Today, Parks California welcomed Yurok Cultural Resources Department Director and Tribal Heritage Preservation Officer (THPO) Rosie Clayburn to its Board of Directors as its first member of Indigenous heritage.
As the Yurok Tribal Heritage Preservation Officer, Clayburn advises the Yurok Tribal Council on the Tribe’s most consequential projects, ranging from land acquisitions to the protection of cultural sites. She oversees all repatriations and is responsible for leading the largest-ever recovery of privately owned Yurok ceremonial items in the Tribe’s history.
Additionally, the THPO has signatory authority over all land disturbing activities in Yurok ancestral territory. Most recently, she oversaw development and opening of the Chah-pekw O’ Ket’-toh (Stone Lagoon) Visitor Center, the first tribally operated visitor center in the California State Park system.
Clayburn is a key partner to the California State Parks in the North Coast Redwoods District. She helped establish the first-of-its-kind, mutually beneficial partnership between the Yurok tribal government and California State Parks, which paved the way for the Tribe to operate the Chah-pekw O’ Ket’-toh (Stone Lagoon) Visitor Center.
Parks California recognizes the profound importance of honoring Indigenous people, history, and culture in the process of ensuring parks across California are welcoming, inclusive, and climate-resilient for all people.
Clayburn’s presence on the Parks California Board of Directors is one step closer to ensuring Indigenous perspectives are heard and represented in shaping the future of outdoor spaces statewide – and, as original stewards of the land, that tribal communities are given every opportunity to lead conversations related to public lands.
Rosie was raised on the Yurok Reservation surrounded by the Tribe’s traditions, language and culture. She is Yurok and Tolowa and an enrolled member of the Yurok Tribe. She is a descendent from the Yurok village of Tue-rep on the Klamath River and Nn-chwa-dvn’ in Tolowa territory, near the Smith River.
Since birth, Rosie’s life has revolved around the Tribe’s traditional culture. She and her family facilitate an annual Brush Dance at the mouth of the Klamath. The Brush Dance is a healing ceremony. In addition to participating in tribal ceremonies, Rosie spent her childhood fishing, hunting and gathering along the Klamath River and Pacific coastline.
Rosie earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Anthropology, with a concentration in Archaeology and Cultural Resource Management at the University of Oregon and a Master’s of Art in Museology from the University of Washington. For her master’s thesis, she collected and analyzed Yurok objects held captive in institutions around the world.
She has been involved in the revitalization and preservation of cultural practices, sites and resources for her entire life. As a tribal leader, all of Rosie’s decisions are rooted in her Tribe’s traditional value system, which centers on establishing and maintaining balance.
Chairman Joseph L. James, Yurok Tribe
“Rosie is a dynamic advocate for Indigenous people and a highly effective leader. She has led many of the Tribe’s most high-profile cultural resource protection initiatives as well as some of our largest repatriation efforts. Parks California couldn’t have selected a better board member. ”
Rosie Clayburn, Yurok Cultural Resources Department Director and Tribal Heritage Preservation Officer
“I am honored for the opportunity to serve on Parks California’s Board of Directors. I am equally proud to be a part of a growing effort to enhance the government-to-government relationships between tribes and California state parks. As a board member, I hope to accelerate the development of equitable and mutually beneficial partnerships between sovereign tribal nations and the state. ”
Kindley Walsh Lawlor, President & CEO of Parks California
“Rosie is passionate and deeply connected to her work uplifting the Yurok Tribe’s history and cultural significance. We look forward to learning from her as we strengthen statewide tribal relationships and partnership opportunities with California State Parks while helping us fulfill our mission to make state parks more welcoming, inclusive, and climate-resilient for everyone.”
- Organization: Parks California
- To coordinate interviews with Parks California: Contact Hector Zermeño, Hector@gomixte.com or 619-732-0789 x432
- To coordinate interviews with Yurok Tribe: Contact Matt Mais, email@example.com (707) 954-0976 – Yurok Tribe
- Links to use in your story:
Parks California is a statewide nonprofit working to ensure state, regional, and local parks thrive. As the statutory partner to California State Parks, Parks California has a simple mission – to help strengthen parks and inspire all to experience these extraordinary places. From redwood groves and desert springs to urban parks and lighthouses, the organization works with partners to steward these natural wonders and make California’s parks more welcoming, accessible and relevant to all visitors. For more information, please visit parkscalifornia.org.
The Yurok Tribe is the largest Tribe in California with more than 6,300 members. The Tribe’s ancestral territory comprises 7.5 percent of the California coastline, spanning from the Little River to the south and Damnation Creek to the north. The eastern boundary is the Klamath River’s confluence with the Trinity River. The Tribe is a leader in natural resource management, fisheries restoration and cultural protection.