Identified in the Karuk Tribe’s Department of Natural Resources 5-year Strategic Plan, the overarching goal of the Píkyav Field Institute (Píkyav) is to expand Tribal capacity within the department and build upon our partnerships with collaborating academic institutions to address identified program needs for a dedicated environmental education program, supporting traditional and western scientific knowledge to inform and augment long-term co-management within Karuk ancestral homelands; build upon and formalize our current pilot programs to educate tribal and non-tribal Youth in cultural relevant and academically and vocationally challenging programs; and address high rates of unemployment and poverty among the tribal membership.
The Karuk word píkyav means “fix it,” and refers to the Tribe’s continuing ceremonial and diurnal efforts to restore the earth and its creatures to harmonious balance. This is our inheritance, passed down from generation to generation through the teachings of the First People, the ikxaréeyav. Our oral traditions recount the formation of plants, aquatic species, land formations and other resources created and given to us to utilize and manage. These gifts are given with conditions: we understand the reciprocal responsibilities that are attached to this act of largesse, and the traditional laws given to us by the ikxaréeyav remain the basis for our management techniques, and the ceremonies that frame them. These practices must be and are kept alive and perpetuated through our legal bind and moral obligations to our benefactors.
Like our ancestors before us, the Karuk Tribe is committed to passing its traditional ecological knowledge to the next generation. Over the past year, the Tribe has been able to consolidate and enhance its long-standing environmental education, training and research opportunities into the five Divisions of Píkyav: Environmental Workforce Development and Internships; K-12 Environmental Education; Environmental Higher Education and Research; Food Security; and the Sípnuuk Digital Library, Archives and Museum.