Cal Humanities

"Part of resilience is finding joy, finding beauty, finding love."

— George Takei, Actor, Author, Director, Activist

"Part of resilience is finding joy, finding beauty, finding love."

— George Takei, Actor, Author, Director, Activist

Indigenous Histories and Traditions Projects Supported by California Humanities

Above image: Gathering Time: Pomo Art During the Pandemic artists. Photo by Robert Morgan.

Across California a new cohort of Humanities for All Quick grant-supported projects are drawing on Indigenous histories, traditions, and ways of knowing to explore the richness of California’s diverse Indigenous communities. This month we caught up with the project directors leading two programs happening in Northern California to gain deeper insights into the work these teams are undertaking.

Drawing by survivor of wreck of the Northerner, January 1860. Drawing courtesy of Humboldt County Historical Society.

In Humboldt County an upcoming project like Disasters of Humboldt Bay, organized by the Humboldt County Historical Society, will explore the historical significance of Humboldt Bay, paying special attention to the beliefs and relationships with the natural world of the original Wiyot inhabitants of the region. Eureka sits on land known in the Wiyot language as Jaroujiji, meaning, where you sit and rest; Humboldt Bay is Wigi (how it became a saltwater bay). This program will explore how tides, currents, shoals, and fog are powerful analogies for shifting relations of inhabitants. Additionally, how our view of the natural world and its challenges shapes our experiences as individuals and societies. Among the range of subject matter explored by this project, programming will include a discussion panel, led by Wiyot Cultural Center Director Marnie Watkins, who will share Indigenous views of ecology and knowledge that speak to spiritual and traditional views of the Bay. Programming for Disaster of Humboldt Bay will begin March 2023.

Gathering Time gallery visitors. Photo by David Burton.

While in Mendocino County, the project, Gathering Time: Pomo Art During the Pandemic opened at the Grace Hudson Museum in Ukiah, presents an exhibition, and accompanying public programs that spotlight 15 contemporary Pomo artists that represent 10 different Pomo tribal groups that span Mendocino, Lake, and Sonoma Counties. The project features the diversity of mediums in which Pomo artists work today and the ways in which they blend traditional Pomo arts with modern forms. On September 2, as part of the festivities, the Hopland Pomo Dancers performed under the Museum’s Brush Arbor, which is an outdoor performance and Pomo ceremonial space. Programming will run until January 2023.

Hopland Pomo Dancers. Photo courtesy of Grace Hudson Museum.

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