The morning sun in Happy Camp, California, shined on a collection of people from all walks of life on Sept. 7: Tribal community members, Karuk staff, directors, managers, writers, council members, builders, design team members, financial facilitators and children.
Whether it was years, months, weeks, or even sometime in the future, everyone gathered there was somehow intrinsically involved in the purpose behind and within the building in front of them: the red ribbon just waiting to be symbolically cut, making the grand opening of the Karuk Family Services Center official.
Emma Lee Perez (pictured above), a mainstay of the development for more than the last two years, introduced and welcomed everyone to the event (“Ayukîi” meaning “Hello”), and Sonny Davis led the gathering in prayer.
Speeches, thanks and presentations by Chairman Russell “Buster” Attebery, Pat Hobbs, Lester Alford and April Attebery left very few dry eyes in the crowd.
Hard work, perseverance and a continued need for a general health and welfare facility, emergency and low-income assistance and social services for Karuk Tribal Members helped to secure funding under the Indian Community Development Block Grant in 2016.
Two years later, the completed 4,800-square-foot building, located on fee land, houses behavioral health services, offices, conference rooms, waiting rooms and will hopefully eventually be part of a larger wellness and community complex. New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) funding helped set the stage with a newly paved Hillside Drive with pedestrian walk.
The staff has already moved from their previous “cabin” accommodations and are settling into the new building, anxious to utilize the facility that is modern, but programmed and designed to work in concert with the surrounding aesthetics of the Happy Camp area.
The Karuk Tribal TANF program’s mission statement is: “To preserve and strengthen the children and families of the Karuk Tribe and other Native American tribes through an effective social welfare system that empowers individuals and families to work toward and achieve self-sufficiency, sobriety, and to become loving, responsible parents in a culturally-relevant way.” They now have their own place to call home.
Working with the Karuk Tribe, I’ve had the opportunity to visit Northern California every month for the last four years while being part of their project team. Not only did this project provide the opportunity to continue this relationship, it was also Travois Design’s first opportunity to submit and work on a design-build project, teaming up with Blackwolf Construction from the start. We are so proud to be a part of the team (listed below) and congratulate the Karuk Tribe on this milestone accomplishment!
Russell Attebery – Tribal Council Chairman, Karuk Tribe
Robert Super – Tribal Vice Chairman, Karuk Tribe
Michael Thom – Tribal Secretary Treasurer, Karuk Tribe
Sonny Davis, Tribal Council Member, Karuk Tribe
Renee Stauffer, Tribal Council Member, Karuk Tribe
Alvis Johnson, Tribal Council Member, Karuk Tribe
Arch Super, Tribal Council Member, Karuk Tribe
Jody Waddell, Tribal Council Member, Karuk Tribe
Kristen King, Tribal Council Member, Karuk Tribe
Emma Lee Perez – Project Manager/Compliance, Karuk Tribe
Jaclyn Goodwin, Sue Burcell, Trista Parry – Grant Writers, Karuk Tribe
Josh Saxon – Executive Director, Karuk Tribe
Laura Mayton – CFO/New Markets, Karuk Tribe
Pat Hobbs- Director of Behavioral Health, Karuk Tribe
Lester Alford- Director of TANF, Karuk Tribe
April Attebury- Judicial Director, Karuk Tribe
Misty Rickwalt-Transportation, Karuk Tribe
Sara Spence- New Markets/Housing Executive Director, Karuk Tribe
Hans Dahl, Steve Mitchell, Richard Black – Contractors, Black Wolf Construction
Mike Peters – Site Work, M.Peters Inc.
Lauren DuCharme – Architect, Travois Design
Michael Bland, Brett Schwarz – New Markets, Travois