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Teacher’s Learning about Karuk Culture

June 28, 2007

One very special item that Jennifer Goodwin and Erin Hillman shared with teachers this week was the creation of regalia for a girl to dance in ceremonies this weekend. It took many hours of work over weeks to sew and decorate the skin skirts with fringes, shells, beads albalone, deertoes, and braided bear grass but it was beautiful and made a pleasant sound as it moved around. The design on the top was “friendship design.” The skirts were made by grant of $5,000 and worn by Frankie Snyder in her first ceremonial dance. 

 The Karuk Tribe of California Education Program Director, Jennifer Goodwin, arranged an exciting opportunity for teachers in the area schools learn more about the cultural background of the students in their classes. Not only were teachers from Happy Camp Elementary and High Schools but Jefferson Continutation school and Junction School from Somes Bar. It was a pleasure to have Tom Fox of the Northern California Writing Project and transferring soon to the the National Writing Project share current resources for teaching writing.

 A panel was assembled to answer all the questions that the teachers cared to ask about the Karuk culture, past and present. Jennifer and Erin shared the regalia project. Dan Goodwin, tonyu, Blanche, Bud Johnson,  of fisheries, Paula McCarthy, Clayton Tuttle, Ben Harrison and Phinuggtuuf took part in the panel. The brush dance was traditionally done at the home of a sick child for healing and although it is still done for healing, it is done on a regular basis for good health and prosperity to preserve the tradition. There isn’t alot of “pow wow” dancing here but war dancing was mentioned. Community is always open to watch and usually food for all. It’s a way of balancing, a way of living, they said. Because the Karuk never had a reservation each family had their own place that they lived from Bluff Creek to Seiad Valley. When the gold rush intruded into this place, the government wanted to ship them all out to Hoopa, not realizing there was differences between Hoopa Tribe, Yurok Tribe and Karuk Tribe who didn’t speak the same language at all.  The Yurok were “downriver “people and the Karuk “upriver people.” Paula McCarthy siad her mom was sent to Indian School in Riverside and Native Americans there were punished for speaking their native languages. The Karuk Tribe of California started with 10 or 12 acres donated to the Tribe in Orleans and has purchased and developed nearly 600 acress in Orleans, Witchepec, Happy Camp and Yreka since being recognized.  Verna shared how she learned basketweaving from Grace and Madeline Davis and they wanted her to “pass it on.” Kenneth Brink said, “Red devils, blue devils or dust devils”, the Putawan is a devil, but “not so scarry anymore.” The mascot of the Happy Camp Elementary School has been the Putawan for many years. So the teachers learned many new things from the panel on the Karuk culture and hopes are to share further in the future. 

 Besides delving into discussions on “What connections there are or could be between writing in school and writing in real life in Happy Camp,” there were opportunities to talk to tribal members about their culture and Tribal employees about how they use writing in their employment, working with language as Susan Gehr, writing grants like   or writing lessons to teach. reports, minutes, agenda’s and articles.  




New Events Calendar!

June 5, 2007

By Linda Martin

Judy Bushy has been busy putting together a new events calendar for Happy Camp News. The new calendar is interactive and you can add events that are important to you or any community groups you belong to. You can add your birthday or your anniversary, all types of public meetings, and special events. All new additions to the events calendar will be approved by the editor before they appear in the public access calendar.

Here’s the link: Happy Camp News Events Calendar.

Please do not add yard sales or business-related events. They can be advertised in Classified Ads. We’re getting a new program to make Classified Ads interactive and easier to access. Another announcement will be posted when that feature is ready.




Greyback is open for 2007

June 3, 2007

Page Mountain Snow Park on Grayback Road in Oregon.

By Judy Bushy

When you talk about “over the hill” in Happy Camp, it has nothing to do with anyone’s age! Ever since prospectors found gold here back in the good old days of the previous century, people have been mining north of Happy Camp in places like Indian Town, Waldo, O’Brien, and other little places that have disappeared. If the Oregon tax collector came to visit, they announced that they were citizens of California. If the California revenue man came by, they announced that they Oregon residents. Even before that the Karuk Tribe headed over the hill to trade with tribes in Illinois Valley. The Greyback Road has been the center of our double-minded residency ever since.

Driving over the hill is a fantastic route with rare Brewer Spruce and Port Orford Cedar trees. At the top of the hill is a side road off to the Tanner and Bollin Lakes. Bollin Lake was the site of a popular prospecting place that had a bowling alley in the tavern about the same time that Indian Town was prospering. Nowadays they are popular hiking, fishing and camping retreats for the backpacker.

The Page Mountain Snow Park, at the top of the mountain, is on the Oregon side and blocked to us in the winter, but that doesn’t deter enjoying the summer and fall pleasures of hiking and exploring there.

Over the Hill is a popular path to take whether you go to the Taylor Sausage spot for Saturday night music, stop by Dairy Queen or prefer the Chinese menu at the Golden Dragon Gate. It used to be that there was an outdoor drive-in theater but since the days of home video entertainment, that closed. There is a wild animal cat park that is well worth a visit.

Cave Junction has always been the gateway to the Oregon Caves National Monument. Well, since they will celebrate the hundred-year anniversary in the next couple of years, it has been a long time. Oh, for an expert to teach us spelunking. But barring that, Oregon Cave tours are fascinating.

The Selma Farmer’s Market, the Kirby Historical Museum, burl and wood carving shops, are all good reasons to get out to Oregon.

If you live in Happy Camp, there is no way to go anywhere else, unless you drive Highway 96. You can drive 75 miles to the east of Happy Camp and come to Yreka, and I-5 freeway. You can drive west on Highway 96 to Willow Creek. Once you get to Willow Creek another little drive, total of 120 miles, and you’ll be in Arcata on the way to Eureka and ocean beaches. Sometimes the Klamath River floods and we can’t get out to Yreka. Sometimes there are rock or mudslides down the mountain and we can’t get out to Willow Creek. All winter long another road, up over Greyback into Oregon that meets with Hwy 199, is closed by snow. But in the summer, that scenic route is one of the favorite routes and the only way out of Happy Camp if you don’t’ take Hwy 96.

The cabin at Page Mountain Snow Park

State of Jefferson Scenic Byway - Grayback Road




Public Hearing: Transportation Needs

June 1, 2007

The Siskiyou County Public Works Dept. is holding a Public Hearing next week to get input from Happy Camp residents about public transportation needs in our area. We all have a pretty good idea what those problems are, but the Siskiyou County Public Works Dept. needs to hear from the people who are affected.

If you can speak for yourself or on behalf of a friend, neighbor, family member, client, etc. please plan on attending.

The Public Hearing will be held on Monday, June 4th from 12:00 Noon to 2:00 PM at the Happy Camp Family Resource Center.









Klamath River Resort Inn
Klamath River Resort Inn






Indian Creek

Indian Creek, downstream from the Eddy.


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Happy Camp River Access Buck

A buck at the Happy Camp River Access.


Elk Creek Bridge

The Elk Creek Bridge.


Klamath River

Downriver, about four miles.