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Yurok Tribe to hold 59th annual salmon festival tomorrow

This year's official poster for the 59th Annual Klamath Salmon Festival.
Klamath Salmon Festival.
This year's official poster for the 59th Annual Klamath Salmon Festival.

The family-oriented annual Klamath Salmon Festival gives the Yurok Tribe, and the public, an opportunity to celebrate the importance of the Klamath River and its salmon.

This year’s event has a long list of activities, including cultural presentations and workshops, indigenous food, music, vendors, sports events and a petting zoo of therapy animals.

Allyson McCovey, a festival coordinator, says she’s looking forward to one activity in particular.

“The California Basket Weavers Association will be here and they’ll be doing demonstrations on our basket weaving,” she said, “and that’s very exciting.”

This year’s theme is “Celebrating Dam Removal and the Healing of the Klamath River.” Its reference is to the ongoing removal of four dams on the river that will open up 400 miles of habitat, something the Yurok have been working toward for many years.

“The dam removal would be hard to even put into words,” McCovey said. “Really, the plight of our salmon for this time, they have been robbed of the water they need even to exist really affects many aspects of our lives as it’s the lifeline for our culture.”

Underscoring the importance of opening the river is the fact that there will be no salmon at this year’s festival, as the salmon population is too depleted to harvest after five years of drought and habitat destruction.

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