City of Eureka to present letter of apology to Wiyot Tribe for 1860 Wiyot Massacre

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EUREKA- The Eureka City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to approve the second draft letter of apology for the 1860 Wiyot Massacre that resulted in the deaths of 200 people.

Some members of the Wiyot Tribe were at the city council meeting as the two drafts of the letter were discussed.  The first draft was released to the media on Monday, and included the words “formal apology” and an admission that the people of Eureka were responsible for the massacre.  However, the second draft, which was adopted Tuesday night, does not include a statement of who was responsible for the massacre.  The mayor says the second draft is still an apology letter, but the language in the first letter was “a little harsh.”  The adopted draft will be presented to the Wiyot Tribe at the next Tribal Council Meeting on March 24th.

"I was thinking about the ceremony itself and the fact that we had never really apologized for what occurred there, and I thought it was appropriate to try to put together a letter, and I've attended the memorial services on Woodley Island with my granddaughters who are Wiyot, and it just came to me that it would be a good thing to do," Mayor Jager said.

At this time, the Cultural Director of the Wiyot Tribe says, “We have a long history of working with the City of Eureka, and we look forward to continue expanding and developing that relationship.”  A new statement could be made when all tribal council members have the chance to review the letter.