Klamath Water Protectors Youth Camp and Summer Projects mix water advocacy and tribal lore – Redheaded Blackbelt


[Photo from Redwood Yurok Canoe Tours]

Yesterday, young people from the Klamath River, Hoopa Valley and North Coast Tribe and their families gathered in Klamath, California to visit traditional Yurok canoes and learn about Yurok canoe culture. , the Klamath Dam removal processes and how they, as young people, can defend the river. In addition to being able to help carve a canoe and create artwork and videos, youth have been encouraged to participate in public processes related to the Klamath River, including the dam removal hearings that are taking place this year. week.

K’nek’nek ‘Lowry, 12, a youth advocate who has worked with Save California Salmon, explained why protecting water is important to young people. “Water is sacred and is part of the life of all living things. It is important that children have a water connection. In Yurok culture, when men sweat, they go out and bathe in the water. Water cleanses our bodies, minds and spirits. Dams are the biggest threat to our water here. Children can be protectors of water by understanding that water is alive and has a spirit.

[Photo from Save California Salmon]

Manufacture of a canoe. [Photo from Save California Salmon]

This camp and other summer youth activities of the Save California Salmon Program (SCS), Yurok Tribe, and Blue Lake Rancheria Pathmaker Program are part of the ‘Water Advocacy and Protection’ implementation. in the California Native Program ”and other educational initiatives led by Tribally. The Redwood Yurok canoe trips of the Yurok Tribe and the Blue Lake Rancheria were part of the program development.

Josh Norris, director of the Yurok Country Visitor Center and Canoe Tours, explains that he does it because: “Growing up, I had very few opportunities to interact with the Yurok canoe culture, but when I did, I felt an instant connection with my ancestors and the immense spiritual power of these ships has developed over countless generations. I want today’s youth to have the opportunity to feel this sense of power and connection every day of their lives so that they can be more effective as leaders and protectors of the water.

Help young people who have suffered the learning loss and mental health impacts of COVID-19 to participate in healthy outdoor educational opportunities, and to create projects that inspire them to protect their watersheds and help their communities is a goal of Save California Salmon this summer.

“Water protection education and youth-led events are important because while anyone can decide to be a water protector and do their part, there are ways to refine our ability to get our messages across, ”said Brook Thompson, a Yurok tribe youth who works for Save California Salmon. “For example, we run media trainings to show how we can create more engaging and professional videos so that our audiences are more responsive and immersed in the message of protecting water.”

“Getting out of the traditional canoes and training on the river we fight to protect brings us back to what we really fight for and gives us a magical time. The family atmosphere and age diversity at our events lead to collaboration, inspiration from older peers and adult mentors, and the reactivation of young campers.

The canoe camp is part of this effort and was supported by young interns from SCS Yurok and Hoopa Tribal. Interns organize river clean-up jobs, workshops and media and public commentary projects, as well as river clean-up and safety initiatives.

July 10. Save California Salmon, in coordination with the Hoopa Valley Tribe and the Native Connections Project at K’ima: w Medical Center, organized a cleanup of the Trinity River in Hoopa, California.

Next weekend, July 31 and August 1, Save California Salmon (SCS) and Redwoods and Rivers, in conjunction with K’ima’s Native Connections Project: w Medical Center, Two Feathers Family Services and Youth Organizers Hoopa, are sponsoring a two-day whitewater safety activity. courses for youth from the Trinity and Klamath River tribes and those who work with them, at Tish Tang Campground. Places are still open for young aboriginals interested in taking the training. Registration is at tinturl.com/WhiteWaterSafety.

The Advocacy and WaterProtection in Native California Curriculum and Teacher Resource Project was created by Save California Salmon, Blue Lake Rancheria, Yurok CountryVisitor Center, KTJUSD Indian Education Program, Pathmakers Program of Humboldt County, the Department of Native American Studies at Humboldt State University (HSU), and the Hoopa High School Water Protector’s Club. The program offers online, classroom, and nature-based learning and meets State of California standards for science, social studies, health, history, and language arts. It responds to the urgent water, climate and education crises in California, as well as the need for culturally informed education and representation in schools.

The program is based on the Indigenous California Water Advocacy and Protection Summer Lecture Series that was developed by Save California Salmon and the Department of Native American Studies at HSU that features lessons from working Indigenous leaders in law, land and water management, fisheries conservation, philanthropy, art, language, food security, health, politics and youth organization. The curriculum incorporates the knowledge of Native American leaders into each lesson, a perspective often lacking in California education. It was created following reports that Humboldt, Del Norte and other counties are failing Indigenous students and Indigenous youth are facing a mental health crisis due to COVID-19 and water and climate crises in the state.


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