A Call for Justice from Yurok Territory: Desecration of Tsurai Village

Published January 2, 2018

TRINIDAD, CALIFORNIA – The Seventh Generation Fund for Indigenous Peoples, stands in solidarity with the traditional people of Tsurai Village, cultural leaders, and tradition bearers, as well as their allies and supporters to protect Tsurai Village, the ancestral burial site, and all cultural resources, from further destruction by the City of Trinidad, the Civic Club, and their partners.

The organization stands in opposition to the proposed temporary move of the replica lighthouse and / or any of its parts by the City and the Civic Club. The proposed relocation would place the structure onto already unstable ground immediately adjacent to the current location. This would directly impact the integrity of Tsurai Village and endanger the integrity of the Ancestors’ burial sites. Such a move would also increase stress on the hillside, likely causing the entire area to fall into the ocean below.

Tsurai Village and its descendants have not given Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) for the temporary move. FPIC is the minimum human rights standard recognized worldwide for all Indigenous Peoples as established by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

The City of Trinidad, the Civic Club, and their partners are taking wrongful aggressive action knowing that such a move threatens to further desecrate this sacred place. To not secure FPIC means that the City of Trinidad, the Civic Club and their partners in this action are likely in danger of violating Yurok People’s human rights.

The Seventh Generation Fund for Indigenous Peoples demand a halt to the temporary removal of the replica lighthouse and recommend its permanent relocation away from the burials and village site. Placing that structure in a less hazardous and more culturally-sound location elsewhere in the region is the most responsible, respectful – and in the long term – the most cost effective strategy for the City of Trinidad, the Civic Club, and their partners.

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