Today, members of the Yurok Tribe live in modern houses and have modern-day lifestyles. However, many of the nearly 5,000 enrolled members of California’s largest Indian Tribe also work to preserve the traditions of their heritage. Sumeg Village is one place where local Yuroks share their culture with the public. “Sumeg” is the place name of an old Yurok seasonal fishing camp that was located at Abalone Point on the ocean, within what is now Patrick’s Point State Park. The Yurok went there during the summer to fish and harvest mussels, as well as catch sea lions and other game.
The reconstructed Sumeg Village is a living example of a centuries-old Yurok village. Built by Yurok people using traditional materials, the village consists of traditional family-style plank houses made of split redwood, an underground sweat house (much like a modern-day sauna), two redwood dugout canoes and a brush dance pit where ceremonial dances are performed. Adjacent to the village is a native plant garden, which has plants used by the Yuroks for medicinal and ceremonial purposes, as well as for weaving baskets and for food.
You can tour the village for free daily, Memorial Day through Labor Day. Stop at the park’s Visitor Center for a schedule of special Yurok events, such as day-long dance ceremonies and the annual Sumeg Village Day, which celebrates the Yurok culture through traditional arts, crafts and storytelling.
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