Welcome to 12th Karuk Tribal Reunion

by Judy Bushy, Happy Camp. CA
It was a busy weekend in Happy Camp with the Krauk Tribal Reunion as well as the Klamath River Watershed Art & Music Festival.

It wasn’t required that one be Karuk to attend the reunion, only to vote in the election that was taking place at the same time. The thing I noticed most was how considerate they were to all. They served breakfast for those who got there early, without charge. They were offering everyone bottled water and asking them to be sure not to become dehydrated. Since temperatures had been in the triple digits the week before, Saturday didn’t seem all that hot. The consideration that they expressed was what one appreciated! They were also inviting all to the dinner at three o’clock. A welcoming attitude pervaded the day at the Reunion .

Susan Gehr had a large Karuk Dictionary that she was making available to those who wanted to play a little game. Eager youngsters enjoyed the game and even wanted to play again without the reward of another dictionary once they had earned one. It looks like a fascinating book and it is good to see all the enthusiasm from youngsters learning to speak Karuk. There was basketry going on both in the People’s Museum (where the language game was taking place also) and on the grass elsewhere. I noticed the addition of many photographs to the museum displays and hope to go back and look at them further another time. The Gift Shop in the People’s Museum was also a very busy place and had hats and t-shirts as well as their usual assortment of interesting wares for the event. They have such a good collection of books available and handmade note cards and so many things.

Dion Wood kindly invited me into the room where youngsters were decorating neat tote bags with stencils and markers. I didn’t get any art done due to taking photos of the beautiful children who were doing better art work than I could, but they offered a tote bag to carry all the literature, pens and color books that I’d collected. My kids always humored my having more coloring books than they did, but we always shared or copied a page they liked. Having child care business over twenty years, with CareAlot Child & Family Resources 1989-1991 made that more practical. Right behind that building you could hear gleeful sounds of children and on a hot day there was a long line at the waterslide. In fact, some bigger “kids” carried down little ones, and didn’t mind the splash in the cool water in the pool at the bottom at all!!! Then they could bounce in the bounce house until they were dry and slide down the water slide again!!! Great idea for a hot day.

The “techie’s” from the Tribe were cooking up hamburgers and cheeseburgers that looked delicious despite the jokes about keyboarding on the beautiful grill. The Happy Camp Community Computer Center had a booth as well. They have a lot of college classes available right in town here to help community members get an education! Eddie Davenport had a booth on the financial helps that are available to buy or remodel a home or to help a business. One area just for Tribal members were kits for emergency preparedness that were prepared for the elders and other members in case of flood, fire or catastrophe, but everyone was welcome to information on how to prepare for such an event. Here in Happy Camp we are accustomed to a week without electricity around New Years although we haven’t had one like the 1964 flood lately. This year the fires have so far been eighteen miles west of us but last year we were faced with the possibility of evacuation from wildfire. Being seventy five miles—long and winding road miles—from a hospital in the winter makes us more aware of needs to be prepared for handing some difficulties on our own before we are able to get to outside help.

The Health Tent had displays and information on all sorts of health issues and handouts of all sorts of helpful information. There was a beautiful horse painting being raffled off and opportunities for the youngsters to do their own art of horses. The Red Cross people were there with first aid information. You could learn your blood pressure or information on diabetes or other ailments. There was information on alcohol and other drugs. It seemed like there was information on any area of life that you wanted to become more aware of and healthy from dental to safety.

There were crafts and homemade jewelry and articles available for purchase of course. There was a raffle for everyone who came and registered as well as a raffle for a beautiful blue scooter, which received a lot of interest. Horseshoes, volleyball, and all sorts of games were available. Later on in the day there was music planned and after the Reunion many went over to enjoy performances of musicians at the Watershed Festival.

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