Monday, January 20, 2014

A Vision For The Tsurai Village Site For 2014 - By Patti Fleschner

Trinidad Needs To Stop Fighting And Come Together

By Patti Fleschner
Trinidad Tidings
A vision for the Tsurai Village site for 2014: What if the concept of blame could be left out of a solution to preserve and protect the 12.5 acre bluff site above Indian Beach which was Tsurai Village?
photo by Tom Sebourn Blog

What if the people who are interested in the historical, cultural, botanical and geological aspects of the place – the City of Trinidad, the Tsurai Ancestral Society, the Yurok Tribe, the Coastal Conservancy, the Coastal Commission, the Trinidad Coastal Land Trust, the home owners adjacent to the site and, peripherally, the Trinidad Civic Club, which is steward of a small parcel where the Trinidad Memorial Lighthouse rests – could spend time and energy on care and preservation instead of discord?

What if members of the Yurok Tribe or Tsurai Ancestral Society Cultural Committees could present programs or walking tours to educate community groups on village heritage and cultural monitoring? Interest is high. Programs on Indian culture have been among the best attended ones at Trinidad Museum.

What if community volunteers of Yurok and non-Yurok heritage could work together on trail work, bluff stabilization or invasive plant removal?
What if agreement could be reached on placement and what words might be written on interpretive or warning signs?

With two decades of litigation, or threatened litigation, over best practices to preserve the fragile bluff areas, a paralysis has set in on how to mark, or not mark, how to maintain, or not maintain, village areas, vegetation and trails.

Trinidad residents are confused. The Coastal Conservancy is confused. The Coastal Commission is confused. City leaders are confused. The Trinidad Coastal Land Trust is confused. Community groups are confused.

Would a community education forum with representatives from interested parties telling about history and current goals serve to bring harmony in the town?
People alive today, with multifarious personal, cultural and political perspectives, can solve the challenge of making Trinidad’s past and present come together as one.

Is it possible to agree that there are no ill-intentioned actors to blame? Understanding and education seem key in reconciliation. In the end, the people of Trinidad have much common ground to stand on and work for: respect for village heritage along with practical measures to preserve a precious site.

Patti Fleschner is president of Trinidad Museum Society and Trinidad Civic Club Memorial Lighthouse secretary. Her viewpoint does not necessarily reflect positions of organizations of which she is a member. E-mail her at

1 comment:

  1. For those not familiar with any background about Trinidad. Modern Trinidad was established in 1850. According to
    On June 11, 1775, Bruno de Hezeta, commandant of an expedition up the northwest coast, marched with his men and two Franciscan fathers from the shore of the bay to the summit of Trinidad Head. Here they erected a cross and took possession in the name of Charles III of Spain.
    Location: 1.5 mi W of Hwy 101, Trinidad, USCG Station

    It was big as a whaling and pack station for gold miners inland. The area to the right of the light house was a line of bars an brothels back in the late 18 and early 1900's.

    The destruction done to the village at that time was followed by the modern homes above the bluffs put in the middle of last century. One of those modern home owners recently hired a landscaping company to cut some trees. They got into litigation with the town over legality of tree cutting on the cliff above the old village site which would be below the light house and to the left as you look at the picture.


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