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Karuk Ceremonial Site Recommended for National Register of Historic Places

Tishawnik Ceremonial Grounds near Orleans, CA Deemed Historically Significant Area by California State Parks

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By: Karuk Tribe

Happy Camp, CA December 3, 2012 – The Karuk Tribe's acting Tribal Historic Preservation Officer (THPO) Jaclyn Goodwin announced today that the Tishawnik Ceremonial Grounds, located just south of Panamnik, present day Orleans, California, has been determined eligible for the National Register of Historic Places (National Register).

In a recent letter from the State of California, Office of Historic Preservation, State Historic Preservation Officer Milford Wayne Donaldson stated, "As a result of being determined eligible for the National Register this property has been listed in the California Register of Historical Resources, pursuant to Section 4851(a)(2) of the California Code of Regulations."

Tishawnik is one of three locations where the annual Karuk World Renewal Ceremony or Pikyávish, has been celebrated since time immemorial. According to Karuk Tribal Chairman Russell ‘Buster' Attebery, "Karuk People have been conducting these ceremonies and performing our sacred ceremonial dances at Tishawnik since the beginning of time. Today's announcement moves us one step closer to ensuring that these sacred ceremonies and dances will continue to be held here until the end of time."

Tishawnik is located along the thinly populated middle reaches of the Klamath River in northern California and has been used since time immemorial by the Karuk Tribe, as well as visiting neighbors, the Yurok and Hupa Tribe's. These ceremonies and ceremonial dances are still performed at this site each year.

Besides the flats on which ceremonial dances occur, Tishawnik contains large sacred rocks, priest trails, rock alters, sacred trees, rock seats for dancers, and sacred fire locations where medicine is made. Of most importance to the Karuk, Tishawnik contains the exact locations where the ceremonial dances must be performed, as determined by views to sacred mountains and by the way shadows from the mountains fall on Tishawnik. These ceremonial dance locations are precise and cannot be changed.

Renowned author and Ethnographer Joseph Chartkoff states:

...Tishawnik is also an extremely significant sacred site, that it has its roots in prehistoric times since it was in full use and importance by the time of the onset of recorded history, and that it merits the same status as Amekyaram and Katimin as among the most significant prehistoric sites in North America. [2010 Email to Donald Verwayen, Research Associate, Cultural Resources Facility, Humboldt State University, Arcata, California, July 31, 2010.]

About the National Register of Historic Places

Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America's historic and archeological resources.

 

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