Fall 2014

Students, Alumni Take Part in Revived Wiyot World Renewal Ceremony

The World Renewal Ceremony included traditional Wiyot singing, dance and regalia.

IN MARCH, WIYOT and other local tribal members—including several HSU alumni and staff—participated in a World Renewal Ceremony at Tuluwat Village on Humboldt Bay.

The three-day event on Indian Island, which houses the Tuluwat Village, included traditional Wiyot singing, regalia, dance, and an opportunity for attendees to find closure from a massacre that nearly decimated the Wiyot people in 1860.

“These kind of tragic events affect not just the tribe, but the entire community,” said Stephen Kullmann (‘09, M.S. Environmental Systems), natural resources director for the Wiyot tribe. HSU sits on the northwest portion of the Wiyot tribe’s ancestral territory, which encompasses Little River to the north, Bear River Ridge to the south, and Chalk Mountain and Berry Summit to the east.

After the attack, the island—which was considered a sacred site and the “center of the World” in Wiyot culture—was used as a dry dock for over 100 years, treating boats with chemical preservatives, pesticides, and paints.

In 1970, Wiyot elders began the long process of reclaiming the site from the city of Eureka. The tribe purchased 1.5 acres of the island in 2000 and the city of Eureka gave it 40 acres in 2004. Soon after, natural resource specialists led by HSU alumni began remediating the toxic contamination, culminating in the World Renewal Ceremony this spring.