Karuk funded for ‘path to prosperity’
By Brad Smith, Siskiyou Daily News
February 16, 2007
HAPPY CAMP—The Karuk tribe has received a
grant for more than $900,000 to fund the Paths
to Prosperity project, a three-year social
development project designed to enhance
educational and employment opportunities for
Project leader Rosie Bley said that the money
was awarded by the Administration for Native
The $900,000 will be given to the tribe over a
period of three years, in sums of $300,000
apiece, Bley stated.
Bley reported that the grant will fund new
equipment acquisition, computer center staff
and annual operating expenses.
SUBMITTED PHOTO - Karuk
Paths to Prosperity key personnel, left to
right, Bari Talley, Student Services
Coordinator, Orleans; Gerry Canning, IT
Technician for Karuk Tribe; Rosie Bley, HCCC
Director & Project Coordinator; Kelly
Worcester, HCCC Technician/Instructor; Jim
Berry, KCDC CFO & Project Director; James
Burcell, Student Services Coordinator, Happy
Camp; Sara Spence, Karuk Tribe Human Resources
One part of the project the grant will fund is the
conversion of local community computer centers to
distance learning centers “virtual college
Each distance learning center will have a new
student services coordinator, who will provide
project participants with career counseling,
academic advising, financial aid advising,
mentoring and job placement services.
“With these virtual college campuses, the project
will help high school students, unemployed or
underemployed community members and tribal
employees to get a better education that
previously required relocation outside our
ancestral homelands,” Bley said.
At least, she acknowledged, it will be a good
For the Karuk tribe to grow and prosper, Bley
said, new jobs and businesses must be created to
attract young people and entice them to stay.
To achieve his and other goals, Bley said that the
tribe will utilize available computer technology
to increase public awareness of the wide array of
occupational opportunities that exist within the
Individual community members will then be
supported in their pursuit of essential vocational
and professional training through distance
“Through Paths to Prosperity, our (the tribe’s)
human resources department will create a
public-access web site that features 100 different
jobs,” Bley said.
Jobs will include entry-level clerical positions,
para-professional health, education, family
services and natural resources positions, and both
licensed professional and executive management
positions, she explained.
“The Karuk people have suffered some disruptions
of social and economic systems,” Bley said.
She noted the loss of traditional village
subsistence life ways in the late 1800s and the
loss of the timber industry.
“Two years ago, a survey revealed that 89 percent
of the targeted labor force now lives in poverty,
despite the tribe’s efforts to do otherwise,” Bley
She cited one underlying cause of poverty as low
educational attainment, due to both financial and
“The Karuk Paths to Prosperity Project aims to
remove the barriers to education, creating a
renewed sense of hope among the tribe for a future
of their own choosing and their own making,” Bley
Bley said that since Happy Camp’s last sawmill
closed in 1994, numbers of unemployed timber
workers have moved away in search of a better
She added that a sense of “gloom fell over the
“A few years ago, there was a community survey.
The results weren’t optimistic,” Bley said. “There
was a strong feeling among remaining residents
that our young people would have to leave this
area to find employment because there's no future
That belief resulted in many young adults and
their children leaving not only Happy Camp but
Siskiyou County as well, Bley said.
“That’s a devastating loss to the tribe. Our
future is in our younger generations,” Bley said.
Bley is excited about the Paths to Prosperity
“This is an incredible opportunity for the entire
tribe,” she said. "Thanks to technology and this
grant, we have the means to improve our way of
life and strengthen our tribal heritage in the
For more information, contact Rosie Bley at