JPR: Wiyot Tribe holds first World Renewal Ceremony since 1860

The Wiyot Tribe of California is holding its World Renewal Ceremony this weekend, the first since a massacre in 1860 nearly wiped out the tribe:
Cheryl Seidner is a Wiyot Elder and councilwoman who first learned about the massacre from her mother when she was just a toddler.

Cheryl Seidner: “Mom never said someone had to apologize for it.

It happened. The people are gone. They’re deceased. They’re buried.”

Seidner points out that not everyone in the tribe agrees with her on this.

Cheryl Seidner: “And so you go on. And I have been looking at this since the seventies. And probably since 1860; in our DNA there’s been something that is not yet done, or quite right since 1860.”

Only smatterings of the Wiyot language remain. There are no living fluent speakers. The pre-massacre population of about 3,000 has dwindled to less than 700. As they’ve prepared for this weekend’s World Renewal Ceremony, they’ve relied heavily on the neighboring Karuk, Hoopa, and Yurok tribes to offer them ideas for forgotten dances, songs, clothing, and ceremonial jewelry - or regalia.

Get the Story:
Wiyot Tribe Heals Ancestral Home (Jefferson Public Radio 3/27)

Also Today:
Fumbled Apology (The North County Journal 3/27)
Respect, Please (The North County Journal 3/27)

Related Stories
City changes wording of 'apology' to Wiyot Tribe for massacre (3/19)
City issues formal apology to Wiyot Tribe over 1860 massacre (3/18)
Wiyot Tribe: Show respect during sacred renewal ceremony (3/17)

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