Several museums feature prominent collections of ancient cultural arts and artifacts, and many festivals, events and exhibitions honoring Native American artists and cultural traditions take place throughout the year all across the North Coast of California.
The Wiyot Tribe is located in the far Northern California region near the city of Eureka historically known for its surrounding majestic redwood forests and abundant salmon runs. The Wiyot tribe resides on 88 acres of land called Table Bluff, 16 miles south from the city of Eureka. Currently there are over 400 enrolled Wiyot members that continue a struggle for the survival of their cultural way of life.
An Indian Island Candlelight Vigil is held every February to remember those who lost their lives in a Massacre that occurred 145 years ago. Early morning February 26th, 1860, a massacre occurred on Indian Island, the center of the Wiyot world, decimating the tribe. Visit www.wiyot.com for more information on the annual Indian Island Candlelight Vigil event. Or go to our Events section for February.
The first vigil was held on the last Saturday of February in 1992. A vigil has been held each year since that time. With each year, the number of participants has grown. This Vigil may be the first memorial for the lives lost where the Wiyot, other Indian nations, and the non-Indian communities have come together. This process helps heal the whole community. A fire is lit, a Wiyot elder lights their candle from the fire and from that candle all candles are lit. A moment of silence is observed, a prayer is given remembering all who have gone before us, songs are sung, poems are read, and one leaves with a feeling of accomplishment.
Sumeg Village at Patrick’s Point
Sumeg Village, a recreated Yurok village at Patrick's Point State Park, includes family houses, a sweathouse, a brush dance pit and tribal dressing and preparation areas all built in the traditional Yurok style. Sumeg Village was built by Yurok people using modern tools but with traditional materials in the traditional style of a permanent village. The primary building material is split redwood planks, which are what the Yurok people have used for centuries. The Yurok were the original inhabitants of the area and once used the site of the park as a seasonal fishing village. The village was created in 1990 to preserve and carry on the traditions of the Yurok tribe, to provide education for future generations and to share their culture with the public. Today Sumeg Village is actively used by the Yurok people and neighboring tribes and as a place for visitors to experience Native American history and culture.
Adjacent to Sumeg Village is a native plant garden where visitors will find native plants that were used for baskets, food and medicine. In 1973, Patrick's Point Garden Club established what has become a native plant repository, comprised of as many plants as possible that grow in the unique environment of our coastal fog belt and the humid transition zone between the ocean and mountain slopes. In 1997 this garden was reestablished as a Native American plant garden, which now has plants that were used by the local Yuroks. The plantings in the reestablished garden are representative of the plants used for medicinal, basketry, substance, and ceremonial purposes. The Native American Plant Garden is located just east of and adjacent to the Yurok Indian Village. More information on Patrick's Point State Park.
Hoopa Tribal Museum
The Hoopa Tribal Museum is located in the center of the Hoopa Valley Indian Reservation and offers an opportunity to learn about the culture of one of California's first people. The museum is a non-profit entity of the Hoopa Valley Tribe, created to preserve and to share the rich culture and history of the native people of Northern California. Although comparatively smaller than most museums, the Hoopa Tribal Museum is one of the largest and oldest tribally owned and operated museums in California. The museum displays one of the finest collections of Hupa, Yurok, and Karuk artifacts in Northern California. The collection includes a fine display of local basketry, jewelry, redwood dugout canoes, tools and ceremonial clothing used in Hoopa tribal events. The Hoopa Tribal Museum is a “Living Museum.” Most of the artifacts on display are on loan to the museum by members of the local community and are removed annually to be used in the traditional tribal ceremonies. Also on display is the history of the Hoopa Valley Indian Reservation, of Fort Gaston, built in 1858, and many artifacts of the early settlers who came to the area in search of new beginnings. Located on Hwy 96 in the Hoopa Shopping Center. Hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays during the summer only. Closed on Sundays and holidays. For more information, contact Silis Jackson at 530-625-4110 or visit the Hoopa Tribal Museum website.
End of the Trail Museum at Trees of Mystery
The End of the Trail Museum boasts an incredible collection of Native American artifacts that has been assembled over a period of about 40 years by museum owner, Marylee Thompson. Opened in 1968 The End of the Trail Museum is dedicated to preserving, interpreting, and exhibiting the artifacts and history of the first Americans. Featuring the largest private collection of Native American artifacts from all over the United States showcased by the actual clothing, pottery, baskets, weapons and tools of this culture. The collection is expansive, and admission is free. Located at the north end of the Trees of Mystery gift shop just north of Klamath at 155500 Hwy 101. For more information, phone 800-638-3389 or visit www.treesofmystery.net.
Clarke Historical Museum
The Clarke Historical Museum is the only museum in Humboldt County devoted to the preservation and presentation of all aspects of our area's rich and diverse history. Located in the heart of Eureka's Old Town, a visit to the Clarke is an important and convenient part of the Eureka visitor's experience. Nealis Hall displays one of the world's largest and best collections of northern California Native American basketry and regalia. Visitors come from around the country and the world to Eureka to see, study and enjoy this collection. The Native American Wing features a world-recognized collection of baskets, photographs, ceremonial regalia, weapons, stoneware, implements and more. The Clarke Historical Museum is located at 240 E St. in Eureka. Hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Admission is free. For more information, contact Dale Ann Sherman at 707-443-1947.
American Indian Art & Gift Shop
The Gift Shop assists Native American artists and crafts people by providing an expanded retail market for their products. The work of over 40 local Native American artists is currently represented in the shop, as well as many non-local artists and craftspeople. The shop is also an ideal retail training ground for Native American people needing training and work experience to enter the job market. Located at 241 “F” Street in Eureka. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. For more information, phone 800-566-2381 or visit www.ncidc.org.
Eureka Theater Native American Mural
A mural titled “The Sun Set Twice on the People that Day” can be seen on the sidewall of the historic Eureka Theatre. Artists Brian Tripp and Alme Allen were commissioned by Original Voices a program of the Ink People in Eureka. Original Voices is dedicated to the preservation and teaching of indigenous knowledge and culture in northern California. Located at 612 F Street. 707-442-2970.
Institute of Native Knowledge
Offers ongoing Native American language classes, traditional dances and community presentations. For more information, contact Julian Lang at 707-826-3711.