More than 150 years after brutal slaughter, a small tribe returns home

After losing much of their ancestry, the Wiyots are learning their traditions in preparation for a renewal ceremony

EUREKA, Calif. — When a few canoes carrying a group of Wiyot tribal members to Indian Island cross the choppy waters of Humboldt Bay in March, it will not look as if anything particularly special is happening.

The nondescript, flat, marshy 275-acre island sits beneath a bridge upon which traffic whizzes by on busy Route 255. But what will take place will be remarkable: 153 years after Indian Island was the site of a brutal massacre of the Wiyot, it will bear witness to a ceremony of rebirth and testament of survival for a people brought to the brink of extinction.

For three days, beginning March 28, the Wiyot plan to perform a world renewal ceremony on the island. It will be the first time since the massacre that the ceremony — which once stood at the center of the tribe’s cultural life — has been performed, healing a gap of more than a century and a half.

For the tribe’s current members, it’s especially meaningful that the ceremony will take place on the very land where so many of their ancestors were killed.

“We need to complete the ceremony of 1860 for the ones who were lost,” said Ted Hernandez, chairman of the 645-member tribe.

The ceremony will act as a marker on a long and unlikely journey of survival. It is not easy to recover from a massacre, and that year the endured one of the worst ethnic slaughters in U.S. history as they danced and sang at a world renewal ceremony on Indian Island.

A posse of white settlers sneaked through the darkness one night in 1860 and murdered more than 50 Native American women and children, mostly with axes and hatchets.

“Amidst the wailing of mutilated infants,” The San Francisco Bulletin wrote at the time, “the savage blows are given, cutting through bone and brain.” 

Nearby settlers carried out two more massacres that night, killing an additional 90 Indians, most of them Wiyot, and for more than a century it seemed the Wiyot were a destroyed people.

The tribe was at first shunted into a local Army fort known to the Wiyot as “jouwuchguri,” which translates as “lying down with your knees drawn up.” The Wiyot were forbidden to use their own language. The last fluent speakers eventually died off, and in 1958 the U.S. government, intent on mainstreaming Native Americans, stripped the Wiyot of their tribal status. Despair set in, along with alcoholism and drug abuse.

But slowly, the Wiyot began to recover. The Wiyot Nation, which finally regained tribal status in 1990, began the slow process of returning to Indian Island.

It never looked as though it would be an easy task. 

(Read more)

Fears and Doubts
  • Fears and Doubts
  • Humboldt

Humboldt - Fears and Doubts

Will silence ever exist once more inside this head? 
With a good day’s rest I’m lucky at best to ever meet standards again 
The falling rain floods through my veins 
A storm is brewing 
I’m not the same 
I wish this could just be written on my forehead: I suggest you stay away 

My clothes don’t feel the way they used to 
My sheets don’t keep me warm anymore 
Within the past four months I have left my old mind 
Yet, I’m more scared than ever before 
My voice speaks out, but from a bloody tongue 
I think my mind is right 
I just need legs to run me away from the forks in the road 
Because Yogi’s words are the only map I know 

They say, “Spend for profit.” 
But, I’ve been too cheap 
And I won’t buy the time to get myself on my feet 
I’ve spent four years working my ass off on subjects that don’t mean shit to me 
I feel I’ve wasted time 
That’s what gets me the most 
Your expectations are virus 
My body is the host 
I think I’ve found the cure 
I’ve free’d my mind and moved on to better things 

I’m tired of focusing on things I don’t care about 
I’ve been held back by my fear and doubt 
My lack of courage weighs the same as this ball and chain 
I know this game 

This time I’ll have the upper hand

This is my band’s first released song. It would mean the world if you listened to it, downloaded it, reblogged it, etc. I poured myself into these lyrics and I really really hope you guys like it. 


2012 February

Chemical Oceanography Cruise Adventure I

Collecting samples with the CTD rosette to measure salinity, dissolved oxygen, and …….

Mercredi 8 mai | C.W. Winter | A Los Angeles Chronicle


This morning, the sun rose at 6:00 AM in a partly cloudy sky, with the light, from this perspective, dappled from the shading of the surrounding Douglas Firs. The sun rose again at 6:10 AM behind grey skies. It has remained grey since. Last night’s sleep was accompanied by the sound of a somewhat uncommon May rain, early morning eagle cries, the warbling of Wrentits, the occasional Common Raven, a passing twilight cluster of Yellow Chevroned Parakeets, Pacific Treefrogs, a single V of Canadian Geese [1], field crickets, House Sparrows, an American Robin, a breeze through the dense forest, and the low undertone of traffic on U.S. Route 101 as it emerges out of downtown Los Angeles.

At the moment, the cloud ceiling in downtown Los Angeles is 3800’. Visibility is 9 miles. Humidity is 86%. The temperature is 61 degrees Fahrenheit. With wind gusts of 5 mph from the south. 561 miles away, north by northwest, in the forested hills above Humboldt Bay, the cloud ceiling is 8400’. Visibility is 10 miles. Humidity is 86%. The temperature is 50 degrees. With wind gusts of 10 mph from the south-southeast.

