FIERCE FRIDAY

FIERCE FRIDAY: YUROK

And we're back. This week's choice of strong look is inspired by two weeks' travel through the Oregon and California wilderness and specifically, a stay at the Historic Requa Inn, at the mouth of the Klamath River on the far northern California coast. The surrounding land was the traditional home of the Yurok Indian people and the Inn itself stands within what is now the Yurok Indian Reservation. It is run by Jan Wortman, a woman of Yurok ancestry who grew up on the Reservation.

yurok

The principal currency of the Yurok was the Dentalium mollusk shell, and multiple long strands of these are worn by the woman above to display her wealth and as a form of adornment. Basket weaving is also central to Yurok crafts, and the rounded and geometrically patterned basket hat she wears is typical of this culture.

As is legible in the image, the woman shown is Lucy Thompson, who in 1916 published the book To The American Indian: Reminiscences of a Yurok Woman, with the intention of preserving her people's culture and experiences and enlightening white settlers, to one of whom she was married. It went on to receive the American Book Award some decades later.