By Patti Fleschner
A vision for the Tsurai Village site for 2014: What if the concept of blame could be left out of a solution to preserve and protect the 12.5 acre bluff site above Indian Beach which was Tsurai Village?
What if the people who are interested in the historical, cultural, botanical and geological aspects of the place – the City of Trinidad, the Tsurai Ancestral Society, the Yurok Tribe, the Coastal Conservancy, the Coastal Commission, the Trinidad Coastal Land Trust, the home owners adjacent to the site and, peripherally, the Trinidad Civic Club, which is steward of a small parcel where the Trinidad Memorial Lighthouse rests – could spend time and energy on care and preservation instead of discord?
What if members of the Yurok Tribe or Tsurai Ancestral Society Cultural Committees could present programs or walking tours to educate community groups on village heritage and cultural monitoring? Interest is high. Programs on Indian culture have been among the best attended ones at Trinidad Museum.
What if community volunteers of Yurok and non-Yurok heritage could work together on trail work, bluff stabilization or invasive plant removal?
What if agreement could be reached on placement and what words might be written on interpretive or warning signs?
With two decades of litigation, or threatened litigation, over best practices to preserve the fragile bluff areas, a paralysis has set in on how to mark, or not mark, how to maintain, or not maintain, village areas, vegetation and trails.
Trinidad residents are confused. The Coastal Conservancy is confused. The Coastal Commission is confused. City leaders are confused. The Trinidad Coastal Land Trust is confused. Community groups are confused.
Would a community education forum with representatives from interested parties telling about history and current goals serve to bring harmony in the town?
People alive today, with multifarious personal, cultural and political perspectives, can solve the challenge of making Trinidad’s past and present come together as one.
Is it possible to agree that there are no ill-intentioned actors to blame? Understanding and education seem key in reconciliation. In the end, the people of Trinidad have much common ground to stand on and work for: respect for village heritage along with practical measures to preserve a precious site.
Patti Fleschner is president of Trinidad Museum Society and Trinidad Civic Club Memorial Lighthouse secretary. Her viewpoint does not necessarily reflect positions of organizations of which she is a member. E-mail her at [email protected]