Friday, March 7, 2008
Rancheria Housing Project
For months I have been casually observing the activity up on the ridge above the Buckhorn Saloon. I already knew from a briefing at a Chamber meeting that the Rancheria IHA (Indian Housing Authority) was moving forward on a multi dwelling housing development. And, daily, I can expect to be asked at least once about what's all that construction up on the ridge above North Fork. So, my curiosity finally got the best of me the other day, and after closing the store I took a short drive up the paved entrance off rd 222 to investigate exactly what was going on up there on the hill.
As I broached the top of the rather steeply inclined blacktopped driveway, the street sign in the above photo greeted me. I knew the words were obviously rooted in the Mono language, and I later confirmed the translation with one of the tribal elders. WAH UP WAY translates to Cedar, and KUNUGIB means Valley Elderberry. I could pronounce the first easily, the second was very challenging, and my very patient tribal elder and I both knew after several tries that I would never be a linguist. I also found out that Tahoot near the Bonnie B road turn off means "deer" in the Mono language.
The WAH UP WAY sign pointed proudly toward the beautiful new community building below and I stopped for few moments to enjoy the view.
At the time I was thinking what a magnificent setting for a community building just above our little village of North Fork. And, no wonder the Mono Indians settled here hundreds of years ago.
I knew from reviewing the architectural drawings with the project superintendent a few years ago that there was a fully outfitted commercial kitchen, a library, several offices, and a traditional round house meeting area inside the building. The slanted roof on the far left side is a newly constructed youth center addition that will be open to "all" North Fork youths in about two months.
I continued driving slowly down KUNUGIB (Valley Elderberry), and parked my car just in front of house number 2 presently being framed. There wasn't that much to see other than nailed up two by fours, chip board, and piles of construction material, but the incredible view took my breath away. I just stood there for a few minutes wishing this was going to be my house.
As I drove further down Valley Elderberry street I could see a newly finished home. It appeared to be occupied, so I stayed a respectable distance taking photos so as to not alarm the new owner. The house was very cute and well constructed, a fine addition to North Fork . The Rancheria IHA team certainly must be proud of their accomplishment, I know I was very impressed.
Just before I left the building site to head home for the evening, I stepped back, took a deep breath, and snapped this incredible photo of our valley.
The Rancheria and it's housing project has contributed generously to the struggling economy of North Fork by purchasing supplies locally. They have also added beauty through the extensive restoration of their main administration building on Main Street, and now the new housing development up on the ridge, and a youth center for our youngsters. I am proud of their good work and I glad they are part of our community.
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