On December 30, 2020 a large k’vsh-chu fell across Howland Hill Rd. in Crescent City, CA. Our Tribal Council learned of the fallen k’vs-chu via a social media post by the Redwood National and State Parks. This area of our Tolowa ancestral land is now managed by the California Department of Parks and Recreation as part of the Jedediah Smith State Park. By direction of Tribal Council, the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer sent a letter to the CA State Parks Superintendent requesting the k’vsh-chu for traditional cultural purposes. The Superintendent agreed to the request and was very supportive of the Nation’s efforts to obtain as much of the fallen k’vs-chu as feasible for the Nation to transport.
Howland Hill Rd. was closed until the tree could be cleared from the roadway. Due to the holiday season the Nation and CA State Park Staff had to wait until after the New Year to begin work cutting and removing the tree. The main tree was approximately 6ft in diameter with an additional offshoot tree approximately 4ft diameter. The large size and good condition of both will allow us to use a majority of the acquired k’vsh-chu to construct xee-nvs, traditional dugout canoes and possibly other cultural projects. After the logs have properly seasoned the plan is to host trainings for our young men to learn the art and skill of canoe carving. This is very exciting news as there has not been canoes constructed by Tolowa people in at least the last two generations, if not more.
In addition to men collecting the logs for xee-nvs, a small group of female basket weavers were able to salvage some k’vs-chu wee- ye’ (redwood roots) that were exposed before the stump was cut and tipped back into the root-ball hole. K’vsh-chu wee-ye’ are typically limited in use for ceremonial baskets that are used for prayer and rituals such as Nee-dash (Feather Dance), Lhuk Mii- naa~-li (Salmon Ceremony) and Ch’a~lh-day-wvn Srdee-yvn (Flower Dance).
Submitted by Amanda O’Connell & Cynthia Ford
Gathering Permits for traditional cultural resources (such as basketry materials, herbal medicines, etc.) in the CA State Parks are available to tribal members on the Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation website at: https://www.tolowa-nsn.gov/tribal-forms/. You can also get a copy from the Tribal Historic Preservation Office or Natural Resources Department. The Tribal Historic Preservation Officer will work with tribal members to submit the permit applications to the proper staff at CA State Parks.