Native tribe to return to US homeland after 154 years

The Wiyot tribe were almost wiped out in a massacre on California's Indian Island in 1860.

Native tribe to return to US homeland after 154 years

World Bulletin / News Desk

A Native American tribe plans to return to their homeland in the US and perform a ceremony for the first time in 154 years since a massacre almost completely wiped them out.

The 645 member-strong Wiyot tribe plans to perform a ceremony on March 28 on California’s Indian Island, returning to their homeland for the first time since white settlers massacred dozens of tribe members in 1860.

Following the massacre, the survivors were put into concentration camps known as ‘jouwuchguri’, and were forbidden to speak their own language. Their island was later turned into a shipyard, where toxic boat batteries were stored alongside other chemicals. Archeologists also plundered their cemeteries in search of Wiyot bones. A century and a half on, their native language and lifestyle have all but vanished.

In 1958 they were stripped of their tribal status by the US government in a bid to assimilate native tribes, but successfully regained this status in 1990. The late 1960s and early 1970s saw some Native American uprisings in the US, with tribes demanding the return of their land, but they ended unsuccessfully.

However, Cheryl Seidner, the niece of the tribal leader, became the Wiyot’s tribal chair in 1990 and starting campaigning and raising funds to buy the land on Indian Island back. In 2000, this goal was finally achieved, but the site was still a toxic waste dump.

The tribe raised $2.8 million in 13 years to pay for the clean-up, and now the island is prepared to finally facilitate their return.

One tribe member, called Hernandez, told Al Jazeera that many of the cultural customs and dances of the tribe had been forgotten over time, and they are therefore learning Yurok dances to perform at the ceremony.

Seidner went on to tell Al Jazeera, "The world has changed and the Wiyot have changed with it. We don't live in redwood slab houses anymore, but we still need our traditions. We need something to hold on to. And when we gather on Indian Island, we'll be saying, 'We're here, and we're trying to put the pieces of our culture together.'"

Last Mod: 27 Aralık 2013, 16:25
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clifford morgan`
clifford morgan` - 5 yıl Before

Instead the continuation of the slaughter, through polutions, fracking, coal mining, and cuts in budgets, to cause oppression to the indigenous and first people, stricter laws must be created to protect us and as long as the sun shines, rivers flow..........

jackie murdoch (cree nation)
jackie murdoch (cree nation) - 5 yıl Before

such great news for all your people to reclaim your land and eventually get it back, such a shame what the government did is definitely murder to your tribe, I am proud of your people...xo

Troy - 5 yıl Before

I've Worked across the Bay From the Island for 22 years this is not the first time in a 154 years get YOUR FACT STRAIGHT although this was a VERY TRAGIC time in Northern California's History YOU FOLKS NEED TO GET YOUR FACTS straight and STOP BANDWANGONING I Have Many friends who are VERY PROUD to Be Wiyot for there sake Please get the FACTS STRAIGHT they DESERVE that at least

Troy - 5 yıl Before

I doubt Very Much that you will post my recent comment being as closed minded as you Folks seem to be

Korin Kanip
Korin Kanip - 5 yıl Before

You should be very proud!!! I am so happy for you! Long may your nation live and grow strong!!! Give thanks to our Father!