Waa-tr'vslh-'a~ (Culture)

Office Location

16299 US Hwy 101 N
Smith River, Ca. 95567
Phone: 707-487-3236


Waa-tr'vslh-'a~ (Culture) Department Overview


The Waa-tr'vslh-'a~ Department was formed in 2008 and is made up of the Waa-tr'vlh-'a~ staff, the Wee-ya' program, Tr'vm-dan' program and Tribal Heritage Preservaton Office. The Waa-tr'vslh-'a~ Department is and has been funded from multple services such as grants, Administration for Native Americans (ANA) Language Grant, Natonal Parks Service (NPS) - THPO, NPS - Natve American Grave Protecton and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), Insttute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), Natonal Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), other smaller grants and tribal funds. The Waa - tr'vslh-'a~ Department works with TDN departments, and outside agencies and insttutons, such as the Natonal Park Service, Forest Service, Del Norte County Unifed School District, and museums, to carry our goal and mission statement forward.


Our mission is to identfy, protect, preserve, and manage cultural resources within Tolowa Dee-ni' Naton lands.


With a strong sense of purpose the Waa-saa-ghitlh-'a~ Department is commited to empowering, protectng, honoring and perpetuatng our Tolowa Dee-ni' heritage, language, and spirituality as a means to remaining a strong, living indigenous people. We efectvely nourish our tribal wisdom with a deepened connecton to embrace our original values.


  • NDN-tivities (Culture Classes and Activities)
  • Community Events (i.e. Dee-ni' Day, Candlelight Vigil)
  • Culture inquires
  • Collaboration and Consultation with TDN Departments and outside agencies
  • Waa-tr'vslh-'a~ Committee

Wee-ya' Program

  • Language Instruction
  • Dee-ni'- dvn
    • Culture Center (Sri'-srwvlh Mee-ne' & See-lhsrik)
    • Visitor / Interprative Center
  • Mee-ne'- dvn
  • Wee-ya'- dvn – weeyadvn.com
  • Xaa-wan'-k'wvt Early Learning Program
  • Language Classes (DNHS, community classes)
  • Language Inquiries
  • Wee-ya' Committee


  • Cemetery Management
  • Collaboration and Consultation with:
    • TDN Departments
    • National Agencies
    • State Agencies
    • and other outside agencies
  • Archive Cultural Significant Information
  • Waa-tr'vslh-'a~ Committee
  • Tr'vm-dan'
  • NAGPRA: Native American Graves Repatriation and Protection Act
  • Collection Management
  • Tr'vm-dan' Committee

Waa - tr’vslh - ‘a~ (Culture)

1. Fully Stafed for frst tme in several years

2. Move to Sri’ - srwvlh Mee - ne’ (Dee - ni' - dvn)

3. Plan and Implemented Community Events, Dee - ni' Day, Language Camp, Chi~s - lu & Chay - yi - ne Lhetlh - xat and multple NDN - tvites - Smelt Camp, San - chvn, Xee - nvs partnered with Red Deer Consultng, Lat yvlh - sri, Plant Identfcaton at Yan' - daa - k'vt, and Weekly Friday Gatherings

4. Completed and closed out IMLS Grant and NEH Grant

5. Consultng with Ocean Governance on cre- atng Marine planning and Code

6. Held Candle light Vigil Xaa - wan' - k'wvt in collaboraton with Elk Valley Rancheria

7. Consultng and partcipatng in Dat - naa - svt Housing Planning and Oversight Com- mitee

8. Collaboratng with CFS on Wednesday Aferschool Culture Class, Garden Pro- gram, Domestc Violence Program

9. Partnering with Community Partners - Commemoraton walk of Tolowa Dee - ni' to taa - 'at - nin - lvt by William Bradford, NCIDC summer camp and Community Language Class at NCIDC

10. Summer Youth

11. Took DNHS Language class to pull beach grass

12. Collaborated with Community Partners to update and complete the Del Norte Coun- ty Display for California State Capital

13. Celebraton at Xaa - wan' - k'wvt

14. Collaboraton with UIHS for culturally ap- propriate dispalay and images at Xaa - wan' - k'wvt Clinic

Wee - ya’

1. Passed Language Resoluton

2. Started Pilot Language in the home program - Mee - ne’ - dvn

3. Launched language resource website - Wee - ya’ - dvn

4. Teaching Tolowa 1 and 2 at DNHS and working on Tolowa 3 at DNHS

5. All Staf Language Revitalizaton Orientation

6. Providing Language Instructon and language resources to Head Start

7. Language Acquisiton from Humboldt State University

8. - Language Teacher Training – NILI (Head Start Teachers, WAA Staf), Living Language Circle, Live Your Language Alliance (LYLA)

9. Created master resource list with audio for TDN government

10. Helped with Head Start Graduaton

11. Collaborated with State parks to create names for Roads and Trails at Tolowas Dunes State Park in Tolowa Dee - ni' Language

12. Renewed Language Reacher Credentals

13. Updated Nvst - 'e' poster for UIHS

Tr’vm - dan

1. Repatriaton Specialist positon flled

2. Repatriaton of 3 Items from Field Muse- um

3. Secured a new and larger space that is dedicated to the storage of our collecton.

4. Awarded a 2016 consultaton grant for Oakland Museum and San Diego Museum of Man.

5. Collecton is almost completely entered into Past Perfect ~85%

6. Acquisiton of Baskets for Collecton

7. Karl Paige Loan for collecton

8. Acquired Canoe from Ship Ashore


1. Contnued work with CalTHPO (Society for CA Archaeology and monthly meetngs)

2. Collaborate with OSG

3. THPO appointed as the lead in communi- caton for General Agreement with Red- wood Natonal State Parks and California Department of Parks and Recreaton

4. Partcipant in the Forest Collaboratve with Del Norte County and Six Rivers Natonal Forest

5. Completed with RNPS, Sonoma State, Washington State University and Elk Valley Rancheria the Marine and Estuarine grant for two sites in Crescent City

6. Assisted in co-hostng with United Auburn Indian Community the 2016 THPO Summit in Sacramento, CA

Waa-tr'vslh-'a~ (Culture) Department Staff

Pyuwa Bommelyn

Waa-tr'vslh- 'a~ (Culture) Department Director / Interim Tribal Heritage Preservation Officer

Office (707)-487-9255 x 1190
Email pyuwa.bommelyn@tolowa.com

Amber Gensaw

Administrative Assistant

Office 707-487-9255 ext. 1176
Email amber.gensaw@tolowa.com

Guylish Bommelyn

Wee-ya' Mee-xwvtlh- yaa~-ne (Language Teacher)

Office 707-487-9255 ext. 1171
Email guylish.bommelyn@tolowa.com

Kyle Hinshaw

Wee-ya' Specialist

(707) 487-9255 ext. 1173
Email kyle.hinshaw@tolowa.com

Karin Levy

Cultural Resource Specialist

(707) 487-9255 ext. 1181
Fax (707) 487-0930
Email karin.levy@tolowa.com

Amanda O'Connell

Repatriation Coordinator

Office 707-487-9255 ext. 1174
Email amanda.oconnell@tolowa.com