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Karuk Tribe helps Good Teachers of Klamath River Valley

July 12, 2007

Karuk Tribe helps Good Teachers of Klamath River Valley
by Judy Bushy

“Good teachers can become better teachers” was the theme of classes at the People’s Museum. A number of teachers from local schools went back to class for a couple of days last week for the Northern California Writing Project. Their goals were to be better prepared when they return to the classroom next fall to teach Karuk students to write.

One very special item that Jennifer Goodwin and Erin Hillman shared with teachers was the creation of regalia for a girl to dance in ceremonies last weekend. It took many hours of work over weeks to sew and decorate the skin skirts with fringes, shells, beads abalone, deer toes, and braided bear grass, It was beautiful and made a pleasant sound as it moved around. The design on the top of the apron-like skirt, was “friendship design.” The skirts were made by grant of $5,000 and worn by Frankie Snyder in the brush dance, her first ceremonial dance.

The Karuk Tribe of California Education Program Director, Jennifer Goodwin, arranged an exciting opportunity for teachers in the Happy Camp Schools and Down River in Junction School, to learn more about the cultural background of the students in their classes.

It was a pleasure to have Tom Fox of the Northern California Writing Project and transferring soon to the National Writing Project share current resources for teaching writing. Besides delving into discussions on “What connections there are or could be between writing in school and writing in real life in Happy Camp,” there were opportunities to talk to tribal members about their culture and Tribal employees about how they use writing in their employment. Some examples were working with language as Susan Gehr does, writing grants or writing lessons to teach, reports, minutes, agendas and articles.

Much is happening in Happy Camp to help us in learning and understanding each other better. This is sure to help the community.

Karuk Writing Class 1















Indian Creek

Indian Creek, downstream from the Eddy.


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Happy Camp River Access Buck

A buck at the Happy Camp River Access.


Elk Creek Bridge

The Elk Creek Bridge.


Klamath River

Downriver, about four miles.