Art & Culture at the People’s Center and Museum

In Collaboration with The Clark Museum in Eureka, CA, The Karuk Tribe opens
Pi’êep Káru Payêem – Long ago and Today Exhibition
The Karuk Tribal Historic Preservation Office announced today that the Karuk People’s Center and Museum in Happy Camp, CA will display the art and culture exhibition Pi’êep Káru Payêem – Long ago and Today through September 2013.

The exhibition showcases treasured cultural pieces as well as contemporary traditional and modern art. The community-led exhibit was developed to focus on variety of interpretive/educational themes featuring the Karuk Tribe’s people and environment. Museum displays include men’s and women’s food collection and preparation tools, baskets and other objects, ceremonial regalia, and contemporary art influenced by long-held cultural traditions.

Karuk Tribal Historic Preservation Officer, Julie Burcell, notes that the exhibit “illustrates the amazing cultural continuity between modern Karuk people and their ancestors. The exhibit will allow visitors to visualize important aspects of the Tribe’s culture and religion, but also emphasizes that the Tribe’s connection to its past is alive and well in modern communities all along the Klamath River.”

Unique to this museum exhibition is the wide-angle perspective of the Karuk culture: cultural botanists, forest ecologists, master basketweavers and artists, regalia makers, hunters, fisherman, and ceremonial dance leaders all contributed time and knowledge to the exhibition’s design.

Karuk elders, Tribal Council members, ceremonial leaders, artists, and Clark Museum and People’s Center staff worked together to highlight those aspects of Karuk life that have largely gone unchanged: the connection to the river and environment, ceremonies and spirituality, and artistry of diverse mediums.

Additionally, the Karuk language is found throughout the displays and explanatory texts, facilitating documentation of the indigenous language. Tribal member Julian Lang, editor of the exhibition’s catalogue, stated that this “is a perfect example of another goal of the exhibit: making the exhibit relevant and useful to tribal-efforts.”

The People’s Center is situated near the confluence of the Klamath River and Indian Creek in Happy Camp, at the location of ancestral village site athithúfvuunupma. The museum and cultural center of the Karuk Tribe is devoted to the preservation, promotion and celebration of Karuk history and language. The People’s Center is open Monday through Saturday from 9:30 am to 5 pm and closed for lunch from 1:00 to 1:30 pm.

The Tribe is sponsoring an opening reception for the museum’s special exhibit, Pi’êep Káru Payêem – Long ago and Today, on Saturday, February 9, 2013 from 1-3 pm. Please RSVP at or contact (530) 493-1600, x. 2202. The exhibition runs through September 2013.