The Lyng v Northwest Indian Cemetery Protective Association (1988) case made headlines in national and international arenas as several California Indian tribes were protesting the building of a road between Gasquet and Orleans in Northern California. The sacred spaces, geological and ecological formations and the ongoing practice of traditional ceremonies in the High Country were of little concern to the Forest Service. They had already built paved sections in the region and now all they needed to connect Gasquet to Orleans was to pave the six mile section which ran through the High Country. While the case culminated in the 1987 Supreme Court arguments, it had been fought for many years before through grassroots organizing and lower court cases which had all sided with Native tribes and upheld an injunction that stopped the building of the road.
Students at Humboldt State University have been working with Native American Studies Professors Dr. Cutcha Risling Baldy (Hupa, Karuk, Yurok, enrolled Hoopa Valley Tribe); Dr. Kayla Begay (Hoopa Valley Tribe); and Special Collections Librarian Carly Marino to document and create an online archive of materials about the G-O Road. These items will be publically available on a website to help people explore the history and continued impact of the case. The archive features documents like letters from Ceremonial Leaders, written by hand, that ask for protection of the High Country. It also features a journal kept by Karuk artist and activist Julian Lang, who participated in the protests and fight against the G-O Road. In one of his journal sketches he wrote: “Protect Indian Religion. NO-GO. Fix the Earth. NEVER SAY I’M NOTHING. If you fix the Earth you ARE somebody! Stop the Gasquet-Orleans Road in Northern California. STOP THE ROAD.”