Fallen Redwood Tree Donated to Local Native American Tribes - Humboldt State Now

Fallen Redwood Tree Donated to Local Native American Tribes

Humboldt State University has donated a redwood tree that fell on the Campus Apartments to two local Native American tribes—the Bear River Band of the Rohnerville Rancheria and the Wiyot Tribe.

Workers load a log from a redwood tree that fell on campus onto a truck. The lumber produced by the tree will be used for projects by two local Native American tribes. Photo courtesy: Bear River.

The tree, which fell on the roof the Campus Apartments in early February, will be used for a variety of projects, including the construction of traditional Native American structures, learning materials, and hunting and fishing tools.

“Bear River is always on the lookout for good redwood, so when this opportunity came along, we were very grateful to partner with HSU,” said Erika Cooper, Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for Bear River.

Redwood has been traditionally used by the tribes for homes and other large building projects due to its size and durability.

Cooper said that Bear River plans to use the redwood to build a traditional sweat lodge and dance pit in Loleta, while smaller pieces will be used to construct eel hook handles and stakes for cooking salmon.

Tom Torma, Cultural Director for the Wiyot, said the Wiyot Tribe is considering a variety of potential uses, including building a dance pit, constructing hand carvings, and canoes.

“It is very exciting and people are really looking forward to it,” he said.

“We’re always looking for ways to work with our local tribal partners and support wise use of resources,” said HSU’s Sustainability Director TallChief Comet, who facilitated the donation, “and in this case, it ended up being a win-win for both.”