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Karuk - California (U.S.)

Native American

Last modified: 2012-11-17 by rick wyatt
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[Karuk - California flag] image by Donald Healy, 10 January 2008

See also:

The Band

[Karuk - California map]
map image by Peter Orenski based on input from Don Healy

Karuk - California

California is home to more different tribes than any other state of the union. They range the full length of the state from suburban San Diego all the way to the border with Oregon. One of the northernmost groups of California's Natives are the Karuk Tribe. The Karuk are one of three Indian Nations that reside along the Klamuth River, the others being the Hoopa Valley and the Yurok. All three have shared similar lifestyles for centuries, dwelling in cedar-plank houses, living off the bounty of the River and gathering acorns. While their neighbors built canoes, the Karuk were distinctive in that they traded for canoes when they needed them instead of making there own.

© Donald Healy 2008

The Flag

The modern Karuk are centered in the town of Happy Camp and employ a distinctive flag that celebrates one of the great artistic expressions of all California (and most others) Tribes - basket weaving. The design is based upon typical patterns found on Karuk baskets, both ancient and modern.

Essentially a flag of three vertical stripes, white/red/white, with the central stripe being approximately three-and-a-half times as wide as one of the white stripes, the flag of the Karuk Tribe features elements of basket designs on each stripe.

The two white stripes mirror one another. Each is divided in half by a narrow black stripe. On the outer portion of each of theses subdivided stripes are three groups of black triangles evenly dispersed from top to bottom. These outer sets of triangles have their bases pointing outward and the tips of each triangle points toward the center. The inner half of each white stripe bears two sets of the ‘three triangle' pattern, but here the points of each triangle aim toward the edge of the flag. These two groupings are offset from the outer sets, forming a kind of zigzag pattern.

The central red stripe is accented at the extreme left and right by narrow yellow bands, with even narrower red edging separating them from the white stripes. In the very center of the flag is a ring comprising three white eagle feathers, each bearing a white bead at its base from which two black strings dangle. The feathers all have black tips extending about halfway down the length of each feather. Within the feather ring is the Tribe's name "Karuk" in a unique font.

The recurring emphasis upon the number three may recall the three related Tribes of the Klamuth River, but this has not been stated with any confidence.

The flag was designed by Karuk Tribal member Lonna Dexter.

© Donald Healy 2008
information provided by Peter Orenski, 10 January 2008