provide the habitat for indigenous plants and animals.
- Taking positive steps towards adapting to changing climate.
- Restoring the klamath river flows and conditions and protecting them in the future.
Individual Renewal and Healing:
- Provide a drug and alcohol free environment.
- Environment conducive to personal growth, creativity and healing.
Create and Nurture Livelihood Opportunities:
- Through a unique blending of traditional and modern knowledge, practice, and technology, the village will be totally self-sustaining. The products, processes and expertise developed to accomplish this end will provide livelihood opportunities as we export what we have learned here to others.
- Blue Creek - Ah Pah will also help sustain the livelihoods of Yurok craftspeople and artisans, fishing and river guides, demonstration dancers, teachers, speakers and storytellers.
Since our beginnings in the Spring of 2007 we have:
- Cleared the 4 acre village site of invasive shrubs and trees.
- Developed a website and associated promotional material.
- Excavated the area and improved the roads.
- Built a 200 sq. ft. tool and equipment shed with shower.
- Prepared a large garden area.
- Repaired and rebuilt a CAT bulldozer for onsite use.
- Planted indigenous grass.
- Excavated the Brush Dance Pit.
Project funding has been provided by the Humboldt Area Foundation, Native Cultures Fund, the Alliance for California Traditional Arts and Northern California Indian Development Council.
Donations from United Rentals, Myrtlewood Lumber, Grizzly Mountain Ranch, Green Diamond Resource Company and Indigenous Works.
Well over $100,000 of in-kind donation.
Several dozen volunteers working in various capacities including heavy equipment operators, university professors, educators, traditional craftspeople, carpenters, mechanics, computer professionals, cartographers, traditional fishermen, photographers, videographers, timber fallers, Yurok youth and arborists.
The goals of this project will be to see the completion of:
- Traditional redwood plank houses and sweat house
- Brush Dance pit
- Rehabilitation facilities and staff
- Community supported organic farm
- Visitor and camping areas
- Educational facilities
- Fish camp and boat dock on the river bar
- Seeding with indigenous grasses, flowers, sorrel and other vegetation (3.5 acres)
- Redwood canoes on the river
- Ecologically sustainable and self-sufficient Yurok village
During the Winter and Spring of 2009 we intend to build the Traditional Brush Dance Pit followed by a sweat house and redwood plank houses.
Learn more about donating to the project and volunteer opportunities