CORE Hub Learning Tour: Meeting with the Yurok Tribe

Humboldt Area Foundation Community Center
Bayside, CA

In September 2022, members of the Redwood CORE Hub joined key community and philanthropic partners for a three day tour of the Pacific Redwoods Region to learn about the ecology, history, climate, and resilience of the area. The following is a recap of some of the highlights from the tour.

The largest surviving enrolled tribe in the state, the Yurok Tribe was contacted by European settlers in the late 1800s during the California gold rush, a major industrial boom that led to the devastating loss of many Yurok people. The Yurok Tribe had a thriving culture pre-contact, which continues today. Like in many of the areas locally, tribal dispossession of land and genocide of people is still deeply felt. 

Members of the Yurok Tribe spoke on the practice of centering responsibilities to the land, water, place, and people of the region. This focus has garnered the Yurok Tribe a reputation as leaders in ecological systems thinking, tribal justice, safety, cultural restoration, and more. However, the Tribe still grapples with managing the constraints of technical capacity and support. 

Also voiced during the meeting were the history of industrial boom and bust cycles and the concerns around the costs of offshore wind development which are yet to be fully determined or understood. Currently, the Tribe is also focusing on addressing the ongoing Missing & Murdered Indigenous People crisis (MMIP), which can be attributed, in part, to the introduction of new industries to a region. Experts point to spikes in violent crime that often accompany major industrial and infrastructure projects, and a lack of investigation and prosecution of these crimes. Tribes are faced with the challenge of navigating these systems or being accused of deterring capital and resources from the area.

While considering the increase of capital to the region, our speakers provided some context on how folks prepare for developers and outsiders only concerned with the bottom line coming into the region. Our speakers spoke to working with government officials to have values-based conversations and socializing conversations around negative impacts of development in the region, while in turn offering recommendations around workforce and supply chain developments.

Additional resources from the visit: 

How Carbon Trading Became a Way of Life for California’s Yurok Tribe

Yurok tribe hopes California cap-and-trade can save a way of life

Previous CORE Hub Pacific Redwoods Learning Tour
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363 Indianola Rd.

Bayside, CA 95524

Mon – Thurs: 8:30 am – 5:00 pm

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