HUMBOLDT HOLDING UP: Marnie Atkins on the Wiyot Tribe’s New Old Town Cultural Center, Preserving the Soulatluk Language, and Educating the Community About Our Shared History
If things stay on schedule, the Wiyot Tribe plans to open its brand new, shiny cultural center in Old Town Eureka — in the old Restoration Hardware space on Second Street — around the end of September to coincide with California Native American Day.
It’s been a longer road than expected. Cultural center manager and Wiyot tribal member Marnie Atkins has worked through numerous unforeseen COVID-related setbacks, but when she spoke with the Outpost for this week’s episode of Humboldt Holding Up, she was brimming with excitement about all the ways her new facility might be able to further understanding between the larger community and her people.
“Not only can people come in and learn about the tribe, about our beautiful baskets and regalia, and our language,” Atkins said. “You can also learn about our shared history and we can talk about that.”
Topics on this week’s podcast episode include:
- How Atkins’ love of her people and their language led her to pursue her education — she holds a BA in Native American studies with an emphasis in Federal Indian Law from Humboldt State University, and two degrees from the University of Oregon: an MA in (Native) Language teaching specialization and an MS in cultural anthropology.
- Her efforts to preserve and promote Soulatluk, the Wiyot tribe’s language
- What she hopes to accomplish through her work with the cultural center
- A discussion on returning local place names to their Wiyot designations
- The importance of allowing the tribe to have a voice on decisions concerning our area’s natural and cultural resources
- Tribal members’ contributions to the upcoming Baduwa’t (formerly Mad River) Festival"