Humboldt County Historical Society

Humboldt Historian

Fall 2011

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Volume 59, No. 3

8 - THE NORTHWEST INDIAN CEMETERY PROTECTION ASSOCIATION - by Tony Platt

A local organization’s contributions to the national struggle for Native American rights.

18 - A FAMILY OF “PITCHERS” - by James Pegolotti

What’s in a name? A lot, it turns out, when it comes to the Pegolotti family tree. Here’s the pitch.

22 - THE WEST SIDE ROAD - THE PRESENCE OF THE PAST - by Jerry Rohde

Join the author for an illustrated drive from Grizzly Bluff to Camp Grant, along the winding West Side Road.

30 - ROWENA CELESTE AMMER: HER EARLY LIFE AND TIMES - by Rowena Celeste Ammer Minor

Growing up in Shively had all the elements of a romantic idyll for one young resident.

34 - NAIDA’S HUMBOLDT

Remembering one of the Humboldt Historian’s most beloved writers, Naida Olsen Gipson.

36 - POWDER MONKEYS - by Weston Walch

Fire in the hole! Fire in the hole!


In America, the first document to record the robbing of an Indian grave actually belongs to a Mayflower Pilgrim, who wrote in her journal of her experience uncovering an Indian grave, taking the prettiest things, and then reburying the body. Axel Lindgren III of Trinidad was a child in 1931 when amateur archaeologists descended on the ancient Yurok village of Tsurai in Trinidad. He and his brother witnessed the result on their way to school one early morning: unearthed gravesites and the ground strewn with skeletal remains, including those of their great-grandfather, “Old Mau.” Eighteen years later, in 1949, when students and teachers from Berkeley arrived at Tsurai, the Lindgren family together with other local Yuroks closely monitored the group’s excavations. It was solely up to them to protect the graves of their ancestors, for there was no entity or legislation to protect Native gravesites in the United States. It was not until the 1970s that a first grassroots organization began right here in Humboldt with the formation of the North Coast Indian Cemetery Protection Association. Its success led to statewide legislation and the NICPA became the model for similar organizations nationwide. Tony Platt tells the remarkable story on page 8.

Other articles in this issue include a poetic trip to 1930s West End (with a stopover in an Italian village) to recover the surprise meaning of the name “Pegolotti,” as well as a trip along the old West Side Road with Jerry Rohde. We’ll sojourn in Shively with Rowena Ammer Minor, and we’ll take a sentimental journey with our good longtime guide to past eras in Humboldt, the late Naida Olsen Gipson. Finally, get ready for a dangerous trip into the woods with former powder monkey Wes Walch.
— From the Editor