Tolowa Dee-ni Fish Camp and Chronology

Updated 4/16/2020

Loren Bommelyn wrote to tell me that there were some corrections needed to the Chronology. I welcomed this because this is the Tolowa’s history and not mine. He provided a detailed and Linguistically corrected series of edits to numerous of the events and corrected a few things about the essay. Loren also responds to comments by Shawn Hostler who had disagreed with my documented assertion that the dance house land was called the Henry Flat. Find Loren’s comments below the original chronology.

Tolowa Coast Village
Tolowa Coast Village Drawing, artist and date unknown

In about 1997, I met Loren Bommelyn as he began a Masters degree in Linguistics at the University of Oregon. For his second and last year I was his roommate on in a University of Oregon Moss Street graduate house. Loren and his family were very giving of their time and I grew to appreciate their positivism while I was engaged in my Masters studies (the Masters and PhD studies would eventually lead to me becoming the Cultural Resources Manager at my tribe, the Grand Ronde Tribe). Loren had almost single-handedly built the Nelechundun Dancehouse at Smith River, and preserved their language, brought back dancing and singing in the traditional language and songs. Loren wrote the Tolowa Dictionary and devised a new language preservation technique, which is now called the Master-Apprentice system and was implemented at the University of California, Berkeley, which teams elder language speakers with apprentices who become fluent in the program.

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