Spring 2012

[Alumni News]

Merv George

Humboldt Native Returns Home for Six Rivers Post

Merv George

MERV GEORGE (‘97, Native American Studies) has never been one to shy away from a challenge. While he was a student at HSU, he also served on the Hoopa Valley Tribal Council, the governing body for the Hoopa Tribe.

It meant that his classroom education was rooted in practical experience.

“I would come back from a Washington, D.C. trip testifying on fish and water issues and immediately share those experiences with the class,” recalls George, a Hoopa native. “It helped me become a better council member while becoming a better student.”

Now after serving in private and federal posts, George has returned to Humboldt County to become Deputy Forest Supervisor of Six Rivers National Forest, where he oversees the forest’s employees and public resources, and handles issues related to endangered species, watershed, wildfire and recreation.

“It’s a job that requires endless communication and keeping up with current events,” George says. “It’s difficult, but it’s rewarding to have influence over the managing of public resources.”

George was raised in Hoopa and his mother worked at HSU, so attending Humboldt State was a natural choice. He also grew up hearing about the academic support programs the University had for Native students.

“Once I got there, I really valued the Native programs and the Native community,” says George.

After graduating, George served as chairman of the Hoopa Tribe, then as executive director of the Klamath River Intertribal Fish and Water Commission. He was also director of the California Indian Forest and Fire Management Council and regional tribal relations manager for the U.S. Forest Service.

George and his wife, Wendy—also an HSU alum—still reside in Hoopa, where they are parents to four children ages 20, 17, 15 and 13. In his free time, George coaches youth football and is the drummer in his father’s rock ‘n’ roll ensemble, the Merv George Band.

He’s also an avid hunter and fisher.

“I love the clean air and being next to rivers,” George says of living and working in Humboldt County. “It’s not just Humboldt County to me, it’s home and it’s where my ancestors have been since the beginning of time.”