Over the last week, for many hours each day, I’ve been watching the Humboldt Bay Eagle Cam, a project of the Humboldt Wildlife Care Center in Arcata, California. The camera was erected approximately 95 feet up a fir tree in December of 2012 during the eagle off-season. And it has been running since February, a continuous movie describing the lives of a family of bald eagles—a mother, a father, and, now, two eaglets. The movie is expected to have a total running time of approximately eight months.

As I work throughout the day, I watch out over my street and over much of the Los Angeles Basin—from downtown Los Angeles .66 miles to the south-southwest, to Ladera Heights 6.49 miles to the southwest, to the Pacific Ocean 13.99 miles to the west-southwest, and to downtown Hollywood 4.23 miles to the west-northwest. Mine is now a double vantage point—one actual, one virtual-actual—as I also look out across the open green terrain just outside of Eureka, California, down onto U.S. Route 101, out onto Humboldt Bay, and beyond to the Pacific Ocean. The sounds of each location bleed one into the other, often indistinguishably. I’ve not put on any music at home since I began watching this eagle cam. Nor have I watched any other films.

I currently have an earache for which I’m taking a doctor-prescribed antibiotic and a self-prescribed regimen of hydrocodone. It’s left me here, feeling fatigued and a bit gelatinous, drawing amplified pleasure from the sound of eagle cries as I fade in and out of wakefulness. The mother is currently feeding her eaglets torn off bits of fresh smelt as part of a diet that has also included perch, coot, shad, rat, and some type of rockfish. And as I look out over these two simultaneous vistas, over the course of the day, between stretches of feverish sleep, I’ll jot down a few thoughts. [a][b][c][d][e][f][g][h][i]

a. It is a cinema of excess. As is Bresson with repetition. As is Costa with accumulation of footage. As is Diaz or Warhol with durée. But in that regard, it’s more Warhol than Warhol.

b. The video as recursive tool. Victor Shklovsky from “Art as Technique”, 1965: “The purpose of art is to impart the sensation of things as they are perceived and not as they are known…to make the stone stony.” This is a film that, more than any before it, makes eagles eagly.

c. As I think back at this morning’s dual sunrise, I’m reminded of the project Tomorrow, Now, Forever by Ex-Corporation (Angie Keefer and Aaron Gemmill), which, via a series of webcams, showed the rising sun at various points around the globe. One sunrise after another after another. “The sun is always rising.”

d. “There was every reason to hope, given such principles, that man and things would be cleansed of systematic romanticism, to adopt a term so dear to Lukács, and that at last they could be merely what they are. Reality would no longer be constantly situated elsewhere, but here and now, without ambiguity.” or “A new form will always seem more or less an absence of any form at all.” (Alain Robbe-Grillet, For a New Novel)

e. YouTube: “Messiaen on Birds I”, “Messiaen on Birds II”, and “Olivier Messiaen—Catalogue d'oiseaux: Le Traquet stapazin (Black-eared Wheater)"   

f. A film that doesn’t make the strange normal but that makes the normal strange.

g. What is the eagle equivalent of dasein—with these birds that hunt and build and tend and nurture and cooperate and defend and coddle and divide labor and communicate. What would be the limit points?

h. As I look out the window, each of the street’s Crape Myrtles is now nearly full of dull, dark green leaves. The Silver Elm down the way is also nearly full with bright green leaves that pull towards yellow. The Douglas Firs of Humboldt County are, of course, evergreen. And its hills are currently lush with spring grass.

i. Rosalind Krauss’ description of Sol LeWitt: "Classical expressions of logic are precisely about the capacity to imply an expansion with only the first two or three terms…to use, in short, the notion of etcetera…The babble of LeWitt’s serial expansion, in its refusal to summarize, to use the single example that would imply the whole, is like those feverish accounts of events composed of a string of almost identical details connected by and.”

1. .30 miles to the west is Echo Park Lake, a man-made reservoir. It has historically been a home to or Pacific Flyway stopover for Canadian Geese, Ring-necked Ducks, Ruddy Ducks, Redhead Ducks, American Wigeons, Cormorants, Western Scrub-jays, Mexican Grackle, Great Blue Heron, Great Horned Owls, Western Gulls, Brown Pelicans, and assorted other birds. Although for the last couple years, as the lake was drained as part of a park rehabilitation, there was a dramatic local decrease in migratory species. Over the last couple months, city workers have slowly been refilling the lake with water, and the number of migratory birds passing low overhead has noticeably begun to increase.

The sun set at 6:00 PM. The sun set again 7:40 PM. Then twilight and darkness and now an intermingling of the two sets of night sounds.

[For C.W. Winter’s previous Los Angeles Chronicles, click on January, February, March or April.]