Upstart Local Archive Helps Win $6 Million for North Counties
Fifty years of officially shunned archival treasures helped win six million dollars in grants for Humboldt and Mendocino counties.(1)
Humboldt Area Peoples Archive (HAPA) was founded in 2016 by retired HSU archivist Edith Butler, artist Scott Holmquist and Southern Humboldt community leader, Douglas Fir, to rescue the region’s orphaned records and histories.
Some grant money from the State Economic Development Fund have been earmarked, “…To help tell the story of the impacts of cannabis criminalization,” according to one grant writer Dominic Corva, who joined the HAPA board 2017.(2)
HAPA is addressing official neglect of this story.
“The region has changed radically since the 1970s. A new history was made here by people and groups whose records found no home with traditional keepers of local archives. In part this has been because of budget cutting. But we have to admit, there has long been political resistance in traditional institutions to difficult subjects like marijuana growing, and more radical forms of environmental activism,” said Edith Butler.
“HAPA’s restoration of the Civil Liberties Monitoring Project’s website provided useful and otherwise unavailable references that have supported our applications to the state,” said Dr. Dominic Corva, who is also co-director of HSU’s Humboldt Institute for Interdisciplinary Marijuana Research and executive Director of the Cannabis and Social Policy Center.
HAPA is keeping the window open to the records of the regions post-1960 countercultural new settlers, and locals who joined them in building new businesses, organizations and ways of living. It is a collection representing five decades of treasures, available for education, research and grant writing. Salmon River activist Petey Brucker’s dozens of boxes of documents from environmental organizations were among the first records HAPA rescued. HAPA’s subsequent acquisitions have included archives of Petrolia activists and artists, Jane Lapiner and David Simpson; Arcata poet and author Jerry Martien’s boxes on the Humboldt Coastal Coalition; Arcata activist Richard Salzman’s materials on the 2004 District Attorney recall; Southern Humboldt activist Ruthanne Cecil’s private papers on Headwaters; Southern Humboldt’s Pure Schmint Players scripts and music; performer Joanie Rose’s song sheets and records from her Recycled Youth and private papers of Environmental Protection Information Center (EPIC) co-founder Robert “Woods” Sutherland. The archives include a variety of audio files, citizen reports and other artifacts from Garberville’s Civil Liberties Monitoring Project.
“Records of citizen organizing to stop police abuse during cannabis enforcement are not only important because there’s is a state fund to help communities harmed by prohibition, but also because these records are essential to knowing the individual and community stories of the recent prohibition era that have shaped the entire region,” said Dominic Corva.
In Humboldt, outlaw growers and midwives, naked flower children, co-op food organizers, forest defenders and tree huggers, herbicide protesters and Redwood Summerians have made history. They modeled and nurtured revolutions in everything from grocery store design to health care access, theater and public art to trash recycling. Ultimately they even changed the way we treat our human waste.
To archive, is to preserve history’s primary sources. HAPA can use help finding more of the photos, journals, stories and strategies of the 60s generation – for and against – that are fading, endangered by neglect, fire, floods, time and the furious curiosity of grandchildren.
“This pandemic may be a really good time for people who have been involved in making our history to sort their boxes of photos and other records and contact us,” said co-founder Edith Butler. “Once pandemic health restrictions are lifted, Bug Press has agreed to receive documents, photos and other materials at their Arcata office. But please always tell us what you have, first!”
For archive donations contact:
Edith Butler, HSU archivist emeritus707 443 3289Pandemic open hours now only by appointmentBug Press1461 M St. Arcata, CA 9552Source notes:(1) https://business.ca.gov/
california-cannabis-equity- grants-program-provides-30- million-in-grant-funding-for- local-jurisdictions/
*Note: The wedding photo contains multiple family and neighbors of RHBB publisher, Kym Kemp.