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Historic agreement to restore Karuk cultural site signed
by Dan Bacher
Wednesday Aug 29th, 2012 8:36 AM
Photo of Klamath Forest Supervisor Patti Grantham, Karuk Chairman Russel “Buster” Attebery and Six Rivers Forest Supervisor Tyrone Kelly courtesy of Craig Tucker, Karuk Tribe.

S. Craig Tucker, Ph.D.

Karuk Tribe and Forest Service agree to use traditional management practices to restore and maintain sacred landscape of Katimiin Thivthaam

Happy Camp, CA – The Karuk Tribe and the US Forest Service on August 28 announced the signing of an agreement that will ensure that one of the Karuk Tribe’s most sacred landscapes will be restored using traditional land management techniques perfected by the Tribe over countless generations.

The Katimiin Cultural Management Area (KCMA), near present day Somes Bar, CA, is where the Tribe’s Pikyawish, or World Renewal, ceremonies are concluded each year. For years the Tribe has struggled to have the lands surrounding the ceremonial site managed in a manner consistent with cultural traditions. That struggle is now over.

According to the Agreement, “…the Tribe and the Forest Service can move forward in a the management of Katimiin Cultural Management Area in a way that is consistent with both Karuk cultural environmental management practices and the Klamath National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan, which is administered by the Six Rivers National Forest.”

“This Agreement will allow us to revitalize this sacred landscape through ceremonial burning and other practices," said Karuk Chairmen Russell Attebery. "We hope this endeavor will lead to a more strategic approach to resource management based on Traditional Ecological Knowledge, principal, practice and belief on a larger scale.”

The Tribe and the USFS believe that traditional management on a large scale could help prevent catastrophic wildfires, as well as facilitate understanding and cooperation between distinct cultures, communities, and the natural environment.

“This is the culmination of a lot of hard work and effort on behalf of both forests and the Karuk Tribe," said Tyrone Kelley, Forest Supervisor. "We are pleased to be able to work alongside the Karuk people in this culturally important area of the forest. We are looking forward to restoring not only the lands, but strengthening our relationship with the Karuk Tribe. This MOU hopefully will serve as the flagship for other agreements between the USFS and the Tribe.”

Craig Tucker, Klamath Coordinator for the Karuk Tribe, noted, "In the past it’s been rare for us to celebrate a victory with the Forest Service. We hope this is a sign of things to come in the future."

For more information:
Craig Tucker, Klamath Coordinator, Karuk Tribe: 916-207-8294
Julie Ranieri, Public Affairs Officer, USFS: 707-441-3673
Peggi Lawrence, Assistant Public Affairs Officer, USFS: 707-441-3595